Title:
Maternity support pillow
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
This present invention is directed to a maternity support pillow for supporting a pregnant woman or user having an enlarged abdomen so as to allow her to rest on her stomach in a prone position. The pillow includes a support cushion having a first portion and a second portion, wherein the first portion has a hole for the placement and support of an enlarged abdomen.



Inventors:
Battaglia, Melissa (Upper Saddle River, NJ, US)
Application Number:
11/975106
Publication Date:
04/23/2009
Filing Date:
10/17/2007
Assignee:
Frizzy Bean Holdings, LLC (Upper Saddle River, NJ, US)
Primary Class:
International Classes:
A47C20/00
View Patent Images:
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20090193579Piece of furnitureAugust, 2009Kok
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20070226904Exercise Mats and SystemsOctober, 2007Huffman
20060026756Equipping baby crib with snack box for overnight storageFebruary, 2006Kavounas



Primary Examiner:
CUOMO, PETER M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FLASTER/GREENBERG P.C. (Philadelphia, PA, US)
Claims:
I claim:

1. A support pillow for supporting an enlarged abdomen, comprising a cushion having a top surface, a bottom surface, a side surface extending between the top surface and the bottom surface, wherein the cushion has a first portion and a second portion, each of the first portion and the second portion having a distal section and a proximal section, wherein the first portion and the second portion meet to define a midline at an outer periphery of the proximal section of the first portion and an outer periphery of the proximal section of the second portion, the first portion defining a hole for receiving an enlarged abdomen, the second portion having a convex periphery extending from the midline and configured for receiving extended arms of a user, wherein the midline and the proximal section of the second portion of the cushion are configured to provide alignment and support of shoulders of a user.

2. The pillow according to claim 1, wherein an angle, defined by the midline and an extending portion of the convex periphery of the second portion, is about 125° to about 145°.

3. The pillow according to claim 2, wherein the first portion and second portion are symmetrical having a generally FIG. 8 cross-sectional configuration.

4. The pillow according to claim 1, wherein the top surface is generally planar.

5. The pillow according to claim 1, wherein the cushion is unitary.

6. The pillow according to claim 1, wherein the cushion is foldable.

7. The pillow according to claim 6, wherein at least one of the distal section of the first portion and the distal section of the second portion is foldable.

8. The pillow according to claim 1, wherein a largest width of the first portion and the second portion is about 23 in (58.4 cm.) to about 25 in (63.5 cm), wherein a height of the first portion and the second portion is about 16 in. (40.6 cm) to about 20 in (50.8 cm), and wherein the cushion has a depth of about 8 in (20.3 cm).

9. The pillow according to claim 8, wherein a width of the midline of the cushion is about 12 in (30.5 cm) to about 14 in. (35.6 cm).

10. The pillow according to claim 9, wherein the hole in the first portion is generally circular in cross section and has a diameter of about 10 in (25.4 cm), wherein an edge of the hole is curved to accommodate the shape of an enlarged abdomen and the hole is substantially centrally located on the first portion.

11. The pillow according to claim 1, wherein the cushion comprises a material that contours to the body upon application of body weight.

12. The pillow according to claim 11, wherein the material is resilient.

13. The pillow according to claim 11, wherein the material has anti-microbial properties.

14. The pillow according to claim 11, wherein the material is a polymeric foam.

15. The pillow according to claim 1, wherein the pillow comprises a removable cover configured in the shape of the cushion.

16. The pillow according to claim 15, wherein the cover comprises at least one pocket positioned on the side surface of the second portion.

17. The pillow according to claim 15, wherein the cover forms a cradle section within the hole in the first portion.

18. The pillow according to claim 1, further comprising at least one of heating device, a handle and/or an opening or pocket for receiving a device.

19. A maternity support pillow for supporting an enlarged abdomen, comprising a support cushion having a top surface, a bottom surface and a side surface extending between the top surface and the bottom surface, wherein the cushion has at least a first portion and a second portion, the first portion and the second portion each having a distal section and a proximal section, the proximal sections of the first and the second portions each having an outer periphery, and the first portion and the second portion are detachably lockable and meet along their outer peripheries to define a midline, wherein the first portion defines a hole for receiving an abdomen, the second portion has a convex periphery extending from the midline and configured for receiving extended arms of a user, wherein the midline and the proximal section of the second portion are configured to provide alignment and support of the shoulders of a user.

