Body pillows help give you a good night’s sleep, because disturbed sleep is usually a consequence of physical discomfort. The mattress you sleep on may not be right for you as not many know how to choose the correct mattress.
Sometimes you may find the new bed is not as comfortable as it was when you had tried it out in the store. If this is the case, a good cushion is often the remedy to the problem. Even good mattresses are not usually enough for a good night’s sleep as though you can use one or more pillows to support your neck and shoulders, there’s nothing to support your knees, hips and lower back. Moreover, in case of those who sleep on their sides, this position may increase pressure on the hip, causes a slight twist on the knees, legs and hips and eventually strain the lower back.
Compare: Top 7 Best Pregnancy Pillow Reviews 2017
A good night’s sleep
It is a good cushion or side sleeper pillow which provides a remedy to all this. These pillows are specially designed so that you can comfortably place them in between your knees to sleep better. You can also use it to rest your upper leg on to reduce the pressure of your hips when in contact with the bed. It also helps reduce any twisting of your lower back.
Besides reducing the pressure on hip joints and providing relief to painful knee joints, body pillows also offer comfort of having something to hug while sleeping! Though many don’t admit it, not only children but also many adults find their sleep better!
Health benefits of body pillows
Body pillows offer many benefits, which anyone using it will vouch for. It’s known that it offers maximum support and comfort to your neck and head. It’s especially comfortable for the many side sleepers as it provides additional support which their arms and legs need, and a normal head pillow cannot fulfil.
- Benefits side sleepers
People sleeping on their sides tend to place their top leg over the bottom one. This can over time lead to the snaking of the spine, and collapsed shoulders which in turn tilt your body.
A pregnancy pillow is large enough to provide the support the body requires so that there is no drifting of the body. Moreover, they come in various shape and fillings to ensure your body has a comfortable fit.
- Supports the body
If you spend half your night adjusting your pillow for a comfortable night’s sleep, you may end up sleeping in wrong positions. A pregnancy pillow provides the right support at comfortable positions so that you get a good night’s sleep without any disturbances.
- Helps deal with the discomforts of pregnancy
Pregnant women have the additional problem of accommodating their babies while sleeping! While you may want to sleep in one position, your baby may have other plans, and want you to sleep in another position!
So you end up frequently changing positions to get a good night’s sleep. With a maternity pillow, you finally find the perfect sleeping position which supports your back for more comfort while sleeping.
- Promotes blood and air circulation
People with air and blood circulation problems find body pillows advantageous at aligning all body parts so that your blood circulates in the right direction. The pillows can also be used to raise yourself and increase your body’s oxygen levels.
- Helps with recovery after accidents
The recovery process after an accident is a difficult phase. You want to sleep, but can’t sleep comfortably because of the pain. This is where these pillows can help, at soothing the accident pains and also improving your stability again.
While there’s no one-stop solution to deal with accident recovery, and there’s no guarantee for a body pillow giving you a good night’s sleep, it at least improves the quality of whatever sleep you get! This is because you can wrap your body around the pillow anyway you like and the pillow thus helps you sleep, and fall asleep.
- Support while nursing your baby
A pregnancy pillow not only gives a pregnant woman a good night’s sleep, it can also provide the necessary support while nursing and feeding your baby. However if you want a pillow specifically for nursing purposes, a C or U shaped pillow is a better choice.
- Provides relief to pressure points
Your hips can feel uncomfortable and painful without the right support from the mattress. You thus end up shifting your sleeping position and end up with poor spinal alignment and with your arm under your pillow; it gets squished and feels numb when you get up!
This is more prevalent in people with broad shoulders as you tend to twist and sleep with your shoulders leaning forward or even fold the pillow in half for more height and support. All this can be avoided and prevented with a maternity pillow because of its elongated and full shape. You just have to place it along your body and in between your knees for support and alignment instead of falling into uncomfortable sleeping positions.
- Minimizes tossing and turning
If you find it difficult finding the right sleeping position, your body ends up uncomfortable and restless trying to find the right sleeping position. The tendency of moving is reduced if you have something supportive to hold onto, like a body pillow.
While it’s possible for you to hold onto your partner for support, your partner’s body heat makes it even more difficult for you to fall asleep! Moreover, your partner too will be moving in sleep, which can end up disrupting your sleep. So no matter how huggable your partner may be, a maternity pillow is always the better choice for support while sleeping while minimizing tossing and turning.
