Two pillows or not two pillows, that is the question...
I have always used a sleep pillow in pregnancy because I get shocking back pain especially if I roll onto my back. But it's not just about my comfort anymore and my reasons for using one are twofold. Like me, you may have been alarmed by the latest research regarding sleeping on your back during pregnancy. Experts say that you double the risk of stillbirth by sleeping on your back in the third trimester. The reason behind this is that the weight of your uterus when on your back, compresses veins and slows vital blood and oxygen flow to the baby.
OK, you know what you need to do, but finding the right sleep pillow for you very much depends on your natural sleep position. Here's a selection of recommendations and best sellers with varying uses and price tags....
Dreamgenii from £35.99
I figured it made sense to start with the pillow you've probably already had recommended to you, and it's popular for a reason. As well as the long section to go between your knees and under the bump, the Dreamgenii has an built in back support to stop you rolling onto your back. I slept quite well with the Dreamgenii, but as I don't like to sleep in the same position all night, I woke up when I wanted to roll over and had to flip the whole pillow over to lay on my other side. The other thing I found was that the section between my legs is quite narrow and kept riding up leaving my knees touching.
I can however see why so many people like this pillow. At a cost of upwards of £35.99 (depending on the cover fabric pattern for some reason) and additional covers costing £15-£20, you can get good use out of it as it also doubles up as a nursing support pillow.
Next up is the
Summer Infant Maternity Body Support Pillow from £29.99
Quite a mouthful and quite a bed full as well. Reasonably priced but this is probably one of the most versatile pillows out there. Not only does it work as a sleep support pillow, but it grows with your baby quadrupling up as a nursing support, new baby cushion and then support cushion for when they start to sit up. It doesn't have the back 'roll over' buffer that the Dreamgenii has and yet again only comes with one cover. I am quite particular about my pillow as I easily get neck ache (precious little thing aren't I?!). But if you're not, you may like this as the top of the '6' shape is used to support your head.
Going with a simpler design.
Theraline Original pregnancy and breastfeeding pillow from £44.99
Theraline haven't been overly clever with the shape and in fairness, they didn't need to be. It does the job of supporting your bump and sits comfortably between your knees. The reason this pillow walked away with the Mother and Baby award is the bean bag style filling. Soft fill pillows can loose their shape over time, but this one doesn't. It can be shaped to allow for your growing bump size and stays in place between your legs. You also don't get as hot due to the improved airflow with the beans filling. Again only one cover and no back support, but does continue it's life with you as a nursing support cushion.
The largest of my offerings is
Snuggle Up Classic U-Shaped pregnancy pillow from £30
There'll be no impromptu nooky with this bad boy in your bed! This pillow has won a couple of awards over the years and not for 'Most massive pillow ever owned'! Size aside, (said no woman ever) it does cover pretty much everything you need for a good nights sleep. The two uprights support both bump and legs as well as stopping you from rolling onto your back. If you like the integrated pillow aspect, use it curve to the top. If not (I can't help it, I just love my pillow!) then you can use it curve to the bottom. It also allows for my need to swap sleeping sides in the night without much readjustment.
They suggest it can also be used as a nursing support and baby cushion, but I would suggest that there are less 'cumbersome' options for both.
For my final offering. I'm going simple simple simple....
Boudoir cushion from £4.50
You might think I've lost my tiny baby brain with this one, but bare with me. In case you haven't heard the term, 'Boudoir cushions' are the small decorative cushions that you put on your bed for no real reason. There is now a good reason for them and you may already own one or two, so no need to buy anything! They are generally quite firm so don't lose their shape and you can pop one between your knees and one behind your back. I love my pillow so don't need anything for my neck...did I mention that already?! Spare covers are cheap and they work well as a back support when breast feeding.
Yes it does come with some readjustment when you roll over, but doesn't take up much space in bed. I've never really liked or needed much in the way of bump support, and if anything find it can be the reason I tip onto my back. (I use the word 'tip' like its a form of cow tipping or something...not far from reality in the latter weeks!). This option was recommended to me by my Osteopath who has three children herself.
In reality, your changing shape may require different styles of support as time goes on. A combination of pillows may be the answer. Let's be honest, a solid nights sleep has already emotionally waved goodbye to me not to be seen again for at least 6 months. But looking after your spine, baby and getting the best quality sleep you can, is now the aim of the game.
There are lots of other sleep pillow options out there, but hopefully this little selection has given you an idea of what you may need to look for in the various shapes and makes.
Sleep well preggers people..or as well as you can anyway!