- Women's Health
Why I Love My Pregnancy Pillow & How I Made Mine!
Pregnancy Pillows are AMAZING!
I was in a big budget crunch in the beginning of my pregnancy and I was sleeping like crap. Everyone preaches to sleep on your side to avoid closing off your vena cava - but for a natural back sleeper or belly sleeper like me I am seriously not inclined to like laying on my hips or with my knees together because, well, it hurts after a few days. Plus, you are supposed to sleep on your left side to really help but it puts stress on my right knee - and with an old ligament issue there, even after reconstruction, I needed something.
The solution! Buy a pregnancy pillow! But that's not easily done just on a budget. And we were really in a crunch.
Below is how I first made my first version of my pregnancy pillow for FREE by recycling old material and old decorative pillows.
I made Version 2.0 when I had so extra cash and wanted nice fabric. That only came out to approx. a $35 pregnancy pillow...
Regardless of how you go about this, you're gonna want one for your pregnancy. Look online for patterns, read this on how I did it for some helpful info, or buy some of the items suggested that are just like my pillow (or better)!.
I have been asked, are pregnancy pillows worth their cost? If you don't have time to DIY it, then YES they are. Labor included, these pillows do take time to make if you are a beginner or even an advanced sewer. If you lack the skills or equipment to make one, but have the finances to buy one, GO FOR IT! The price of fabric and fill plus labor makes their cost very reasonable, in my opinion.
What Do Pregnancy Pillows Really Do?
The real question on any investment!
1. They have helped me with temperature control! Odd as it sounds, what I have noticed is that I can use the pregnancy pillow and don't need blankets - or not as many. This keeps me cool at night and yet warm, not chilled. This kind of cozy is divine for pregnant women who are often too hot under the covers after awhile but need something to keep adequate heat together. The pillow does it for me!
2. Relieves pressure on neck and shoulders. I use a few extra pillows to prop mine up too. But the first few weeks it was awful because my head wasn't high enough, creating neck strain that was really quite unnecessary. Pregnancy pillow plus my normal pillows because I like to be propped up a bit, has solved that easily.
3. These pillows provide enough firmness so you can sleep without losing feeling. No more NUMBness or Pins & Needless because you cut blood flow off to your arm! I really hate waking up wondering if my hand really did just fall off. The ability to not crimp nerves has been helpful since now I don't have to sleep with my arm under my pillow to prop it up so my head isn't craning too far over. That's what these pillows are designed to help with after all! Plus, being a side sleeper you need that extra firmness and support.
4. They take the pressure off your knees which in turn also relieves your hips by giving them some support. This makes waking up in the morning 1000x more pleasurable while pregnant too because you aren't creaking like crazy.
5. Helps blood flow evenly while I sleep so any residual edema (swelling) in my feet returns to normal if I use the pillow. Also, it makes elevating the feet easier too if I have to use it I just coil it up, set it on the couch, and voila! I have an instant feet elevator!
5. They are just comfortable... Heh. This you don't need to be pregnant to appreciate so if your husband or significant other wants one, I say go out and grab them one too. Or, do like I did, make one for them! These are just like full body pillows, only better, and they make it an extra nice experience to sleep. For me even when my fiancé isn't here, the pillow is just a nice, snug feel to it and I appreciate that too as it makes sleeping easier in itself!
Pregnancy Pillow Recommendations - For those who want an amazing sleep experience with a Pregnancy Pillow!
Pregnancy Pillows out there are pretty reasonably priced if you include labor, material and expensive polyfil for the large ones. If you aren't DIY inclined in this instant, which I can totally understand, here are a few options that I'd recommend right off the bat below.
This is one really like I made - although it also comes with a cover which is a nice addition.
These are great contour pillows I have been told; there is a lot of fabric and fill here - so mind your bed size!!! I would have gotten one but, well, our full size bed is small with just two of us, my belly AND my pregnancy pillow
Same issue with the above one, still a bit big if you have a small bed but totally amazing otherwise.