- Gives you the benefits of hugging
A hug makes anyone feel safe and happy and holding onto a cushion at night replicates this sensation and make you feel peaceful while sleeping. If you are one of those who finds it difficult shutting off your mind to get comfortable and cozy under the sheets, hugging a pillow turns off the extra energy and helps you relax and fall asleep.
- Helps back pain by improving body alignment
Side sleepers place their entire upper torso body weight on their hips which may lead to pain and discomfort. You thus slide your leg forward and this twisting puts pressure on your back. A maternity pillow helps relax muscles and keep your body properly aligned. With you hugging your cushion between your knees, there is no need of twisting as your weight is evenly distributed which helps your back pain.
How to choose the best body pillow
Even if you have bought a body pillow before, remember that pillows don’t last forever. Look out for lumps and sagging, which indicates you soon need to buy a new pillow. Moreover, you can conduct as simple test to find out if it’s time to buy a new pillow.
Just fold the pillow in half and place a book on it. It’s good if it springs back to shape. However if it stays folded in half, it means it’s time for a new one. You also need to look for a new pillow if your memory foam pillow is now crunchy and does not hold its shape.
There are so many types of body pillows in the market made in various shapes and sizes, filled with different products and available in various prices. Moreover, as you can get pillows for as cheap as $20 and as expensive as $100; you naturally wonder what the difference is, and look for help in choosing the right one. Here are some tips that should help you make your choice.
There are various brands of body pillows to choose from. Though you may have a fancy for the brand you are looking for, it may change with time and you will soon find a favorite brand for yourself.
The reason brand is important is because different brands specialize in manufacturing pillows for your body based on when and why you are using it like for relief in pregnancy or for back pain relief.
The common brands you will find while looking for a great pillow are Snoogle, Leachco and Sleep Innovations which have been featured here for your convenience.
It’s rather easy making suggestions about the best body pillows in the market for you to buy. However the problem is that its difficult making suggestions based on a person’s budget. Different people have different budgets to work with. However this does not meant that those on a small budget cannot buy a good quality pillow.
There are quite a few brands and types of affordably priced pregnancy pillows. However if you can afford to spend a bit more on a pillow, you usually end up investing more in a good product. This is why it’s important you take your budget into consideration while looking for maternity pillows so that you don’t end up paying too much for a pillow you cannot afford.
This is top priority as you need to choose based on your size. Body pillows are much bigger than regular pillows obviously because they are meant to fit your entire body. This is why they come in different sizes to fit your body size and sleeping requirements.
Consequently, remember that the bigger is the cushion, the more filling it carries which in turn increases its price. In other words, bigger and longer body pillows are more expensive than shorter and smaller pillows.
You have to choose based on how much pillow space you need while using your pillow. It’s generally better to choose an oversized pillow and if you plan to use it during your pregnancy, buy your pillow based on the body areas you tend to target with it. A full length body pillow is right if you have more general pain and just want more comfort.
You also have to think about the size of your bed, and who will be sleeping in it. This is because if you and your partner have large-frames, and you sleep on a queen-sized bed, you’ll need a thinner or smaller pregnancy pillow.
- Design or shape:
Another important aspect to consider while looking for a good maternity pillow is its shape. Of course the pillows with exquisite shapes and designs look better on the bed. However this comes with a price as pillows with complex designs and shapes take more time and effort to make.
The more popular products are pillows with a standard pillow shape, which is usually your best available option. You have to look for a differently shaped pillow if you plan to use it to target a different, specific area of pain, like the wedge pillow which provides added support. There are also some unique letter-shaped pillows meant to be used to target different body types and pains.
All pregnancy pillows may seem to be made using the same materials. However looks are deceiving as this is not the case at all; there are different types of pillows with different fillings. In fact, the material of your pillow depends on how much you can spend for it.
Choose your pillow based on its filling as not only are the higher quality fillings more expensive, it also determines some of the pillow’s characteristics. It determines the pillow’s shape, how it holds, if it is hypoallergenic, if it’s supple when flattened, if it’s washable and if it holds or removes your body heat.