20. The pillow according to claim 19, wherein the pillow comprises an extension section detachable from the proximal sections of the first portion and the second portion and located therebetween.

Description:

BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION

1. Field of the Invention

The present invention relates to a support pillow to be used by a pregnant woman. More particularly, the present invention is a pillow designed to support a pregnant woman having a specific area for her abdomen. The shape of the pillow accommodates the natural position of the extremities of a pregnant woman resting in the prone position.

2. Description of Related Art

Achieving a comfortable resting position during pregnancy, especially in the later months wherein the abdomen of the pregnant female can be significantly expanded, is difficult to achieve. Changes in the configuration of the body of the pregnant woman cause stress and discomfort which increases as the pregnancy proceeds. This stress and discomfort can result in loss of sleep and general relaxation that is very important to the expectant mother and her baby. To address this situation, many positioning devices and support systems have been created to help an expectant mother find a comfortable position so as to attain the rest she needs for herself and her unborn baby.

U.S. Pat. No. 4,489,452 to Lickert is a two-piece support system configured as a mattress in a cloth casing. This system is basically two tubes filled with water, one of which has a hole for placement of a pregnant woman's abdomen. The system is connected by a variety of hooks and Velcro strips. As can be seen in FIG. 3 of Lickert, parts of the body contact the solid surface shown. Moreover, Lickert advocates various positioned indentations and contours in the mattress having an “adjustable” size approach.

U.S. Pat. No. 5,647,076 to Gearheart includes a sliding arrangement wherein a U-shaped pillow for the abdomen has a movable central portion.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,408,470 to Powers shows a complex mattress made of multiple components wherein a recess formed therein accommodates a woman's expanding abdomen as pregnancy progresses via an electrical motor. The size of the recess can be adjusted to that of the expanding abdomen based on the sliding component, which is attached to the motor. The recess can be filled with additional pads to further secure the expanding abdomen.

U.S. Pat. No. 6,790,934 to Leach is a symmetrical pillow, which is designed for a pregnant woman to rest on her side.

While there are several support pillows in the art, there is a need for a support pillow which is economical, easy to use and care for, and which takes a more whole body approach to support while accommodating an abdomen.

BRIEF SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION

The invention includes a support pillow for supporting an enlarged abdomen, comprising a cushion having a top surface, a bottom surface, a side surface extending between the top surface and the bottom surface, wherein the cushion has a first portion and a second portion, each of the first portion and the second portion having a distal section and a proximal section, wherein the first portion and the second portion meet to define a midline at an outer periphery of the proximal section of the first portion and an outer periphery of the proximal section of the second portion, the first portion defining a hole for receiving an enlarged abdomen, the second portion having a convex periphery extending from the midline and configured for receiving extended arms of a user, wherein the midline and the proximal section of the second portion of the cushion are configured to provide alignment and support of shoulders of a user.

In a further embodiment, the cushion may be unitary and/or foldable. The pillow may also include a cushion, which comprises a material that contours to the body upon application of body weight, is resilient, has anti-microbial properties and/or includes a polymeric foam. It is also within the invention to optionally include a removable cover configured in the shape of the cushion, which cover may include various optional features such as at least one pocket positioned on the side surface of the second portion, at least one of heating device, a handle and/or an opening or pocket for receiving a device.

In another embodiment, the invention includes a maternity support pillow for supporting an enlarged abdomen, comprising a support cushion having a top surface, a bottom surface and a side surface extending between the top surface and the bottom surface, wherein the cushion has at least a first portion and a second portion, the first portion and the second portion each having a distal section and a proximal section, the proximal sections of the first and the second portions each having an outer periphery, and the first portion and the second portion are detachably lockable and meet along their outer peripheries to define a midline, wherein the first portion defines a hole for receiving an abdomen, the second portion has a convex periphery extending from the midline and configured for receiving extended arms of a user, wherein the midline and the proximal section of the second portion are configured to provide alignment and support of the shoulders of a user.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE SEVERAL VIEWS OF THE DRAWING(S)

