Newly pregnant mamas experience some of the deepest sleep they have had in years; it’s as if your body is saying “rest now while you can!” And while that sleep may feel blissful in the first trimester or so, things can and will change. Suddenly soon-to-be-mothers find themselves in need of a sleep strategy. This sounds a bit ridiculous at first–we know–but paying attention to how you sleep is incredibly important for a healthy pregnancy. I’m looking at you especially, stomach sleepers! That’s where the pregnancy pillow comes into the picture for getting that great night’s sleep!
A pregnancy pillow is an expectant mama’s best friend—right up there with comfortable shoes, ice cream, and Netflix. Be sure you are discussing quality sleep with your ob-gyn, who can discuss the ins and outs of catching ZZZs throughout your pregnancy. Plus, we also have some great tips for you here!
Why Can’t I Sleep Anyway?
Do you toss and turn all night? There are a number of reasons your sleep will be disturbed as your pregnancy progresses. Hormone-induced dreams will have you feeling restless; you may find yourself waking up in a cold sweat after some of the most bizarre dreams you have ever experienced. Not to mention the number of times you will wake up throughout the night to relieve your bladder, the one that is now being tested by a tiny human growing inside you. Your body may also react to pregnancy with the most unwelcome of gifts: heartburn. This is a common reason many pregnant women find it difficult to sleep at night. You could also be experiencing issues with blood circulation, or an uncomfortable sleep position.
Whatever the cause of insomnia may be, a pregnancy pillow can make a tremendous difference, and it is a “must have” for any expectant mama. Don’t hesitate to purchase one (there’s no better excuse to “treat yo self”), but you will want to do a little homework on the best type for your needs and your budget.
Pregnancy Pillow Types
Picture yourself snuggled into the perfect nest, and that’s what you will find with a full-length pregnancy or maternity pillow. They generally come in two shapes: a C or a U-shaped pillow. In both cases you are going to sleep in the center opening of the “letter” and when you turn to the side, you can wrap your arms and legs around the pillow and enjoy support for your growing belly.
These pillows offer great support for your entire body, and they also help to prevent the tossing and turning that may be keeping you up at night. Back pain is a common nuisance during pregnancy, and pregnancy pillows are designed to alleviate some of that pain, offering much needed support for your neck and head as well.
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For those who prefer sleeping on their stomach, inflatable pregnancy pillows are an ideal option. Much like an air mattress, the inflatable pregnancy pillow typically come with a pump included, and once you have inflated it to the desired size, you place your belly in the hole for some optimal belly support, and presto! You have the perfect placement for a restful night of comfortable sleeping. You might feel a bit silly at first, sleeping on what looks like a pool float, but these pillows are an absolute dream pillow for stomach sleepers! (Unfortunately, they come with no guarantee to rid you of those wacky, hormone-induced dreams. There’s no “cure” for that!)
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Lastly, a pregnancy wedge is the best budget-friendly option for expectant mamas. They are designed to provide support exactly where you need it, with most mamas placing them under their bellies as they sleep on their sides.And if you don’t want to stop at a new pillow…
Consider whether it may be time to invest in a new mattress. Once that little one arrives, sleep will be the most valued commodity in your home, and you may not see much of it. If you are guaranteed only a few hours of shut-eye each night, you want those hours to be the very best they can be. And this means it may be time to part with that mattress that moved with you to three different apartments in your early 20s and has frankly seen better days.
If you have a partner alongside you, a new mattress may make it easier for EVERYONE to sleep, as they are often designed with movement isolation in mind. Your 13 trips to the bathroom in one night can certainly disrupt your partner’s sleep, and a high-quality mattress can minimize the amount of movement sensed by the person gratefully sawing logs on the other side of the bed.
Additionally, many newer mattresses are designed specifically for optimum sleeping temperatures, ensuring the soon-to-be-mama stays cool at night.
If you shop for a new mattress during pregnancy, remember to look for one that is
-Medium Firm! A soft, cushy mattress won’t give your aching back the support it needs (and honestly this goes for almost everyone, pregnant or not.)
-Motion Isolating! You want a mattress that doesn’t constantly sink or bounce as you get in and out of bed. You want enough “bounce” to help you lift your growing body off of it, but no so much that it wakes your partner every time.
-Cool! You will inevitably experience a warmer body temperature as you sleep during pregnancy, so you want a mattress that does not absorb that heat. The newest materials in high-quality mattresses can actually work to pull heat away from your body but not turn the mattress into a sauna at the same time.
-Machine washable! Yes, you’ll need to wash that pillow, Mama. Especially if you find yourself sweating at night a little more than usual during your pregnancy. Some pillows have a removable cover, so you can just pop the pillow cover off in the morning and run it through the wash.
For budget-friendly options, you can’t beat a Nectar mattress. They have a generous 365-day return policy if you find the mattress doesn’t work for you, and we should not before you even try one: if you’re not a “foam” mattress person, this won’t be for you. The bed is designed to stay cool and isolate motion, so if you’re already accustomed to foam mattresses, you’re sure to love it.
If you have a little more room in your budget to upgrade your mattress, check out the Dreamcloud, a hybrid mattress that uses both coils as well as memory foam. They also boast a generous 365-day return policy and offer “white glove service” to set up your new mattress.
And if you are ready to splurge, go all out with a custom mattress from Brooklyn Bedding. Just bear in mind their return period is 120 days, so you have less time to decide if this mattress is the right one for you and your partner.