While down pillows are the fluffiest pillows, they can be rather expensive. You can look for a cheaper pillow with down and feather filling. Pillows filled with synthetic fill or down alternatives are also cheaper options while feeling soft and having supportive resistance.
While the material choice of the paternity pillow lies in your hands, you should always choose based on what and when you plan to use your pillow. It’s worth investing in an organic body pillow made using materials like cotton, kapok, wool or shredded latex if you are using it during your pregnancy, or after giving birth.
It’s more comfortable and provides more support to your back while sleeping and nursing your baby. They each give a different feel and control, are generously filled and can be customized based to your needs. If required, its filling can be removed for proper alignment and to ensure your muscles relax.
- Guarantee and warranty
Just in case you are not happy with the pillow it’s always better to buy one which has a money back guarantee. This way you are at least assured you can ask for a refund if you are not satisfied with the pillow. The pillow should also come with a warranty against flattening as some pillows are not resilient to flattening.
- Standard of quality
Like everything else, better quality pillows are more expensive. These are usually the hand sewn pillows and longer lasting than others.
- Place of manufacture
Pillows made in other countries where labor is cheap will cost cheaper than pillows made in countries where labor is expensive.
- The person using the pillow
You need to choose your cushion based on who’s using it as small structured people need smaller pillows and larger sized people, larger sized ones. In case you are looking for a pregnancy body pillow to use while travelling.
If you plan to use your pillow for other reasons than sleeping, than you need to choose based on your usage. If you plan to use it in various positions while reading, watching TV, sitting up in bed or in a car, it’s better looking for longer pillows. They are a better choice than shorter, straight and ‘C’ shaped pillows.
- Your sleeping position
In fact, it is the most important factor to consider while buying a pregnancy body pillow. Back sleepers should opt for thinner pillows with protect your head from moving forward as it provides support both on your right and left.
In case you tend to sleep on your side, look for a firm pillow as it fills up the space in between your shoulder and ear. Firm pillows also provide support to the front and back of your body so that you don’t ‘roll back’ at night.
If you tend to sleep on your stomach, look for a thin but very flat cushion to avoid lower back pain and problems. If you want some support in between knees, you need a long pillow which reaches from under the head and neck to your knees. If you are looking for support between ankles, look for pillows which support and prevent knocking of ankles.
Different materials are used to make pregnancy pillows. While some pillows are made using cheap and low grade material which add bulk to the pillow, these pillows end up too bulky to use.
Remember that pregnancy pillows are meant to make you feel comfortable while sleeping. So a heavy pillow may not be that convenient to carry around. Its better buying a pillow made of lightweight material so that you can sleep hugging and cuddling it!
- Adequate support
Support is considered to be the most important feature of a pregnancy body pillow as these pillows are specially designed to support your entire physique. They especially support the shoulders, pelvic region, back, hip and womb.
When you sleep on a normal pillow, it just supports your shoulders while the side pillows just support your back, hip and pelvic region. However they do not support your womb, which is where a pregnancy pillow helps by supporting these areas.
These pregnancy pillows may have straight, side arms while some have curved arms. You have to choose one that matches your physic, especially your womb. Not all pillows have all the features you may look for in a body pillow; it’s suggested you choose a pillow with maximum features.
- Caring for it
Make sure you check the pillow’s care label to ensure you will be able to wash it as it’s recommended. While most of the pillows are machine washable, there are a few that have to be only dry cleaned and some that shouldn’t be washed but only spot-treated.
Pillows generally last longer if you manage to wash them about two to four times a year, and use a pillow protector that keeps it clean and safe when in use. Look for maternity pillows with a removable cover as it makes its washing and maintenance so much easier.
- Test it
Body pillows too have to be tested just like you test a mattress before buying it. You have to rest your head on it to ensure it is right for you. If it’s possible, you can try the pillow at the store for at least 10 minutes.
However as this is not always feasible, you can always test it at home before removing the plastic wrap. It’s better returning the pillow if you notice your neck is tipping forwards or backwards or if there is any form of discomfort while using the pillow.
As a woman goes through lots of changes in pregnancy, you may develop sensitivity to some materials and fibers you never had before. Its better looking for a hypoallergenic pillow will let you sleep soundly without triggering any allergies. Moreover, if you had asthma, allergy sensitivities or some breathing complications before pregnancy, then a hypoallergenic pillow is definitely a must for you!
