Many women find that pregnancy brings with it a plethora of sleep problems—aches, pains, spinal misalignment and indigestion among them.
Studies have shown that the majority of expectant mothers experience a significant loss of sleep, but it doesn’t need to be this way.
While you may be resigned to an uncomfortable sleeping experience, there are several styles of full-body contour pillows available to alleviate the issues that expectant mothers face. Read on to discover the benefits of pregnancy pillows and other options that can help you achieve a restful night’s sleep.
Maintaining the Proper Sleep Position
It is now advised that pregnant women sleep on their sides, as opposed to sleeping on their backs, which can restrict blood flow and nutrients to the placenta. Similarly, sleeping on the stomach can put unwanted weight on the fetus. However, those accustomed to sleeping on their backs or stomachs may find themselves constantly reverting to their favourite position, regardless of a doctor’s advice.
It can be difficult to get comfortable when pregnant, and using a body pillow during pregnancy allows you to achieve the perfect position. An L-shaped full-body pillow can be propped behind the back or in front of the stomach to prevent you from rolling over, while a U-shaped pillow can be positioned on both sides at once, effectively cradling the body in the proper position. Side sleeping is also recommended for snorers, which adds another benefit to using a full-body pillow.
Supporting the Stomach, Back and Hips
A growing belly and widening hips can throw off spinal alignment while you’re sleeping, leading to aches every morning. This is in addition to lower back pain caused by carrying around a baby. The solution is a pillow that supports your lower back and burgeoning belly while promoting proper alignment.
Both the L-shaped and U-shaped pillows offer the option of tucking an “end” between your legs, which realigns your spine and reduces pressure on the hips. At the same time, the pillow runs the length of your back, helping soothe aches accumulated throughout the day and preventing further pressure.
Especially in the later trimesters, the belly becomes quite heavy. One side of the U-shaped body pillow can be placed under your stomach, helping to alleviate the weight. These specialty pillows are much more convenient than using multiple standard pillows, as you won’t need to constantly readjust during the night. As an alternative, you can place a regular contour pillow under your belly; however, pregnancy pillows are generally better adapted to women’s bodies and provide more support than regular ones.
Indigestion can become an issue during pregnancy because of hormone changes and the pressing of the womb on the stomach. You may experience indigestion as heartburn, bloating, burping or feeling sick. It is recommended that you stay away from trigger foods, refrain from overeating and avoid lying down immediately after a meal. However, these measures aren’t always enough. Finding a pillow that provides support and elevation for the upper body can help. Either a full-body pregnancy pillow or a contour memory foam pillow can raise the head to prevent reflux. If you continue to experience issues, you may want to try a foam wedge to elevate even more of your upper body, or you can contact your doctor for medication.
Managing Snoring and Sleep Apnea
Pregnancy increases the risk of developing sleep apnea, especially if you are overweight. If you experience symptoms such as snoring, trouble breathing while sleeping or excessive daytime sleepiness, it is important that you seek medical help. Research has connected sleep apnea among pregnant women with preeclampsia, low birth weight and hypertension.
While severe sleep apnea may require surgery or a continuous airway pressure device, milder cases may be improved by utilizing a mouth guard or by sleeping on your side. A full-body pregnancy pillow can help with this by ensuring you don’t roll over onto your back. Some women also experience trouble breathing as a result of congestion; a contour pillow can elevate the head, helping keep the nasal passages open.
Dealing With Insomnia
Insomnia is a common problem for moms-to-be. A combination of factors—including the frequent urge to urinate, discomfort and stress—can leave you tossing and turning all night. It’s no secret that being comfortable can make it easier to fall asleep. Try a pregnancy pillow to cradle your belly and support your aching back. If you find that your bed is lumpy or too hard, make use of a memory foam mattress topper. If you want to stick to the basics, a contour memory foam pillow can cushion the head and maintain spinal alignment without going flat.
Experts say that your bed should be used for sleep and sex only. Reserving the bedroom for these uses prevents your brain from associating an area of rest with other activities. In the same vein, if you do have trouble sleeping, try leaving the room and reading a book or just sitting quietly. When you grow sleepy, return to your bedroom.
Other time-tested techniques for dealing with insomnia include deep breathing, journaling and regular exercise. If you constantly wake up to go to the bathroom, try limiting your fluid intake a few hours before bed. Doctors recommend that pregnant women stay away from alcohol or sleeping pills to reduce the risk of harming the developing fetus.
Providing Support for Post – Natal Feeding
Both mother and baby should be comfortable during breastfeeding, and the right nursing pillow can help with that. One side of a U-shaped body pillow can be used as a back-rest, while the other side can be wrapped around your chest to help support the baby as he feeds, leaving your hands free to guide his mouth. Alternatively, the pillow’s “arm” can be used to support your own arms as you hold and position the baby, as long feeding sessions can be tiring without the proper support. Using a pillow can also help reduce pressure on the stomach, which is especially important for new mothers who are still healing from a caesarian section.