Start with a Pattern - Find Your Pattern
If you want to do the DIY version, like I did, it is an extremely budget friendly idea. Good sewers will have no problem hand cutting this thing out of fabric; for the newbie like me I wanted a pattern and a very specific one in mind.
I purchased mine at Mamma Can Do It.com - but I was recently informed that pattern is going to be discontinued until further modifications are found so get it while you can!
Or search for a pattern you like. When you're done, come back and compare notes!
Constructing Comfort - Pillow Style...
Once you have a pattern you like, pin the pattern down and then cut it.
You'll need to do that twice to get both sides of the pillow!
***NOTE: I made 2 pillows, I loved them so much. So you'll see the different fabric in these shots!
Two Mirrored Pieces
Once you have your two pieces out of the fabric you have, pin them together...
REMINDER: You want your outside fabric, the side you like, to face inside! The entire project takes form inside out. We will right it just before filling!
Sew Away! - Slowly
1. If you want to add a zipper do it BEFORE you sew the fabric together! CLICK HERE for a Youtube tutorial on adding a zipper to a standard pillowcase -- which will be the same method you use even in this pillow type. Zippers make stuffing a lot easier and allows you to adjust your fill later. I highly recommend them!
2. If you don't want to use a Zipper REMEMBER to highlight your start and stop points leaving enough room for a big fist full of Poly-fill to get shoved in repeatedly! Nothing would be worse than creating a giant, empty pillow sock and having to use the seam ripper to open it back up because of a silly mistake (not that I've ever made such a foolish flub before...).
3. Make sure to catch your thread in the beginning and go in reverse when you are done to bind the thread.
4. Good side to good side because you want that nice seam later when you turn it right side out!
If you're a beginner sewer like me this is an unbelievably easy project. It just takes time because these patterns are BIG, encompassing nearly 2 yards of fabric and you have to run this amazing rat-race around the edges of this pattern.
I set my sewing machine speed on low and just very meticulously went around the edges for my first pillow. The second went INSANELY fast because I was way more confident in my control.
For those curious, I am running a Janome 7330 Magnolia and it is an AMAZING sewing machine that was purchased by lots of ladies who are WAY more advanced in sewing than me. It is extremely quiet; even compared to my mother's $1000+ Husquevarna Viking sewing machine!
The picture here shows the first pillow being sewn. It was made out of extra old fabric (approx 4 yards) and two gutted décor pillows. It cost me nothing since both items were junked things I retrieved from the throw away pile at my mother's house.
If you need to do this on a budget it is TOTALLY possible. Old bed-sheets are a REALLY good idea to use!
Turn the Pillow!
This is a seemingly simple step because you leave a gap in the sewing area so you can turn the pillow inside out. Doing this provides the following seem to look neat and clean.
Pillow Sock - Right Side Out!
This is a view of the giant pillow sock, essentially, once almost all put together! (Again, this was my first pillow!)
Stuff that Pillow! - While Cannibalizing Others
It takes about 5lbs of polyfil to get these pillows to the point they are really comfy. Firmness will need to be to your liking but really pack it in tight using fist-full/softball size handfuls and beat the crap out of it occasionally.
It is a LONG process if you leave a small hole like I did.
Final Project - First Pillow!
This was the final pillow. I forgot to showcase my awful hand stitching used to close the pillow. But it slept great.
Then I wanted to create another one; but since I saved so much money I ran to Joann Fabric's with $35 and splurged on nice fabric for that one...
Final Second Pillow! - Version 2.0 is Prettier!
This is my current pillow and the absolute most gorgeous thing I have ever slept on besides my significant other...
Although I am sure my fiancé is jealous he does have the option of using my Version 1.0.
Total Cost: $35-$40! In fabric and fill, and If you consider that my own labor, on my behalf, is free. Heh.
Hand Seam To Close Pillow - Verson 2.0
This is just to show the hand seam when closed can be very neat using a back stitch. To learn how to backstitch click HERE.