- Make comparisons
Last, but not least, as there are so many body pillows in different shapes, sizes, fillings and designs, you have to make a few comparisons of the available options to finally find the best pillow for yourself.
Different types of body pillows
- Total body pillows
These pregnancy pillows wrap you up from both the front and the back. These pillows are extensive in size and cover both your body and belly areas. this leaves your belly intact as the pillow supports your body curves.
These pillows are found in various shapes like C and U-shaped pillows which also prove helpful at supporting you while nursing your baby. The problem is that they can be bulky in size, takes up a lot of space on your bed and is difficult to move around.
- Provides simultaneous support to your back and belly
- No need of any head pillow while using this pillow
- Rather expensive in cost
- Large and bulky, making it difficult to carry around
- C-shaped body pillows
C-shaped body pillows are one of the most prominent types of pregnancy pillows. It’s quie similar in nature to a standard straight maternity pillow with the main difference being that the pillow resembles the letter C-shape.
The perception of this shape is to use the pillow in a riding position where you can place it’s body between your legs while using it’s top to rest your head. It’s unique shape makes the pillow comfortably target your spine while providing relief to the pressures of pregnancy.
However unlike U-shaped pillows, these pillows target a specific body part and not your general body posture. Moreover, these pillows are designed with a pregnant woman in mind, and may not be your best choice if you are looking for a pillow to deal with back pain and other discomforts.
- The C-shape design makes this a comfortable body pillow providing all the required support you need
- It also supports your baby while breastfeeding
- The pillow rests your entire body, including your head so there’s no need of investing in an additional pillow
- While the design is best for side sleepers, it may not work so well for straight and back sleepers
- The pillow is rather large and bulky, when compared to other pillow shapes.
- Not advised to be taken along while travelling
- Rather expensive
- U-shaped body pillows
The U-shaped full body pillow is a more solid pillow option than a C-shaped one. It’s used in about the same way as its C-shaped counterpart, but because of its shape, it provides support to both sides of the body and not only the back like the C-shaped pillow.
The U-shaped pillow also provides support to your entire body, and head, without any need of an additional pillow. The only problem with this pillow is that you have to be able to fit into the available pillow space. For example, the C-shaped pillow has extra space for your belly in front while the U-shaped variant doesn’t.
However the pillow provides support on both sides to give you the same effect of sleeping on your back. This is why the U-shaped pregnancy pillow is famous for its terms of compatibility.
- Gives you more support for your money than most pillows as it supports full support on both body sides.
- It provides support on both body sides to give you the effect of sleeping on your back especially if you find it difficult sleeping on your back when pregnant.
- Provides comprehensive body support, with an additional provisional space for your head
- More expensive than the other shaped pillows
- Another bulky pillow option which is not comfortable or convenient to take along while travelling
- I-shaped body pillows
As far as the pillow shape is concerned, the I-shaped body pillow is definitely the simplest option available. With its simple shape, the pillow is easily adjustable to your sleeping needs. You just have to shift its position to give you optimum comfort while sleeping. So if you are looking for a pregnancy pillow that’s easy and convenient to use, then this is just the right pillow for you.
- Unlike other uniquely shaped pillows, this pillow can be adjusted as per your liking
- These pillows are cheaper than other shaped pillows.
- These pillows are rather popular as they are available in various material choices
- Not suitable for those suffering from particular pain or those looking for particular support from the pillow
- As it looks and feels like a traditional pillow, it does not give extra support when used for pregnancy or back pain
- Microbead Body pillows
The microbead body pillow is an all-round body pillow option because it is very flexible in structure. It is very easy to use and get comfortable with while using it as it’s easily moved around for added comfort. It also offers about the same benefits other pillows offer.
- A very flexible pillow which you can easily adjust to get comfortable while sleeping
- It’s cheaper than most other available options
- They are available in various shape options, so you just have to choose your preferred shaped pillow
- Does not provides similar comfort and support as most padded options do
- There are more traditional and organic stuffing pillow options that help you relax
- Down feather body pillow
A down feather pregnancy pillow is one of the best choices if you are looking for a pillow with a natural filling. Most down feather pillows have some natural feather based filling like goose feather filling, wherein the pillow is marked as a goose down body pillow.