The foregoing summary, as well as the following detailed description of preferred embodiments of the invention, will be better understood when read in conjunction with the appended drawings. For the purpose of illustrating the invention, there is shown in the drawings embodiments that are presently preferred. It should be understood, however, that the invention is not limited to the precise arrangements and instrumentalities shown. In the drawings:

FIG. 1 is a plan view of the maternity support pillow according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 2 is a perspective view of a maternity support pillow according to an embodiment of the present invention;

FIG. 3 is a cross sectional view of the maternity support pillow of FIG. 1, taken along Line A-A;

FIG. 4 is a perspective view of the pillow of FIG. 8 illustrating the position of a pregnant woman resting on the cushion of the maternity support pillow;

FIG. 5 is a side elevational view of the cushion of a pillow illustrating folded sections according to a further embodiment therein;

FIG. 6 is a perspective view of a pillow of the present invention encased within a cover according to an alternative embodiment herein;

FIG. 7 is a perspective side view of a detachable, two-portion embodiment; and

FIG. 8 is a top plan view of a further three-portion embodiment.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTION

As used herein, certain words, such as “upper” and “lower,” “top” and “bottom,” “proximal” and “distal” and words of similar import are used herein with reference to directions in the Figures. “Proximal” and “distal” are used to mean directions towards and away from the center of the pillow respectively. The words used herein should not be considered limiting.

In a preferred embodiment, illustrated in FIGS. 1-4, the present invention is directed to a maternity support pillow, generally indicated as 10 for supporting a pregnant woman to allow her to rest on her stomach in a prone position. However, other persons who may require relief of pressure in the abdominal area would also find the pillow useful.

The pillow 10 includes a cushion 12 having top surface 14, a bottom surface 16 and a side surface 18. The pillow also has two general “sections” referred to herein as a first portion 20 and a second portion 22. In the preferred embodiment, the cushion 12 has a generally planar top surface 14, a generally planar bottom surface 16 and a side surface 18, which defines the depth of the cushion 12 wherein the depth is measured transversely across the side surface 18 from the top surface 14 to the bottom surface 16. The first portion 20 includes a distal 24 and proximal section 26, and the second portion 22 includes a distal 28 and proximal section 30. The meeting of the first portion 20 and the second portion 22 defines a midline 32 at the outer periphery 34 of the proximal section 26 of the first portion 20 and the outer periphery 36 of the proximal section 30 of the second portion 22.

The first portion 20 defines a hole 38 for placement and support of an abdomen. In a defined spatial relationship thereto, the second portion 22 has a convex periphery 40 initiating from the midline 32 at the meeting of the proximal sections 26, 30 of the first portion 20 and the second portion 22, wherein the convex periphery 40 is configured to receive or accommodate the extended arms of a pregnant woman. The angle α of the convex periphery 40 of the second portion 22 is about 125° to about 145°, initiating at the midline 32 of the cushion 12.

It is understood by one skilled in the art, that a spatial relationship of the hole 38, midline 32 and convex periphery 40, must be appreciated in conjunction with body parts of a pregnant woman, specifically, the abdomen and shoulders. The spatial relationship of the elbow to be roughly aligned with midline 32 results in a natural and comfortable position or a “hugging” effect of the pillow 10, to thereby invoke a feeling of security and ergo dynamic sleeping comfort, as best illustrated in FIG. 4. The symmetrical “figure 8” shape of the cushion 12 of the preferred embodiment is designed to simulate and encourage the natural positioning of a pregnant woman while supporting her enlarged abdomen during the later months of pregnancy.

