There are lots of wonderful things about pregnancy, but it doesn’t do wonders for your sleep. In fact, as many as 50% of mamas say that they experienced insomnia during pregnancy. Enter, your new favorite pillow: here’s all you need to know about how to use a pregnancy pillow.
You might prefer a wedge, a straight pillow, or something that takes up most of your bed, but here’s everything you need to know about how to choose and how to use a pregnancy pillow.
In this article: 📝
- When should you start using a pregnancy pillow?
- How to sleep with pillows when pregnant
- Can you sleep on your back with a pregnancy pillow?
- How to sleep with a pregnancy pillow: which is best?
When should you start using a pregnancy pillow?
There’s no right answer here. You should use a pregnancy pillow as soon as you need to, for as long as you want.
Relaxin–the hormone that loosens your ligaments in preparation for labor–actually peaks early on in pregnancy, at about 14 weeks.
So it’s common for women to feel aches and pains starting in the first trimester, sometimes before they even start showing. These aches can make it uncomfortable to sleep.
Whether it happens in the first trimester or later, there will probably be a point in your pregnancy when you start to feel uncomfortable in bed.
Maybe your hips feel sore, your back feels out of alignment, or you’re just uncomfortable in a way you can’t pinpoint. This might be a good time to start using a pregnancy pillow!
How to sleep with pillows when pregnant
How you sleep with your pregnancy pillow depends on the shape you choose. Here are your options:
When it comes to different kinds of pregnancy pillows, the classic is a wedge-shaped pillow. Depending on what’s keeping you awake, you can literally wedge this triangular pillow under the problem area so you can find a more comfortable position.
And then there’s the pregnancy pillow alphabet:
This is a long pillow that curves at each end in (you guessed it) a C shape. Your head goes in one curve, and the other goes between your knees. If the C is long enough, you can also pull the bottom piece up to support your tummy.
This is basically just a regular pillow, but extra long. How do you use a straight pregnancy pillow? You hug it while you’re getting comfortable, with one leg on each side. A lot of mamas-to-be hold onto their old pillows for their heads while also using a straight pregnancy pillow for the rest of their body.
Think of this as a C pillow with only one curve. You can face towards the long part, with the curve supporting your head and one knee over the pillow.
Here, your head rests on the bottom of the upside-down U, and there’s a pillow to support you on each side. Like the C pillow, this supports your pelvis, your belly, and your spine. It also has the added advantage that, if you toss and turn, you don’t have to flip the pillow with you every time.
Can you sleep on your back with a pregnancy pillow?
Unfortunately, the answer is usually no.
This means that there’s less blood flowing to your uterus, and it can also make you feel sick and lightheaded.
The best position to sleep in during pregnancy is on your left side.
But if you’re still fighting the natural urge to sleep on your back, pregnancy pillows can stop you from rolling over into your favorite position while you sleep.
How to sleep with a pregnancy pillow: which is best?
That’s completely up to you. You’ll probably decide based on the position you prefer to sleep in, how restless you are at night, and of course, budget. Here are a couple more things to consider:
- Some pillows are more versatile than others: A flexible pillow, especially a curved one, can double up as a nursing or feeding support pillow once your baby arrives.
- Pregnancy pillows (especially the U-shaped ones) need a lot of storage and a lot of space in a small bed. On a related note…
- If you share your bed, a pregnancy pillow can sometimes feel like a barrier. Your comfort and the quality of your sleep are really important, but it’s something else to consider as you’re both navigating the last few months before your baby arrives.
💡 More from The 411:
How to Sleep When Pregnant
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Pregnant Belly Expansion: What Should You Expect?
How to Prepare for a Baby: 11 Tips
6 Things No One Tells You About Pregnancy
Can You Take Melatonin While Pregnant?
Can You Drink Chamomile Tea While Pregnant?
Can You Take NyQuil While Pregnant?
What to Know About Pregnancy Insomnia
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