A body pillow is a long pillow that you can rest your body alongside, to snuggle up to or just sleep on. At their smallest, they are four feet long; I'd estimate the average one to range from five to six feet in length. The 'normal' form is essentially a 'stretch pillow' - width and thickness are the same as an ordinary pillow, but it's longer. In catalogs they are depicted almost without fail with a woman asleep on her side facing the pillow, arm and leg on the pillow, with a faint smile on her face.

Of course, there are other variants. The fish pillow version I mentioned would be one. One variant I haven't seen anywhere but in a airplane catalog was one that was long enough to wrapped around, so that the user was surrounded on all sides, with a headrest as well. That variant would be ideal for nesting.

My wife was a fan of them before we were able to live together -- according to her it's fairly close to having a body next to you while you're sleeping, and it won't steal the blankets (though it won't be warm either). They can be nice when you're trying to arrange your blankets and pillows to get that perfect 'nest' effect to sleep in.

Although a body pillow does not contain a heat source within it, it will keep you warmer than if you slept without it. For example, if you slept with your back against the body pillow, you need not worry about having to get the covers tucked in behind you - the pillow will serve the same purpose.

A body pillow is the PERFECT gift for a pregnant woman. As pregnancy progresses, sleeping becomes difficult, and often the only way to get any rest is to tuck pillows around our swollen bodies. I had to have a pillow between my legs, one behind me, one to hug, and often one under my ankles. This is partly due to the fact that sleeping positions are limited. Obviously sleeping on the stomach is out, and sleeping on the back is uncomfortable as well. Also, as a woman approaches her due date, her ligaments in her body begin to loosen, and more support is needed. Add an increased tendency to have heartburn and a vastly diminished bladder capacity, and you have a woman who welcomes all the help she can get in getting sleep. Trust me on this one, and go buy a body pillow for that expecting mama. Sleep deprivation is not a pretty thing.

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