A pregnancy pillow is often hailed as a sleeping saviour for mums-to-be.
Anyone who has been pregnant knows how hard it is to sleep – it's easy to start forgetting what a good nights' sleep once felt like.
You can’t find a comfortable position, your body aches, your body is changing, and you're exhausted.
But it's also one of the most important times to be getting your ZZZs – after all, you're growing another human. You have to nurture your body to nurture and nourish the little one growing inside you.
If you're struggling, you're not alone. According to the Sleep Foundation, at least 50% of women struggle to sleep while pregnant.
Aches, niggles, stress, and the pressure on your ligaments make it hard to stay asleep for long. It can be even trickier for tummy and back sleepers, as these positions aren't the best for you or your baby.
Many mums-to-be also worry about their sleeping position, such as whether they'll roll onto their back when they fall asleep. This type of stress can make it even harder to rest through the night and properly recharge.
The good news is, the best fix for this is also the easiest – a pregnancy pillow.
These specialised pillows have been designed to comfort and contour your fast-changing body.
The softness and support help ease the aches and pressure in your body, helping you relax comfortably and finally rest easy.
We'll delve into the benefits of a pregnancy pillow, how they work, and when you should start using one.
But first, why is sleep so important during pregnancy?
Why Do You Need To Sleep More During Pregnancy?
If you've been pregnant, you're no stranger to tiredness. In fact, it's often one of the pregnancy's first symptoms. As early as the first trimester, you might start feeling physically tired, mentally drained, or overwhelmingly exhausted.
That's your body's way of telling you it needs more sleep than it usually would. The hormone fluctuations – including an increase in oestrogen and progesterone – can absolutely sap your energy levels.
And because your body is giving so much nutrients to your baby, your energy stores may get depleted.
It can make it difficult to get through the day without a lie-down. If you're not getting a decent snooze at night, it's bound to feel even more challenging.
But getting plenty of sleep while pregnant is vital for your wellbeing and your baby's well-being. Here’s why:
Improved Mood And Energy
It might sound obvious, but you'll feel much better. A solid eight hours of sleep can do wonders for your mood and energy throughout the day, especially if you're struggling with common conditions such as morning sickness or heartburn.
Better Health Outcomes For You
Many of us underestimate how important sleep is for our health in general. It's the same with pregnancy – but amplified. Good quality sleep decreases your risk of gestational diabetes, high blood pressure or preeclampsia, and mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, and postpartum depression.
By getting consistently good nights of sleep, you'll be healthier, happier, and better prepared for your new family member.
Better Health Outcomes For Your Baby
Your body is growing your baby's – so, of course, your health is linked. Any risk to your body, such as high blood pressure and diabetes, can be risky for your little one, too.
A study even found that short afternoon naps may help to decrease the risk of low birth weight in babies. So, don't skimp on your cat naps!
If you're worried about giving birth, one of the best things you can do is get your ZZZs. A study found that women who slept less than six hours not only had longer labours, they also had a much higher risk of caesarean.
Benefits of a Pregnancy Pillow
A pregnancy pillow can transform your sleep overnight – literally. The relief is instant, and the only regret most people have is not buying one sooner.
Here are a few of the key benefits.
- Increase your comfort while lying down
- Ease pressure on your hips and pelvic muscles
- Make it comfier to change sleeping positions in bed
- Longer sleeps
- Improve common conditions such as heartburn and congestion
- Supports your neck, head, and shoulders
- Improved circulation
- Handy to use after you've given birth.
When Should You Start Using a Pregnancy Pillow?
There's no hard and fast rule of when to start using a maternity pillow – it's all about you and your comfort. But most experts recommend women start using one in the second trimester. This is when your tummy starts growing, and sleeping in your usual positions becomes more uncomfortable.
It gets more and more uncomfortable, too.
There's more pressure on your ligaments and muscles, and lying down can feel awkward and uncomfortable. As it becomes more difficult to toss and turn, it becomes more important for you to be supported and comfortable in bed.
As a rule of thumb, it's time to get a maternity pillow when:
- You're not getting enough sleep.
- It's difficult to change positions in bed.
- Conditions such as heartburn, sleep apnea, or cramps keep you awake.
- You're worried about rolling onto your back.
- You're waking up with more aches and pains.
How Does a Pregnancy Pillow Work?
There are different pregnancy pillows for different needs, which all support your changing body in different ways. This will depend on how you like to sleep, the discomfort you're feeling, how much support you need while lying down, and how much you like to move around in bed.
Some are full-length pillows designed for you to spoon and cuddle while providing excellent support – a perfect bed buddy! Other pillow types are made to put between your legs to support your legs, back, and hips.
With the best pregnancy pillow for you, you can rest assured that you're not going to roll onto your back or wake up with more aches and niggles. This brings us to one of the most important ways it works – by giving you peace of mind while you sleep. By being stress-free and well-rested, you can become your best self before your bub arrives.
Some even double as a breastfeeding pillow, so you’ll get bang for your buck.
Check out our other blogs to learn more about how to choose a great pillow, sleeping while pregnant and the best pregnancy pillows in Australia.
Choosing a pillow can be confusing, and it's often difficult to find one that ticks all the boxes.
That's why we created Sleepybelly! The osteo-recommended, adjustable pregnancy pillow that allow for optimal comfort no matter how you sleep. The three-piece set – made for mums-to-be in their second and third trimesters – is perfect for side, back, and tummy sleepers alike.
To find our more about the Sleepybelly check-out the product in detail here