As best illustrated in FIG. 2, an exemplary, but in no way limiting, appreciation of the spatial relationship is recognized in the following dimensions for the preferred embodiment wherein the first portion 20 and second portion 22 are symmetrical in a “figure 8” design. The largest width (W1) of the first portion 20 and the second portion 22 is about 23 in. (58.4 cm.) to about 25 in. (63.5 cm.), wherein the height (H1) of the first portion 20 and of the second portion 22 is about 16 in. (40.6 cm.) to about 20 in. (50.8 cm.), measured perpendicularly to the largest width and longitudinally along either the top or bottom portion along the upper surface of the pillow. The width (W2) of the midline 32 of the cushion 12 is preferably about 12 in. (30.5 cm.) to about 14 in. (35.6 cm.) and the depth (D1) of the cushion 12 is preferably about 8 in. (20.3 cm.) at all locations along the side 18. It is understood that these dimensions and proportions are designed for an average size female. However, it is recognized that it is within the scope of the invention to adjust the dimension for taller than average or shorter than average females. Further, a female who is of larger weight or body size may require additional depth or additional width, while a narrower width female or smaller body size may require less depth of material and a narrower width. Recognizing these differences in body types, each dimension of the cushion can be modified as necessary in manufacturing to suit females of various sizes.

The midline 32 has a width W2 measured transversally across the top surface 14 of the cushion 12, wherein the width of the midline 32 preferably aligns the placement of the shoulders of the pregnant woman supported by the proximal section 30 of the second portion 22. As best illustrated in FIGS. 1 and 4, the proximal sections 26, 30 of the first portion 20 and the second portion 22, each extend longitudinally about 10 in. (25.4 cm.) from the midline 32 toward either of the distal portions 24, 28 of the first and second portions 20, 22 respectively. The width of the proximal portions 26, 30 are roughly equal to the width of the midline 32.

The cushion 12 of the pillow 10 is preferably unitary to allow support of the entire head, torso and pelvic area of the pregnant female without separating, which could cause a need for continued repositioning or readjustment of multiple sections or pillows. Moreover, the unitary, one-piece design allows for additional support and integrity of the cushion 12 while supporting a pregnant woman.

As best illustrated in FIGS. 1-3, the hole 38 in the first portion 20 is generally circular in cross-sectional plan view having a diameter of about 10 in. (25.4 cm.) to about 12 in. (30.5 cm.). The edge 42 of the hole 38 on the top surface 14, is curved to the shape of an enlarged abdomen for snug contact and support. This support eliminates “daggling” of the abdomen while within the hole 38. The hole 38 is centrally located on the first portion 20 allowing the spatial relationship alignment of the elbows and shoulders of pregnant female, as discussed herein. Further, it is within the scope of the invention that the hole 38 does not completely traverse the depth of the cushion 12. This configuration of the hole 38, will improve structural integrity of the cushion and increase support of the expectant mother's abdomen. However, the depth of the hole 38, as measured from the top surface 14 should still preferably be large enough to accommodate an enlarged abdomen throughout the term of the pregnancy.

The cushion 12 should be made of material that is able to contour to the body upon application of body weight. Specifically, the cushion is preferably made of a resilient material, e.g. polymeric foam, which gives the necessary support but allows the adjustment of size for the expanding abdomen. The planar top surface 14 and the resilient material of the cushion 12 produce a contoured fit to the specific size of each body section, e.g., breast, hips and head, of the pregnant woman when resting on the pillow 10. Further, it is recognized that a material that has anti-microbial properties is very beneficial to reduce the possibility of the spread of germs that may affect the health of an expectant mother. It should be understood that the cushion material discussed herein is in no way limiting and any material which gives the necessary support would be within the spirit of the invention. As discussed, a further consideration in the choice of material may be based on body weight or a preference for a firmer or softer cushion, much like a preference for a mattress.

The cushion 12 and pillow 10 described and shown herein have portions 20, 22 which are generally polygonal in cross-section having slightly rounded sides, however, it should be understood herein that such configuration is provided for ease of illustration only and that it is within the scope of the invention to alter the outer peripheral cross-sectional configuration for other preferred embodiments in which the cross-section of the portions 20, 22 when viewed in top plan view are generally circular, generally oval, generally elliptical or generally pear-shaped. Other variations may be provided as well, with the understanding that it is preferred that the section 22 be configured so as to provide support for the upper torso and shoulders while allowing for comfortable placement of the user's extending arms and, preferably, for providing the hugging or comfort/security position shown for the user. It should be further understood that varied configurations for the portion 20 may also be within the scope of the invention provided that the hole is situated so as to support the abdomen, and so that the user's legs are comfortably supported and positioned as they extend from the cushion. Finally, it is within the scope of the invention that the portions 20, 22 are formed so that they do not have the same cross-sectional shape and/or have varying and/or inclined depth along the cushion to provide for alternative design configurations.

