How to Use a Pregnancy Pillow Properly? 13 Perfect Ways

Have you been having trouble sleeping lately? Are none of your favorite sleeping positions providing comfort anymore? If this is you, then this article on how to use a pregnancy pillow is for you. Before experiencing the joy of holding a newborn baby in your arms, your body will undergo tremendous changes to accommodate the growth of the baby inside you. Some of the changes you will or are already experiencing are manageable and not too drastic; while some will take a bigger toll on your body. If you are in your second or third trimester you will find it difficult to get a good night’s sleep. This is as a result of the increasing weight of the baby.

I barely made it during the last few weeks of my third trimester and I probably wouldn’t have hadn’t it been for my pregnancy pillow. These pillows are specifically designed to help pregnant women sleep better and comfortably. If it is your first time coming across this then you are probably thinking about how to use a pregnancy pillow.

Reasons Your Sleeping Pattern Changes

Before purchasing your first pillow, it would help to understand why sleep is suddenly eluding you.

  • Anxiety and worry about the future can cause sleepless nights, especially during the first trimester. This may be worse if it is your first child. The anxiety may stem from fear of the unknown and the changes to your life that a child will bring. Self-doubt can also creep up on new mothers and effectively rob them of sleep.
  • Physical changes to the body are another cause for sleepless nights. Your body is adjusting to accommodating another being within you and this results in body aches, swelling, upset stomachs, mood swings and changes in taste and smell. Your bladder will be overactive, causing you to wake up several times during the night for a bathroom break.
  • Sleeping on your back especially during the last trimester is not recommended for a number of reasons. One of them is that your organs will suffer under pressure from your womb which will result in oedema, improper blood circulation and fatigue.

Why You Need a Pregnancy Pillow

1. Before I understood the dynamics of how my body needed better support at night, for the life of me I couldn’t understand how my beloved mattress no longer lulled me to sleep.

Before your pregnancy

your mattress may have done a fine job at providing comfort during sleep. However, during the pregnancy you will find that no matter what position you sleep in, your body will find little comfort enough to allow you to fall asleep. This maternity pillow provides support for your neck, head, back and shoulders. The pillow is designed to mold itself in response to your body’s change in sleeping positions.

2. Once you begin using a pregnancy pillow you find that your body aches are gone. Because the pillow provides support for your whole body, your will no longer need to strain your neck or back. The pillow allows your body to lie in a natural curve while also providing support for your belly.

3. Normal pillows do not provide good support for your body, which means that some parts of your body are subjected to pressure, which affects blood circulation. This leads to swelling and pain. To relieve this pressure a pregnancy pillow is extra soft, allowing for you to easily lie on your side without preventing proper blood circulation.

4. These pillows can be used even after your pregnancy. Depending on the shape and size, you can use them to cradle your newborn as your breastfeed him/her. Also, if you continue to suffer from body aches, these pillows do come in handy.

5. It is a handy replacement for your partner. Despite the fact that your partner understands your pregnancy and all the “perks” it comes with, I don’t think he/she likes the idea of being used as a body support pillow. With a pregnancy pillow you get support for your back, neck, head, shoulders and knees. Most pillows take on the shape of your body, molding to you and adding comfort; something your partner cannot do.

I wrote this article after I realized that a large number of women have no clue how to use a body pillow, and neither are they aware of its amazing benefits. Before I outline how you can use this product, there are several things you will need.

What You Will Need

· A full body pregnancy pillow

· A properly ventilated cool room

· A supportive partner

​This isn’t really necessary; however, I found it helpful when my husband was there with me the first time I tried using the pillow. It took a couple of tries before I got a position I liked and he helped me turn whenever I needed to.

​Step by Step Instructions

​These are the instructions to follow on how to use a pregnancy pillow.

Step 1 Choose the Right Pillow

cannot stress enough the importance of choosing the right pillow. It is the difference between relief and frustration. Because there are numerous types of pillows, they can be divided into different categories namely wedge pillows, full length pregnancy pillows and total body pregnancy pillows.

Wedge pillows

As the name suggests, this little pillow is in the shape of a wedge and can be placed either underneath your tummy, underneath your head or behind your back depending on where you need it the most. This type of pillow can also still be used even after you have given birth. There are two different wedge styles; round wedge and triangular wedge.

Some pregnant women opt for a wedge style pillow because it takes up the least amount of space on the bed. Because of its size, you may find that you will still need a separate pillow to use for your head. Another advantage that comes with the size of the wedge pillow is that it is portable, making it ideal to travel with.

It is not without a disadvantage which is that the slope of the wedge varies from manufacturer to manufacture making some steeper than others. The lack of consistency in the degree of the slope is enough to put you off from buying it.

Full length pillows

This type of pillow runs along the length of your body and mostly comes in straight styles. However, there are some manufactures that make curved full body pregnancy pillows. If you are the type that loves to cuddle, then you will appreciate this particular style. The only drawback with these types of pillows is that it offers support in one direction; your front. Which leaves your back unsupported. If you suffer from back aches then you may want to look elsewhere for a pregnancy pillow. A full length pillow is ideal because it is just one item that runs the length of your body and is capable of staying in one position. Most women would improvise full body pregnancy pillows by lining up several pillows to their front.

This pillow also comes in two different designs straight and flexible. Between the two, the flexible one is ideal as it is capable of bending into any shape you need it to bend into.

