Pregnant women often prefer the support a body pillow gives their back, neck, abdomen and hips during the late stages of pregnancy, but body pillows have orthopedic uses as well.

When used correctly, the body pillow cradles the neck and supports the spine while creating a space between the knees that holds the hips in a comfortable position when sleeping on your side.

Place a body pillow between the knees for support.
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Decent body pillows run the length of your body.

Cradle the Body

Cradle the top part of the body pillow beneath your neck and head when sleeping on your right or left side. Allow the pillow to run along your back, sticking the bottom portion of the pillow between your knees and legs.

If you're pregnant, you can also use the pillow in front of you to help support your neck and head, your abdomen and the baby, along with sticking it between your knees to create a comfortable sleeping position.

Other Positions

Depending on the type of body pillow, you can use it to support your back when sitting upright in bed while reading or watching television.

You can bunch up or twist a body pillow to provide elevated upper body support when stuck in a bed during an illness, or place it beneath your legs and knees when you need to elevate them.

Some body pillows are form-fitted for specific purposes -- especially those created for women in the late stages of pregnancy.

Position for Heartburn Sufferers

No one sleeping position is better than another one, as individuals have their own preferences. The position that allows you a comfortable, sound night's sleep without waking up full of body aches is the best one for you. Some people prefer to sleep on their back, their side or their stomach.

Back and stomach sleepers rarely have need of a complete body pillow, but people with heartburn may benefit from a body pillow that elevates the upper part of their body as they sleep on their left sides. Sleeping on the left side -- the side of the heart -- helps digestion and reduces acid reflux in those subject to it.

Pillow Dimensions

A decent body pillow provides support to the entire spine, head and neck, hips and knees during sleeping. Body pillows are made by various companies in multiple dimensions. Pillow sizes range from pillows that are 45 inches long up to 90 inches long to wrap around the body, with multiple sizes in between.

Pillow Types and Shapes

Not all body pillows look like standard pillows. Some resemble the shape of large, thick noodles, while others look just like an oversized pillow. Some look like an overstuffed candy cane. Select the pillow that provides you the best support. Some come filled with down, feathers, hypoallergenic fill or micro beads, based on the type you choose.

For Pregnant Women

A body pillow with a U-shape is matched to support the back and front of a pregnant woman. Pillows formed in a C- or J-shape support the spine, neck, head, knees and legs of pregnant women. Select the pillow that provides you the best support. Some come filled with down, feathers, hypoallergenic fill or micro beads, based on the type you choose.