- If you are looking for a pillow with a natural filling, then down feathers is worth contemplating
- These pillows generally last longer than their synthetic counterparts
- They are much easier to clean
- The feather filling makes the pillow lightweight to easily carry the pillow around wherever required
- While feather filled pregnancy pillows are rather comfortable, its hard parts can sometimes stick through to cause a problem with children
- Organic body pillow
If you are particular about investing in a good quality pregnancy pillow, then the organic body pillow is a worthy investment to make. You don’t actually know what chemicals and pesticides have been used in the synthetic materials used in some pillow fillings.
Organic pregnancy pillows provide the advantage of nature, and does not relate to a single type of material filling. There are various materials that are considered to be ‘organic’, making this a viable pillow option if you are allergic to a particular material.
- These pillows don’t have synthetic fillings, but are filled with only organic materials.
- There is a wide range of organic pillows in various shapes and sizes to choose one that fits your comfort needs
- Users of standard organic pillows vow that the filling makes them feel much more comfortable than the other synthetic filling options available in the market
- These pillows are rather expensive where you may end up struggling to buy one if you are sticking to a budget
- Wedge body pillows
Yes, you’ve guessed it right! These pillows are wedges, and are the smallest and cheapest options available. They are perfect to place under your regular pillow and lift them up to give you additional support.
You can also use these wedges by placing them against your tummy so that you get additional support while sleeping, without any strain on your back. You can also use these wedge pillows against your backs, to help you while you toss and turn while sleeping.
While these pillows are supportive in nature, remember that they can support only a small part of your body. This means you will need a second regular pillow under your head, and perhaps more pillows for additional support while sleeping.
- The pillows are affordably priced
- Does not take up much space on the bed
- They are small in size, and thus are portable in function
- Can be used to provide support to both your back and belly
- Supports only a small portion of the body
- You need an additional pillow to support your head while sleeping
- Full length pregnancy pillows
These pillows provide support to your entire body as they run the length of your body. There is no need of multiple pillows for a comfortable night’s sleep as a single pillow is more than sufficient.
These pillows come in two types- a straight version that covers your body and a flexible version which can be bent and used as per your needs. It’s generally better buying the flexible versions as they come with microbeads that provide adequate comfort to your body.
- A pregnancy pillow that is big enough to support the entire body
- No need of an additional pillow for head support
- A single unit is more than enough
- Uses lots of space on the bed
- Not meant for use by back sleepers
Some famous models
1. Body pillows for neck pain
Body pillows also prove helpful at providing relief from neck pain. It helps you sleep better as it’s conveniently tucked into various parts of your body to provide better support to your neck and back. In case of neck pain, it should be placed behind your body into the space between your shoulders and other pillows you use.
This way the pillow keeps your neck in proper alignment, and supports your back, while you sleep on your side. You can also hug the pillow high on your body while lying on your side to provide support to your neck. The pillow thus cradles your neck and holds it in a proper position when you sleep, without the need of any other pillow.
2. Body pillows for back pain
Body pillows are also popularly used to provide relief during back pain, as long as the pillow is placed between your legs to provide relief from sciatica pains. These pillows also help relax your muscles.
This helps those with back pain as tense back muscles is one of the main reasons for back pain. Just make sure the pillow is aligned to your arms and legs so that there is better blood circulation in the muscles, which in turn stops them from aching.
As back pain is difficult to deal with, with or without medications, a maternity pillow proves a worthy investment as it helps to finally give you a good night’s sleep.
Compare: Best Body Pillow for Back Pain
|Duro-Med Relax-a-Bac, Lumbar Back Support and Ease Lower Back Pain||Duro-Med||$$||4.0|
3. The memory foam pillow
One of the better body pillows to buy. Though it’s slightly expensive, it molds itself to your body shape when you rest on it but returns to its original shape once you get up.
Whichever pillow you eventually choose, make sure it’s outer fabric is tightly woven so that it’s filling remains inside and allergens, outside.
Best Body Pillow (Memory Foam)
|–||100% egyptian cotton||4.8|
How to sleep with a body pillow
Now you know how to choose your body pillow, it will be effective only if you know how to use it properly. The pillow is mainly used to deal with the pains and discomforts of pregnancy and back pain so that you sleep better.
