An Expectant Mom’s Guide to Finding a Pregnancy Pillow

Pregnancy is a time when you need as much sleep as you can snag, but finding a comfortable sleeping position may be difficult for many soon-to-be new moms. The extra weight you’re carrying around can put stress on your body and joints, resulting in aches and pains when you try to lie down for the night, not to mention keeping you awake.

Luckily, a maternity or pregnancy pillow can come to the rescue. These oversized pillows help to alleviate aches and pains by supporting certain areas of your body while you sleep. Every woman’s body is different, and that's why maternity pillows come in a variety of shapes and styles that are catered toward the comfort each new mom-to-be requires. Here are some tips on how to choose the pregnancy pillow that’s best for you:  

Look online. This is the fastest way to see all the different types of pillows that are available, as well as read reviews from other expectant moms on which types and brands work best.

Ask for advice. Chances are you have a friend, relative, or acquaintance who is  pregnant or has been pregnant in the recent past. Use the information she can give you as a guide.

Pick your support.  Decide which areas of the body you need supported, as different pillows support the body in different ways. Here is a breakdown of the basic types of pregnancy pillows and what they do:

Memory foam. This kind adjusts to the contours of your body, and supports the belly, back, and knees.

Simple wedge. This type slides easily under a growing belly, and is ideal if you prefer to sleep on your side. This pillow is also great for traveling, because it’s small and compact.

Bean-shaped. These wrap around your mid-section. They have adjustable straps at each end specifically designed to support the back on one side and the stomach on the other.

Test them out. Many stores will allow expectant moms to touch and even try the pillows while in the store.Take advantage and lie in different positions to see which one is most comfortable for your body.

If you’re unable to track down a maternity pillow, know that you can use multiple regular bed pillows instead. Place a pillow to support each affected area, or stick one under each side of your back. A better night’s sleep will make you a happier new mom-to-be, and help power you through your pregnancy.

Five Solutions for Top Pregnancy Sleep Issues

If you’re tossing and turning at night, unable to get the rest you need, take comfort in the fact that you’re not alone. Many new moms-to-be have trouble getting a good night’s sleep, especially as their pregnancy progresses. It’s important to try to resolve your bedtime battles sooner rather than later, as good sleep during pregnancy is linked to a healthier baby and an easier delivery. Read on for some common pregnancy sleep problems and how to solve them.

Trouble getting comfortable: Use a pregnancy pillow to wrap around your tummy, elevate your legs, or assist you when lying on your side. If you have pain in your lower back, experiment with extra pillows to relieve any muscle tension. Try one pillow under your abdomen, one between your legs, a firm one behind your back, and an extra one under your head, for example.

Headaches and nausea: If headaches are disturbing your sleep, you may be suffering from low blood sugar. Try eating a light snack with protein and carbohydrates such as scrambled eggs and toast, which will help to keep blood sugar levels stable throughout the night. If you find yourself feeling nauseous when you lie down for the night, you may want to start eating small, bland snacks throughout the day, like crackers or toast.

Hot flashes or night sweats: Make sure the bedroom stays cool by cracking open a window, using a fan, or turning down the thermostat. Also, close the curtains or blinds before you turn in for the night. You’ll find it much easier to fall asleep and stay asleep if the room is cool and dark.

Frequent trips to the bathroom: Cut off your consumption of liquids a few hours before bedtime to reduce the number of times you have to get up during the night. However, with your growing new baby putting constant pressure on your bladder, some nighttime trips to the bathroom may be unavoidable. A nightlight or a dimmer switch is a better choice than turning on a bright overhead light, which can make it difficult to fall back asleep.

Heartburn: Avoid spicy, acidic, or fried foods, especially a few hours before bedtime, and make sure not to recline for at least an hour or two after eating. If the problem persists, try sleeping with your head elevated on a pillow or speak with your doctor.

You may need to follow more than one or even all of these tips in order to solve your sleep problems. But don’t give up! A proper night’s rest will give your body the energy it needs to have a healthy pregnancy.