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Do You Have to Be Pregnant to Need a Body Pillow?

Aug 17, 2007
A body pillow is most certainly a pregnant girl's best friend, especially in the latter months of pregnancy. Don't be misled to think that carrying a small child in your belly is a prerequisite for needing a body pillow. So how do you know if a body pillow is going to benefit you or someone you love?

Body pillows can be of great benefit to you regardless of the sleep position you prefer. Whether you are a back, side or stomach sleeper, body pillows can be used in a variety of ways to help support your spine and give you more comfortable, deeper and thereby more effective sleep.

Back sleepers can use a body pillow under one side to slightly turn their body, many times improving breathing position (and decreasing snoring) and reducing strain on the lower lumbar spine. The lower portion of the body pillow can also be placed under the knees to further reduce strain on the delicate sciatic and pelvic nerves as well as the lumbar nerve roots.

Body pillows are more than teddy bear replacements; they are long pillows which serve to give cushioning and support for the legs, hips and upper back when you lay on your side. A good body pillow keeps the spine in its proper alignment by supporting the shoulders and hips as it holds the arms and legs in a position perpendicular to the axis of the body.

Without a body pillow in place, your arms and legs fall down to the bed while side lying, folding your arms and legs across your body into a position known as adduction. Prolonged adduction of the shoulders and hips will interfere with proper blood flow and nerve function in both the arms and the legs. In several cases this can potentially cause and certainly aggravate carpal tunnel symptoms or numbness, tingling or pain in the hands, arms, legs or feet.

Keeping your arms and legs in their proper position also serves to prevent a number of common problems that interrupt a solid night's sleep, including tossing and turning throughout the night, having to frequently reposition your pillow and leg cramps, all of which will keep you from getting into and staying in deeper sleep stages where the highest quality rest and healing occurs.

Stomach sleepers can use a body pillow to turn them enough to take the strain off from the neck and the upper back that causes stomach sleepers headaches, brachial plexus and carpal tunnel symptoms. By gradually positioning more and more of the body pillow under your torso you can progressively change from a face down position to one of side sleeping without the frustrating adjustment period of sleepless nights typically associated with trying to change sleep habits.

The reason that pregnant women love body pillows is because they can be used to help support the abdomen, relieving tension on the already overworked pelvic and abdominal muscles, tendons and ligaments. They also help to hold the pelvic joints in a natural, relaxed position, working to relieve low back pain commonly reported in the final months before delivery. Since side sleeping is essentially the only position which is healthy for both baby and mommy, getting added support in this position is critical.

A challenge that is commonly faced by body pillow users is managing multiple pillows with a limited amount of bed space. Cognizant of this, some pillow manufacturers have produced specially designed body pillows that eliminate the need for a separate head and neck pillow. This allows you optimal support and functionality without having to kick your spouse out of bed for need of more pillow space.

Added benefits to using a body pillow include being able to use it as a back support cushion while sitting up in bed, or as a wrap-around pillow/backrest/desk for reading, paying bills or doing your homework. Storing your body pillow is easy, as it can be stored across the top of the bed when you aren't using it.

If you want to improve your quality and quantity of sleep, consider the benefits of a body pillow in addition to or in replacement of your current neck pillow. Supporting your body while you sleep pays great rewards in not only allowing you to sleep better, but also in helping you to wake refreshed and energized so that you can perform throughout the day at your peak potential.
About the Author
Dr. Nick Preston is a chiropractor focused on helping families enjoy greater health and founder of Wisdom and Health. If you need wisdom to make better health choices, check out www.wisdomandhealth.com. Improve your family's health with products you're going to love (guaranteed)!
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