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Anyone and everyone who has experienced the later stages of pregnancy will tell you that sleeping can be difficult and uncomfortable.Pressure on your joints — not to mention a much larger-than-usual belly — can make it hard to find a pain-free position, resulting in fewer hours of shut eye.
But that doesn't mean you have to spend your whole pregnancy feeling uncomfortable and exhausted.
Many people find maternity pillows to be extremely beneficial.
Once you've decided to purchase a maternity pillow, the hard part is deciding which one to buy. There are hundreds on the market, and not all are equally created.
Here at BestReviews, our goal is to help you find the best products to suit your needs.
Denise has a background in healthcare and physical therapy. She also has the unique experience of raising three boys. Through the years, she has coached her sons and many of their friends through their share of childhood health problems and accidents. When not helping others recover from their injuries, you may find Denise working in her garden or reading.
A maternity pillow is designed with the needs of a pregnant person in mind. It provides support to those areas that need support and makes sleeping while pregnant a much more comfortable affair.
The main functions of maternity pillows are to reduce pain and discomfort while in bed and to help the user get better sleep.
Roughly 80% of pregnant people report having more disturbed sleep than usual while expecting. Thankfully, a maternity pillow can help address this issue.
Are you a side, back, or front sleeper? Keep your usual sleeping position in mind when choosing a maternity pillow.
There are a range of factors to consider when choosing a maternity pillow. Here are some of the main things to think about:
We've already touched on the two main maternity pillow types: U-shaped and C-shaped.
U-shaped pillows are normally used more like a lowercase "n" than a "u," with your head resting on the closed end. However, you can use them the other way, too, with your head resting on your usual pillow. This shape is good for both back and side sleepers. Put simply, you should use it in the manner that’s most comfortable for you.
C-shaped pillows are designed for side sleepers. The usual way to use them is to have your back along the closed side of the C, your head resting on the top curve of the C, your legs straddling the bottom curve of the C, and your belly next to the open side of the C. But, again, you should use it in whatever way feels most comfortable to you.
U-shaped maternity pillows suit both side and back sleepers.
There are two main factors to consider about your maternity pillow’s cover: what it's made of and whether it's removable.
Ideally, you want to find a pillow with a 100% cotton cover. Synthetics and blends can feel scratchy against your skin and may make you feel warmer.
For hygienic reasons, you definitely need a maternity pillow with a removable cover — or at least one for which you you can buy a removable cover. But maternity pillows aren't made in standard sizes, so it could be hard to find a cover if there isn't one made specifically for the pillow you choose.
A maternity pillow with a 100% cotton cover will feel much more comfortable against your skin than a pillow with a synthetic cover.
The majority of maternity pillows seem to have a hollow fiber polyester filling. However, there are other fillings to be found on the market, although less frequently. These include memory foam, down, and microbeads.
It's important to think about what size of pillow you want and need.
First, consider the measurements of the pillow in relation to your height. If you're on the taller side, you may find that some full-body pillows aren’t long enough to support your knees and lower legs. If you definitely want support for these regions, be sure to compare the length of the pillow to your height before making a purchase.
Next, check the width of the pillow. If you share a bed with a partner, you may find that the widest of maternity pillows are big enough to relegate your significant other to the sofa! If you don’t want that to happen, be sure to take the maternity pillow’s size into account!
Think about which parts of your body feel painful while in bed or upon waking. Is your chosen pillow going to support the areas that need it the most?
For instance, if you find that your back aches in bed, but you also want belly support, look for a pillow that claims to support both of these areas, such as the U Shaped-Premium Contoured Body Pregnancy Maternity Pillow.
Many maternity pillows are plain white, but others — like the Queen Rose U-Shaped Pregnancy Body Pillow — come in a range of colors, from gray to pink to blue.
Unless you have an exceptionally large bed, it's always best to double-check that your chosen pillow won't take up more than your fair share of space.
While there's a fair amount of variation in the price of maternity pillows, you should be able to find a decent pillow that will keep you comfortable in the $35 to $70 range. However, you may find that you lose a little bit in quality, comfort, and durability if you purchase a pillow at the bottom end of that range.
If you go under $35, you're unlikely to get a quality, supportive maternity pillow, so we wouldn't recommend spending too little. In that same vein, it's probably unnecessary to spend much more than $70 — unless you plan to use the pillow for some time after your pregnancy.
Most people agree that comfort, not color, should be your main consideration when choosing a maternity pillow. But if you want something other than white, there are options.
If you're still stuck on which maternity pillow is right for you, here are a few questions to ask yourself to help narrow your choices down:
Do I really need a maternity pillow?
You don’t necessarily need a maternity pillow just because you're pregnant. If you're one of the lucky 20% of women who don't suffer from disturbed sleep while pregnant, you might not need one at all.
If you're unsure, here are a few signs that a maternity pillow might be right for you —
You're getting less sleep than usual.
You can't find a comfortable sleeping position.
You can't sleep well due to aches and pains.
You wake up with joint or lower back pain.
Do I want a pillow that will be useful after pregnancy?
You might want to use your maternity pillow after pregnancy, too. For instance, the PharMeDoc Total Body Pillow can be bent and folded into a great nursing pillow once the baby has arrived.
If you think you might use your pillow after pregnancy, it's easier to justify spending a little more on a top-quality one. If you think you’ll only be using it for a few months, however, you may have trouble justifying a huge expenditure.
Do I get especially hot at night?
If you're someone who tends to get hot at night, be mindful of what kind of maternity pillow you choose. Those with synthetic covers will make you feel warmer than those with covers of 100% cotton.
Even if you don’t get particularly hot at night, your basal body temperature can rise slightly during pregnancy. As a result, you may feel surprisingly warm with a maternity pillow at your side.
Full-body pillows that hug you on each side of your body are likely to make you feel pretty toasty under any conditions.