Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best things you can do for your physical and mental health. And that’s especially true when you’re pregnant. But sometime around the mid-point of pregnancy, many women begin to experience sleep problems. The changes in the shape of your body, plus fluctuations in hormone levels, stress, and even issues like heartburn, can keep you awake at night.


This is where pregnancy pillows can help. A good pregnancy pillow will support you in bed and make you more comfortable, helping you fall and stay asleep.


What is a pregnancy pillow?


A pregnancy pillow – also called a maternity pillow – is a pillow designed to support your body during pregnancy. They come in a range of shapes and styles, but they all offer support in the places regular pillows don’t, allowing you to sleep comfortably and safely in a range of positions.


Why use a pregnancy pillow?


Having a growing baby inside you puts stress on your body. Your bump can put pressure on your joints, and it can strain your back, hips, and pubic bone. And unfortunately, this pressure often continues when you lie down to sleep.


Sleeping with a growing baby inside you can be a challenge. Lying on your back and front can become impossible. Trying to sleep on your side usually becomes your only option. But even in that position, your bed and standard pillow probably can’t provide the support you need.


This is where pregnancy pillows help, by offering more They support in the places you need it the most – your stomach, back, and neck – to help you sleep more easily. Using one can also help ensure you sleep with proper alignment, holding you in a comfortable position, but more importantly, in a safe position for you and your growing baby.


What types of pregnancy pillow are there?


You can find a huge variety of pregnancy pillows – they come in different shapes, sizes, and materials. However, there are three main types of pregnancy pillow that are the most popular::


1. U-shaped pregnancy pillows


U-shaped pregnancy pillows are large, cylindrical pillows that are curled into a tight U-shape. They’re curved at the top, have two long arms, and are open at the bottom.


You sleep on your side in the open space in the middle of the U-shaped pillow, with the arms running down your back and stomach, and your head on the curved end. U-shaped pillows support your head and stomach and make sure your neck and back are aligned as you sleep.


2. C- and G-shaped pregnancy pillows


Like U-shaped pillows, these pregnancy pillows are a large cylindrical pillow, but this time curved into a letter C or G. They’re long and gently curved along one side, with ends that tuck in towards you.


You sleep in the middle of the shape on your side, with the gently curved end supporting your back. The ends that curl in sit under your head at one end, and between your thighs at the other. These pillows provide excellent support for your neck, back, and legs, and ensure that your body is properly aligned in bed.


3. Wedge pregnancy pillows


Wedge shaped pregnancy pillows are smaller, triangular pillows. Rather than supporting your whole body, like U-, C-, and G-shaped pillows, wedge pillows are designed to fit under particular parts of your body – your head, back, or stomach – to provide support in specific areas. Some women like to use two or more wedge pillows at a time. Wedge shape pillows don’t offer full-body support, but they can be cooler in bed as they don’t hold and warm your whole body.


What type of pregnancy pillow is best for me?


This depends on you. Specifically, on the shape of your body and your individual needs. It’s important to consider the following when choosing a pregnancy pillow:


·         Shape: Do you want a simple wedge, or a pillow that supports your whole body? Do you want a U-shape, or a C- or G-shape pillow that also tucks in between your legs to offer maximum support?


·         Firmness: Again, this depends on your needs. Some women like a soft pillow, other women will need a firmer pillow, such as a memory foam pillow that provides more support.


·         Material: If you get hot in bed, then stay away from synthetic materials. If you have allergies, you can find pregnancy pillows made from hypoallergenic materials. A pillow with a machine washable cover is also a good idea.


Do I really need a pregnancy pillow?


Pregnancy pillows can be essentials for many women. Sleeping when pregnant can be very difficult, and a normal bed and pillow won’t support you properly, especially as your bump grows bigger. And this is the time in your life when you really need to get a good night’s sleep. A pregnancy pillow can be an important part of making sure that happens.


Some women will sleep fine without a pregnancy pillow. But for some, a pregnancy pillow is absolutely vital. If you’re having trouble getting comfortable in bed,  or problems falling or staying asleep when pregnant, it may be the perfect accompaniment to your bedtime routine!