Full body pregnancy pillow

You might find this type a better option because it wraps around your body by providing support to both your front and your back. They can be as long as 6 feet, which is more than enough for most women to cuddle up to. Placing a pillow underneath your baby bump may not be enough to ease the aches on your back. So it is helpful that this particular type of pillow can provide the support that the others can’t. This pillow comes in two types: “C” and “U” shapes, which both correspond to letters.

When it comes to using these pillows, you are essentially supposed to saddle them, such that the pillow sits between your legs. The other half of the pillow will rest alongside or beneath your back.

The downside to these pillows is that they are extremely large and bulky. If your bed is small, then you may end up having to kick your partner out of it. A friendlier alternative that will not end up in a fight is for you to purchase a larger bed.

Step 2 Choose one with a removable cover

​During your pregnancy you may find that you sweat more than usual, more so at night when you are tossing and turning trying to find the right position to sleep in. Raging hormones also play a role. So it is completely to wake up and find that you’ve drenched your pillow. In this case, you will want to have a pillow with a cover that you can remove. I would suggest that you have two covers just so that you can swap them out when one of them is in the wash. Another reason you may want a removable cover is the size and bulk of the pillow may make it hard to wash. It’s easier to just pull off the cover and clean it.

​3. Step 3 Choose your filling

Different materials are used to fill up the pillows and give them shape. You are free to choose the type of filling you want. There are even some that are natural and completely organic.

Microbeads- These are really small beads that are the size of sand granules. It almost feels like you are sleeping on a bag of sand. The advantage of micro beads is that they are really light, making it easy for you to carry your pillow on travels if need be. They also make little noise, ensuring you won’t end up accidentally waking your partner as you move around.

Styrofoam- This is what is mostly used in pillows that are designed to mold to the shape of your body. It is inexpensive and light as well. The only downside to this type of filling is that it is noisy.

Memory foam- This is another type of filling that mimics the shape of your body. One you lift yourself off of it, it returns to its original shape. Pillows made using this filling tend to be firm and durable. When buying a maternity pillow with memory foam, determine whether the foam inside is shredded. Memory foam has the ability to retain heat, which may be a good thing during colder months, but with you already sweating more than usual, the extra heat will only be a nuisance. Shredded memory foam allows for better air circulation.

Polyester foam- This filling is soft, and makes little noise. The only downside to using polyester is that it does not breathe well. The last thing you want is a funky smelling pillow that you cannot do without.

Polyester foam- This filling is soft, and makes little noise. The only downside to using polyester is that it does not breathe well. The last thing you want is a funky smelling pillow that you cannot do without.

Natural filling- If you are a believer of organic living, then you will be happy to know that there are some natural fibers that are used to fill maternity pillows. Examples include wool and spelt.

Step 4 Choose the size

The size of the pillow is determined by the initial style you picked out, your height and the size of your bed. Your needs could also determine the size of the pillow. If all you need is support for your growing belly then a wedge pillow would suffice. Your back is giving you problems a full length body pillow would be your best option.

If your bed is small, try and choose a pillow that will not only fit your bed, but that will still leave room for your partner to sleep comfortably.  You are tall, you may need a pillow that is designed for taller women.

Step 5 Choose a firm pillow

The majority of women have a love for softer pillows. In this case, however, I would advise you against choosing a soft pillow. The whole reason you are purchasing this type of pillow in the first place is because you need support for your back and body. A soft pillow does not offer this kind of support. When you first begin using a firmer pillow, it may seem uncomfortable but with time your body will thank you.

Step 6 Align the pillow with your back

Once you have your pillow, lie down on your side and make sure it is aligned with your back. Having a properly aligned back means there is no undue pressure being placed on different parts of your body. This will help deal with the recurrent back aches you have been having.

Pro Tips

This is additional advice steps and instructions from experts on how to use a pregnancy pillow:

  • Shop only from reputable sources online. Unless you are visiting a store physically, you want to be very careful from which site you shop for your pillow from. Some online stores are notorious for advertising the wrong size and color.
  • Visit a store physically and ask an attendant whether or not it would be okay for you to actually sample different pillows on their bed, just to see which one would suit you best. You wouldn’t want to make the same mistake that I did when I purchased the wrong pillow.
  •  Ask for recommendations from friends or family. Chances are that one of them has used a maternity pillow before and can give you advice on the best brands to choose from.
  • Check sites such as Amazon for reviews of the best brands of pregnancy pillows for back pain.
  • Have a spare pillow. Pregnancy has its ups and downs and you may accidentally throw up or sweat all over your pillow. You do not want to spend sleepless nights nursing an aching back and a growing belly, as you wait for your pillow to dry. Having a spare can also come in handy in case you forget your other one somewhere.
  • If you order your pillow online and it takes a couple of days before it’s delivered to you, then you can fashion your own makeshift pregnancy pillow. When going to bed, arrange some pillows around you. As you lay to sleep, make sure you have one supporting your head and neck, one beneath your tummy, one between your legs, and one behind you for your back. Your partner can ensure that you arrange them properly and are comfortable. There’s no need for you to suffer more sleepless nights before your pillow arrives.
  • Use your pillow even after pregnancy. It is ideal for providing support for your baby while breastfeeding.

I hope you had fun reading this as I had fun writing it! Pregnancy pillows should be one of the first things you purchase as soon as you find out that you’re pregnant. Getting better sleep at night, as a result of the pillow, helped improve my mood, and health and general wellbeing. It was also a plus that I didn’t have to deal with too much swelling too. Not only are these pillows functional, but trendy too. You can purchase them in a multitude of colors, shapes and sizes all designed to fit your needs.

Kristin William

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