You thus have to find the source of your pain which causes you discomfort. Pregnant women usually have pain in their knees, shoulders, neck, belly, ankles and back, either in one or more than one area. You can now use your pillow based on where your body pain is.
- Sleeping with neck pain
While some of the pregnancy pillows target a specific body part, most options generally provide relief to all types of pain. Neck pain is a common complaint in pregnancy, and if you suffer from it, you have to place the pillow so that it provides maximum support to your head and neck. This support keeps your spine straight, and prevents neck ache.
- Sleeping with belly pain
It’s common for pregnant women to have belly pain because of the added weight around the belly region. A wedge pillow supports your belly while you sleep so that your belly doesn’t cause any unnecessary discomfort.
- General pains
The best way to deal with the general pains of pregnancy is by placing the pillow in between your legs. This relieves pressure on your joints to give you a good night’s sleep. If you follow these steps, you will be able to get the most of your maternity pillow.
Remember that the main trick in using pregnancy pillows effectively is getting a good idea of the region and pain you will be targeting! It’s only if you know and do this will you be able to reap the benefits, and feel how helpful a body pillow is.
How to wash your body pillow
If you have a habit of washing most of the pillows in your home, you will obviously want to wash your maternity pillow too. After all, you have spent so much on it, and you want it to last as long as possible!
In fact, you will want to wash it more frequently during your pregnancy as your body is more susceptible to germs and bacteria. Washing your maternity pillow helps keep you and your baby as healthy as possible.
- Choose one with a cover
Washing your pillow is easy. You don’t have to wash it every time you use it. The best way to keep your body pillow clean is to choose one that comes with a cover. If it doesn’t, you can always get one stitched as it’s easier and more practical to just wash the cover instead of trying to stick the entire pillow into the wash!
If you buy a pregnancy pillow with a removable cover, you just have to remove the cover and wash it in the washing machine. The cover protects your pillow and prolongs it’s life by absorbing dirt and thus preventing the pillow from absorbing dirt.
- Check it’s tag
Make sure you first check the cover’s tag to ensure it is machine washable or not. If it’s machine washable, it is better to wash it on a low heat, and on its own. While it is usually possible to machine dry the pillow’s cover too, for sanitary reasons, it’s better to have it air dried wherever possible.
- Prevention is always better
As prevention is always better than cure, you don’t have to wash your pillow that often if you look after it carefully. This is best done by preventing dirt and dust from accumulating in the pillow by giving it a good shake every time after using it and wipe off spills as they happen.
You generally have to use your common sense while washing your body pillow as you have spent so much on it. Not only should you wash its cover based on its washing instructions on the tag, you should also prevent it from getting too dirty too!
How long are body pillows?
You may know by now that maternity pillows are relatively big in size. However you may not know its actual length as there is much more to its measurements than you think, and there are so many options to choose from.
It’s good to know that most of the pregnancy pillows are quite similar in size. They are generally full length pillows designed to fit your full body length. While its size may vary, they are usually around 54 inches in length, and 20 inches in width.
So they are pretty well designed for a person of average size. However if you have back pain, are pregnant or are shorter or taller than an average build, you will need a different pillow. Don’t worry; there are various pillows available to meet the requirements of different people.
There is the king size body pillow that is perfect for a person who has a large build. Similarly a pregnant woman will gain lots of weight during pregnancy and will thus need something like a total pregnancy pillow for a good night’s sleep.
There however is no hard and fast rule to follow while buying maternity pillows. So if this is the first pillow you are buying, it’s better and safer to stick to a standard sized pillow measuring 54” x 20” in size.
Just remember that the pillow you choose should provide comfort to your body to make you feel comfortable enough to get a good night’s sleep. While it may get tricky finding the right sized pillow for yourself, you just have to be realistic with your choices and you will soon be able to find the perfect pregnancy pillow with the required measurements.
It goes without saying that a good night’s sleep is essential for complete rest and to remain healthy and active through the day. However if you are one of the unlucky few who find it difficult getting a good night’s sleep, your sleep problems can lead to poor health, weight gain, reduced work performance and strained emotional health.
Sometimes a few small changes in your routine can help you sleep well, like investing in a good body pillow. With so many types and brands of pillows available in the market, all the information in this article should help you choose the right pillow for a good night’s sleep
Last updated: Saturday, April 22, 2017 7:38 AM