Putting It All Together
If you’re expecting and are finding it difficult to sleep at night, don’t fret. A number of different options can help you get that much-needed rest, whether you choose contour pillows or relaxation techniques. Every mother is different, and the tools that help you sleep may be different than what helps another woman. The key is to explore your options and experiment to find what works for you. Soon, you’ll be well on your way to a good night’s sleep!
Do you want to learn more? Read our Frequently Asked Questions for…
A maternity pillow can be used at any point during pregnancy when you start experiencing discomfort while sleeping. Many women find it helpful to start using a maternity pillow during the second trimester when their belly begins to grow and their body undergoes various changes. As your pregnancy progresses, you may find it increasingly difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position due to the extra weight and pressure on your back, hips, and legs. A maternity pillow provides support and helps alleviate these discomforts by promoting proper spinal alignment and relieving pressure points. So, whether you’re in the early stages of pregnancy or further along, a maternity pillow can be a valuable sleep aid to enhance your comfort and promote better rest.
Using a maternity pillow can greatly improve your sleep quality and overall comfort during pregnancy. It is recommended to start using a maternity pillow as soon as you begin experiencing discomfort or difficulty finding a comfortable sleeping position. By providing support to your growing belly, back, and legs, a maternity pillow helps alleviate pressure and strain on your body. This can be particularly beneficial during the second and third trimesters when your body undergoes significant changes and you may find it harder to get a good night’s sleep. So, don’t hesitate to invest in a maternity pillow early on in your pregnancy journey to ensure you have a restful and comfortable sleep throughout this special time.
Snoring can be a bothersome issue, but there are several steps you can take to help reduce or even stop snoring. Firstly, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can make a significant difference. Regular exercise and a balanced diet can help you maintain a healthy weight, which in turn can reduce snoring. Additionally, avoiding alcohol and sedatives before bedtime can help relax the muscles in your throat, reducing the likelihood of snoring.
Another effective method is to improve your sleeping position. Elevating your head slightly with a pillow or using a specially designed anti-snoring pillow can help keep your airways open, reducing snoring. It’s also important to keep your bedroom environment clean and free from allergens, as allergies or congestion can contribute to snoring. If these self-help measures don’t provide relief, it’s advisable to consult a healthcare professional who can assess your situation and provide further guidance tailored to your specific needs. Remember, everyone’s snoring situation is unique, so finding the right solution may require some trial and error.
Snoring is a common condition that occurs when the flow of air through the mouth and nose is partially blocked during sleep. It happens due to various factors, such as the relaxation of the muscles in the throat and tongue, which can narrow the airway. When we breathe in, the narrowed airway causes the surrounding tissues to vibrate, resulting in the sound of snoring. Other factors that can contribute to snoring include obesity, alcohol consumption, smoking, nasal congestion, and sleeping position. Snoring can disrupt sleep quality for both the snorer and their partner, leading to daytime fatigue and other health issues. If you or your loved one snores frequently and it affects your quality of life, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment options.
Yes, body pillows can help with snoring. Snoring often occurs when the airways are partially blocked, causing vibrations in the throat. Body pillows can help alleviate snoring by promoting better alignment of the head, neck, and spine, which can open up the airways and reduce snoring. By providing support and cushioning, body pillows can help you maintain a more comfortable sleeping position, preventing your airways from becoming restricted. Additionally, body pillows can help reduce the likelihood of sleeping on your back, which is a common position that can contribute to snoring. So, if you’re struggling with snoring, using a body pillow may be worth considering to improve your sleep quality and reduce snoring disturbances.
Yes, body pillows can indeed help with back pain. These specially designed pillows provide support and alignment to your spine, helping to alleviate discomfort and promote better sleep. By placing a body pillow between your legs or hugging it against your body, you can maintain a more neutral spinal position while sleeping, reducing strain on your back. The extra cushioning and support offered by body pillows can also help relieve pressure points and distribute your body weight more evenly, further reducing back pain. So, if you’re experiencing back pain, investing in a body pillow could be a simple and effective solution to improve your comfort and sleep quality.
A body pillow is a long, rectangular-shaped pillow that is designed to provide support and comfort to the entire body. It is larger than a standard pillow and can be used in various ways to promote better sleep and relaxation. Body pillows are often used by pregnant women to alleviate discomfort and support their growing belly. They can also be beneficial for individuals who suffer from back pain, hip pain, or other body aches. Placing the body pillow between the legs or hugging it while sleeping, it helps to align the spine and relieve pressure points, resulting in more restful sleep. Additionally, body pillows can be used for lounging, reading, or simply as a cozy companion for relaxation.
A body pillow is a versatile and supportive pillow that offers comfort and relief to the entire body. Whether you are pregnant, experiencing body aches, or simply seeking a more comfortable sleep, a body pillow can be a valuable addition to your bedding. Its larger size and unique shape allow for various uses, such as supporting the back, hips, or belly. By providing proper alignment and reducing pressure points, a body pillow promotes better sleep and relaxation. So, if you’re looking for a cozy and supportive companion, consider adding a body pillow to your sleep routine.