Why Put Pillow Between Legs When Pregnant?

Putting a pillow between your legs during pregnancy can provide several benefits. It helps keep the hips aligned, which can alleviate pain in the pelvic area and lower back. A pillow can also support the stomach, improve circulation in the legs, and reduce the pressure on the uterus, making it easier and more comfortable to sleep.

Understanding the Role of Body Alignment in Pregnancy

As pregnancy progresses, the body undergoes significant changes that can impact comfort and health. One of the crucial changes is the added weight and pressure in the midsection as the baby grows, which can put a strain on the spine and pelvic area. Maintaining proper alignment during sleep can help minimize discomfort.

Improving Spinal Alignment

When you lie on your side, your top leg tends to fall forward, twisting the pelvis and lower back. This can distort the natural alignment of the spine. By placing a pillow between your legs, you can keep your hips stacked and your spine in a neutral position, reducing strain on the sacroiliac (SI) joints and lumbar spine.

Reducing Stress on the Pelvis

As the pregnancy advances, the relaxin hormone loosens ligaments in the pelvic area to prepare the body for childbirth. This increased flexibility, while necessary, can also lead to pelvic pain, known as symphysis pubis dysfunction (SPD). A pillow between the legs can help support the pelvic joints and mitigate some of the discomfort associated with SPD.

The Importance of Sleep Position During Pregnancy

The sleep position becomes increasingly important as the pregnancy continues. Sleep experts and obstetricians recommend the left lateral position (sleeping on the left side) for pregnant women, particularly in the second and third trimesters.

Enhancing Circulation

Sleeping on the left side is believed to improve circulation to the heart, which benefits both the mother and baby by facilitating blood flow and nutrients to the placenta. Adding a pillow between the legs can further assist by aligning the hips and reducing the pressure on blood vessels in the legs and belly.

Optimizing Fetal Positioning

Adopting the left side position can encourage optimal positioning of the baby for birth. It helps the baby move into the best position for delivery, which is head down and facing the mother’s back. This sleep posture, supported with a pillow between the legs, can contribute to a smoother labor and delivery process.

Pregnancy-Related Health Conditions and Sleep

Certain pregnancy-related conditions can benefit from the use of a pillow between the legs during sleep.

Sciatica Relief

Sciatica, a condition characterized by pain along the sciatic nerve path, can be common in pregnancy due to the uterus pressing on the nerve. The cushioning effect of a pillow can help to reduce nerve compression when lying down, providing relief from sciatic pain.

Managing Swelling

Edema, or swelling in the feet and legs, often occurs during pregnancy. Proper leg elevation, which can be achieved by placing a pillow underneath or between the legs, helps to reduce swelling by facilitating the return of blood and fluids back towards the heart.

Choosing the Right Pillow for Support

While it’s clear that using a pillow can provide numerous benefits, selecting the appropriate pillow is just as critical to ensure comfort and support.

Material and Firmness

The material of the pillow should be supportive yet comfortable. Memory foam is a popular choice for its ability to conform to the body’s shape. However, some women might prefer a firmer or more plush filling, such as microbeads or down alternative, to suit their comfort level.

Shape and Size

Pregnancy or body pillows, specially designed to offer comprehensive support, can be an excellent option. These pillows come in various shapes such as C, U, or J, and are designed to support multiple areas of the body simultaneously. For isolated leg support, a regular pillow or a smaller wedge pillow may suffice.

Hygiene and Maintenance

Given that pregnancy can increase body temperature and perspiration at night, choosing a pillow with breathable fabric and a removable, washable cover is advisable to ensure hygiene and ease of maintenance.

Combining Pillows for Additional Support

Some pregnant women may find that a single pillow between the legs is not enough. Additional pillows can be added under the stomach or behind the back for added stability and comfort. This configuration, commonly referred to as the pillow fort, can be especially helpful in the later stages of pregnancy when finding a comfortable position becomes more challenging.

Top 5 Pillows Recommended By GoodSleepHub.com

Collaborative Use with Sleep Partners

For women sharing a bed with a partner, it may be necessary to consider their comfort and sleep needs as well. Communication is important to ensure that both parties have enough space and that the use of pillows does not disrupt the partner’s sleep.

Finishing Thoughts

Incorporating a pillow between the legs during pregnancy can significantly improve sleep quality, reduce discomfort, and contribute to the overall well-being of both mother and baby. It promotes proper alignment, mitigates pain, aids circulation, and helps manage pregnancy-related health issues. Choosing the right pillow is essential to maximize these benefits. With the proper support, pregnant women can enjoy restful nights and prepare for the challenges and joys of motherhood that lie ahead. Remember, each pregnancy is unique; therefore, it’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the best sleep setup for your individual needs.


  • Ashton Roberts

    I love learning and sharing everything about sleep. I am one of the energetic editors here at GoodSleepHub, where I talk about how to get a better night's sleep. When I'm not writing, I'm probably walking my dog Luna or trying out new sleeping gadgets. My goal is to help you sleep easier and better. Join me, and let's find simple ways to enjoy great sleep every night!

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