The pregnancy pillow is designed specifically with the pregnant or nursing mother in mind.
The physical changes occurring during pregnancy and particularly in the later stages often makes getting comfortable or sleeping difficult. This is a result of increased muscle strain due to carrying the additional weight, plus hormonal changes that allow movement in the bones of the pelvis.
The bones of the pelvis are normally locked in position by ligaments, but in anticipation of the birthing process, these ligaments become more stretchy from the effects of the hormones, including one called Relaxin, this means the pelvic bones can move from their normally fixed positions and can create postural strain and discomfort as a result.
Pregnancy pillow design can provide additional support to the back and stomach, cushioning between the knees and support to the pelvis, when and where you most need it.
The shape of pregnancy pillows are very much the same as side sleeper pillows, which is a good thing, as sleeping on the left side in particular, for good physiological reasons is recommended by the medical profession during pregnancy.
Sleeping on the left side prevents the liver, a large organ situated on the right side of the body from being compressed by the enlarged uterus. Compression of the liver may affect its ability to function correctly in filtering the blood. Sleeping this way also means the hearts blood vessels are less like to be restricted thus reducing blood flow, which can be the result of sleeping on your back in the later stages of pregnancy.
The “J” shape or hockey stick shape of maternity pillow provides support to the head and shoulders and when hugged can comfortably keep the knees separated to relieve pressure there and in the hips.
The “C” shape design can provide a little extra support front or back and increase stability so that you are more likely to remain on your side.
Some maternity pillow designs also double up as nursing pillows providing support both for the mother and baby.
Pregnancy Pillows Too Big?
If you think that pregnancy pillows look large and might take up to much room in the bed this need not be the case, plus they do come in different designs.
To get support using ordinary pillows it is not uncommon for a woman to use 4 or 5 pillows in the later stages of pregnancy. This number of pillows not only takes up more room than most maternity pillows, but also they tend to need considerable readjustment every time the woman turns over, disturbing both parties in a shared bed.
Body Pillows, do you know what they are? As they are still a relatively new concept to a lot of people who may have heard of them, but who are not exactly sure what they are. Plus many people will not have heard of them at all, so if that’s you, you will not know of their benefits too! Benefits including getting more sleep, pain and discomfort reduction or elimination, allowing better quality sleep.
Most people when they think of pillows will have the image of a rectangular shape pillow or cushion used to support the head and neck, for sleeping in a bed. These will commonly be filled with feathers, duck down, foam or similar synthetic material. Body pillows can have many of the same fillings, but their shape and size is considerably different, they are also a lot more versatile than a conventional pillow.
The best way to understand what body pillows is to see photographs, otherwise think of the old fashioned “bolster pillow”, which was a long more tubular type of pillow the width of a double bed. These were often used more like body pillows especially by children, they could not only be used to support the head, but they were long enough so that they could also be hugged and gripped between the knees a the same time too.
The essential point about body pillows is that they are designed to be used for supporting other parts of the body besides the head and neck. There is no set shape; rather they are designed for specific purposes in a range of shapes to match their purpose. Shapes typically include, “L shape, “U” shape, “C” shape and “S” shape, with various other shapes in between.
hypoallergenic body pillows out there. It is even possible to get hypoallergenic versions of natural fillings such as duck down or feather if you prefer their feel to man made fibers.
Probably the biggest growth area for body pillows has been in the maternity sector. Pregnant women especially in the later stages of pregnancy can have problems getting comfortable during the day and have difficulty sleeping at night. Manufacturers have come out with a range of pregnancy body pillow designs to meet the special needs of a pregnant woman.
Due to the many changes resulting from pregnancy, a women’s body endures a lot of physical stress that can manifest itself as aches and pains and tiredness through lack of sleep. As well as the obvious changes of shape and increased weight caused by a growing baby, hormones soften the connective tissues in the pelvis in readiness for childbirth. All these changes can cause pain or discomfort particularly affecting the hips and lower back.
The pregnancy body pillow also called maternity pillow can be designed to help support the swollen belly and or lower back. Plus placing the pillow between the knees and thighs can help painful hips. The pregnancy pillow is contoured in such a way as to make getting this extra support as easy as possible.
People also suffering from rheumatism and arthritis can similarly benefit from the extra support a body pillow gives the back, hips and shoulders. With some people particularly appreciating the special qualities of memory foam body pillows.
Now to see just what body pillows look like, find more information on body pillow benefits use the links. Also see a selection of the pregnancy pillow designs too.
Around the world “body pillows” have taken various forms and of course different names, some of which have been Westernized. In Japan they have a form of pillow called the Dakimakura, meaning “hugging pillow”, this is a long pillow on which it or its cover is decorated with the image of a young woman in the style of “anime”, this is a style of Japanese cartoon illustration.
The Dakimakura is commonly used by Japanese youths as “security objects” or “comfort objects. These are decorated with with graphic illustrations of female characters of a bishōjo style. Bishōjoor, also spelt bishoujo, means “beautiful young girl”.
The “bolster” pillow in the Western World was usually placed at the top of the bed to support the head and shoulders or back.
In South East Asian countries particularly Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia and Malaysia where it is called the “bantal peluk” or “bantal guling”, and the Philippines where it is referred to as a “hotdog pillow” or more natively “tandayan”, is a pillow for hugging when sleeping..
In China the Mandarin romanized name for such a pillow is “bao zhen” and in Cantonese it is called “lam chim”.
See All Body Pillows
Ever heard of dust mites? Well you share your bed and pillow hundreds of thousands of them! Dust mites are microscopic bugs that live in all our homes, they are not harmful in themselves, do not carry disease and are not parasites, they live only on our dead skin and hair that we shed throughout our homes, no matter how clean we and our homes are.
So why change your pillow if they are everywhere and are not parasites or disease carriers?
3 Reasons: –
1. Dust mites eat dead cells and hair at one and expel their feces at the other, these micro pellets at up to 18 per day per mite, which build up in your pillow contain a protein that can cause an allergic reaction and also can affect people with asthma or breathing difficulties
2. Dust mites die and their remains also build up in your pillow
3. Studies have shown that 10 % of the weight of a 2-year-old pillow can be the remains and feces of dust mites, not a nice thought!
It is thought that even if initially you are not sensitive to the proteins in the feces, long-term exposure may eventually lead to sensitivity like rhinitus, resulting in a blocked or runny nose and increase the risk of developing nasal polyps.
Perhaps we should all think about changing our pillows more often than most of us do!
It is now possible to buy low voltage heated body pillows that convert your 120 Volts supply down to 16 Volts. It might also be a way of cutting down on your energy bills by just heating you up rather than the whole room, maybe ideal for curling up with on the sofa to watch a late night film.
Body pillows are not just for use in the bedroom, they have multiple uses; people often use them in other rooms either on the sofa or on the floor in order to get comfortable when reading or watching television.
Just as with ordinary pillows or cushions it is always best to use covers or pillowcases. Apart from a style issue it is much easier to wash a cover than the pillow itself, although it is usually possible to wash the pillows themselves with some restrictions.
You don’t need to restrict your use of the body pillow to the bedroom; they can be as great aid to getting comfortable on the sofa during the day too. If you are going to bring them into the living area of the home, body pillow cases are available in a range of colors and textiles more suitable for fitting into your décor and so that it doesn’t look out of place outside of the bedroom.