It isn’t always easy to get comfortable trying to sleep when you are pregnant, yet it’s a time when your body – tired from lugging around the extra bump, or desperate to get some sleep ahead of birth – needs some good rest.
But do you need a special pillow in pregnancy?
The short answer is, ‘Well, not really!’ However…
It is important to sleep in a good position when you are pregnant.
You don’t want to throw your back out, yet the growing bump will tip your body in ways it is not accustomed to: when walking, sitting or sleeping.
Sleeping on your left side, with your top leg supported, makes for the best position because you are not putting pressure on your back, blood flow to the fetus, or vital organs, plus your leg being supported means it isn’t turning downwards and twisting your middle too much.
Before the ‘pregnancy pillow’ was invented, women just made do with a combination of pillows and cushions to support various parts of them. This is still fine, but finding a good pillow isn’t always easy, and proper support pillows are devised with ergonomic needs in mind, just as good back-support cushions are for office deskwork.
You can buy pre-shaped pillows (shops like Argo and John Lewis sell ‘v-shaped’ pillows in their bedding sections) which are useful for sitting up in bed, and can be used after birth, for supporting your baby during feeds.
However, every woman has a different shape, size and body-length, and this is where the flexible nature of a long, soft-ish pillow like Made in Water’s Lulla-Luna Body Pillow comes in useful. It costs £65 including one washable cover, and is filled with grain rather than a synthetic filling. Stuffed with ‘spelt’, the grain moves gently with your body, and the cotton used is 100 per cent organic.
Pillows with special features
There are a few pillows which aren’t just gently shaped long models, but which support your back at the same time.
The Dream Genii has a long flat part and a bump support to ensure that you don’t roll onto your back during sleep. (If you do wake and find you are on your back whether you are using a pillow or not, do not worry, just try to correct your position before going back to sleep.) It also comes in two parts to make it flexible and useful for support during feeding after the birth.
Other things to look for
In this day and age, you are rarely going to find duck down specialist pillows, but still, whatever bedding you are using, do try to opt for ‘hypoallergenic’ types. Even if you don’t usually have asthma or other problems like hayfever, pregnancy can make your nose more snuffly and sensitive.
Make sure the pillow you choose has a removeable cover – if you want to use it as a feeding support after the birth, you will find that it will get messy with milk, baby sick and worse!
Try to find a pillow that is ‘breathable’. Even in winter, pregnant women will find they get more hot during the night because of the extra blood they are carrying around, and whatever the weather, you don't want overheating to add to your discomfort.
Where to buy them
There are many basic 'v-shaped' pillows available on the high street, but if you want to buy online, companies like Blooming Marvellous are a starting point.