Pregnancy cushion: how to choose and use it?

Coussin de grossesse : comment le choisir et l’utiliser ?

The pregnancy pillow, also known as the nursing pillow or maternity pillow, is an indispensable childcare item. It accompanies the mother-to-be throughout her pregnancy, as well as afterdelivery. This evolving accessory provides comfort and support for the pregnant woman and her baby. But how do you choose the right pregnancy pillow? And what are its main uses? Here's what we have to say.

What is a maternity cushion?

A maternity cushion is a versatile object designed to improve the positioning of pregnant women during pregnancy and post-partum. It supports the weight of the belly, reduces muscular pain, promotes venous return and relieves back pain.

After baby's birth, it becomes a precious companion during feedings. Whether you're breastfeeding or bottle-feeding, the pregnancy pillow will support your baby's weight while positioning him or her at the right height. Mom, dad and newborn will be comfortably seated and can fully enjoy the moment.

Maternity pillows come in different shapes and sizes:

  • C-shaped (compact and small; non-adjustable);
  • U- or V-shaped (long, large and versatile; flexible and usable during pregnancy and after delivery);
  • Banana" or "crescent moon " (long and tapered at the ends; stable support with little deformability).

How do I use a pregnancy or nursing pillow?

A pregnancy or nursing pillow is a multifunctional childcare accessory. It can be used to improve sleep during pregnancy, to comfortably feed your newborn after delivery, or as a baby bouncer.

Better sleep during pregnancy

Around the6th and 7thmonths ofpregnancy, the mother-to-be starts to show off a belly that will only increase in size and weight. Finding a comfortable sleeping position is often difficult. Pregnant women need to rest in order to prepare for childbirth.

Sleeping with a pregnancy pillow is a solution worth considering. By using this object properly, you'll be able to settle more easily into your bed or sofa and finally adopt a comfortable posture. A maternity pillow is ideal for cradling your belly, straightening your pelvis and elevating your legs to promote venous return during the night. You can refer to a pregnancy calendar to find out when you'll need the cushion.

Breastfeeding your baby after delivery

After baby's arrival, the pregnancy pillow can be used as a breastfeeding support. It will help the young mother support her baby's weight as he sucks at the breast. This childcare accessory helps prevent muscular tension in the neck, shoulders and arms.

If you've had a Caesarean section, the pregnancy pillow is also very practical for breast-feeding your newborn without pressing on your scar. Have you given birth to twins? You can use this nursing bolster to feed themat the same time!

Using the cushion for your baby

The maternity cushion can also be used to put baby down safely. Some models can be converted into bouncers by adding a compatible cover. From the age of three months, your baby can relax in the cushion while keeping his or her head elevated. This position facilitates digestion and reduces regurgitation after feeding.

Pregnancy pillows are also very practical when it comes to delimiting your child's play area on the floor, or supporting him when changing on the changing table.

How to choose the best pregnancy pillow?

There are many maternity cushions available on the market. To choose the maternity cushion best suited to your comfort and uses, here are the criteria we recommend you take into account.

Choosing the best shape

As we've seen, there are several types of maternity cushion: C-, U- or V-shaped, "banana" or "crescent moon". To choose the best shape for you, think about your needs.

Do you want to use your maternity pillow only during pregnancy or at home? Choose a large, soft U-shaped model for optimum comfort. Or do you need a portable accessory that you can easily carry with you when feeding your baby? Choose a more compact, curved C-shaped nursing pillow.

Test the padding

If you get the chance, remember to test the cushion's filling. It needs to remain firm and malleable so that you can give it the shape you want. Check that your future pregnancy pillow is sufficiently filled with microbeads to ensure that it's comfortable and soft.

Also, beware of cushions that are too rigid, as they may exert considerable pressure on your belly. And if you're a light sleeper, make sure the padding doesn't make too much noise, so you don't wake up at the slightest movement.

Select skin-friendly materials

Pregnancy pillows are made from a variety of materials. The filling is generally made of microbeads from polystyrene, ecographite, foam, cereals (spelt, corn) or cork. The cover is made of polyester, corduroy or cotton.

Of course, we recommend that you choose a maternity cushion made from natural and organic materials, which are much more respectful of the skin of both mother-to-be and baby. And make sure it carries a label, even if label-certified nursing cushions are more expensive. The OEKO-TEX certification®, for example, guarantees that the textiles used are free from products harmful to health.

Opt for an easy-care model

Your nursing cushion must also be easy to clean. After all, it's bound to be stained by milk during feedings. So opt for a model with a removable, machine-washable cover. And make sure it's made from a material that can withstand a temperature of at least 60 degrees. This will destroy any bacteria and ensure impeccable hygiene.

Our tips for positioning yourself in a maternity pillow!

Using a maternity pillow correctly isn't always easy, especially when you're pregnant with your first child. There are many different ways to sit and lie comfortably during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Here's a selection of the best positions to adopt with a pregnancy pillow.

Recommended positions during pregnancy

The maternity pillow is theideal accessory for expectant mothers wishing to sleep on their side. To avoid compression of the vena cava and promote circulation, lie on your left side. Then slide one end of the U-shaped cushion under your belly and place it between your legs. This "gun-dog" posture will support your belly and upper knee.

If you suffer from gastro-oesophageal reflux disease (GERD), settle into a semi-seated position and elevate your back by placing your cushion under your shoulders. Your neck will be supported on the curved part and your arms will rest on both ends.

To reduce the sensation of heavy legs caused by water retention, you can also use a pregnancy cushion. Simply position it under your thighs to activate venous return and relieve your discomfort.

The best positions for breastfeeding

After giving birth, this versatile maternity pillow will become an essential accessory for your breastfeeding. It allows you to rest your arms and neck while feeding.

The most common position is that of the Madonna. Sit comfortably and place the cushion on your legs. Then hold your baby horizontally in your arms (his head should be in the crook of your elbow). Finally, place your baby on the cushion so that his face faces your breast.

To breastfeed in the "rugby ball" position, you'll need a maternity pillow. If it's U-shaped, position it around your waist. Then place baby on the left or right end of the cushion. His legs should be under one of your arms and his head level with your chest.

Pregnancy pillow FAQ

Why use a cushion between the legs during pregnancy?

Placing a maternity pillow between your legs during pregnancy helps to support your belly and reduce pressure on your back, hips and knees when lying down.

When should I start sleeping with a maternity pillow?

You can start sleeping with a pregnancy pillow from the 6th or 7th month. As soon as the weight and size of your belly prevent you from finding a comfortable sleeping position, consider using this type of cushion to help you settle in.

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The information contained in the articles on is general information only. Although reviewed by health professionals, this information is not error-free, does not constitute health advice or consultation, and is not intended to provide a diagnosis or suggest a course of treatment. Under no circumstances may this information be used as a substitute for medical advice or consultation with a healthcare professional. If you have any questions, please consult your doctor.