For the comfort and convenience of the user, the cushion can incorporate a variety of devices. For example, a heating device could be included for the additional comfort of an expectant mother. The heating element could be positioned, for example, within one or more of the distal sections 24, 28 of the first 20 or second portion 22. As the material of the cushion 12 would be resilient for comfort, it would allow the heat to travel through the entire cushion. Adjustable heating elements, as would be required, may be those used, for example, in electric blankets, warming throws and the like and are well known in the art such that additional discussion is not necessary herein. Other devices would include, but are not limited to, music devices, alarm clocks, vibrating and/or massaging devices, PDA's and MP3 players, each of which could be incorporated into the cushion or into a pocket thereof.

Additional embodiments of the present invention will now be discussed. Like numbers are used to indicate similar features.

In another embodiment, it is recognized that storage and/or portability of the pillow 110, while not in use, would be an important issue. Appreciating both the need for support, as exemplified in a unitary construction, but also storage concerns, the distal sections 124, 128 of the first portion 120 and second portion 122 can be foldable, so as to reduce the length of the pillow without reducing the amount of support or integrity of the pillow 110, as best illustrated in FIG. 5. Furthermore, it is recognized that a folding point at the midline 132 is within the scope of the invention, however, due to the placement of body weight, it is preferred that folding joints be placed at other locations for the best structural integrity of the pillow, especially with use and wear.

In another embodiment, a cover 244 can encase the cushion 212 (shown encased) for additional comfort and sanitary reasons. Referring to FIG. 6, the cover 244 is configured in the shape of the cushion 212 eliminating extreme excess of the cover material and “bunching”. However, the cover 244 should not be too taunt so that the cover 244 itself may act as additional support for the abdomen within the hole 238 (shown encased) of the cushion 212. In the later months of pregnancy, a cradle section 246 will support the expanding abdomen as it extends through the hole 238. Further, this “loose” fit eliminates difficulty in removing the cover 244 from the cushion 212 for washing. The material for the cover can be any material that is washable and durable to reduce wear based on continued contact of the pregnant woman and the cushion 212 and may come in a variety of designs and fabrics.

The cover 244 may also include pockets 248 positioned on the side surface 218 (shown encased) on the second portion 222, for the placement of the arms of the pregnant female while resting on the pillow 210. Benefits of these pockets 248 include a) further supporting the feeling of security while “hugging” the pillow 210, b) supporting the arms of the pregnant female while in the extended position, and c) warming the hands of the pregnant female. They may also serve as storage areas.

It is within the scope of the invention for the cover 244 to include a design or monogram. Any design pattern or material is acceptable but preferably is selected so that the cover 244 is removable.

Referring to FIG. 7, the invention includes another embodiment wherein the first portion 320 and the second portion 322 are detachable and have a variety of configurations, including the symmetrical “figure 8” design of the preferred embodiment. However, though it is within the scope of the invention that the configurations may be modified or separated, the spatial relationship as discussed herein, must be maintained when in use. The attachment means can be any suitable device, which would be convenient and cost effective. In FIG. 7, the attachment means is a series of extending snaps 360 on a belt 370 on the first portion 320 which would have a complementary series of receiving snaps 360A on a complementary belt 370A on the second portion 322. This fastening arrangement is in no way limited and other devices and means for attachment would be with the knowledge of one skilled in the art such as Velcro®, locking screws, snap fit bolts and the like.

In another embodiment, best illustrated in FIG. 8, the pillow includes an extension portion 450 that is detachable from the outer peripheries 434, 436 of the proximal sections 426, 430 of the first portion 420 and the second portion 422. This allows greater accommodation of the body of a pregnant woman and also allows ease in travel and storage. As illustrated in FIG. 8, the outer peripheries 434, 436 do not need to be aligned or have the same width. Further, as in this embodiment, it is within the scope of the present invention that the proximal sections 426, 430 do not need to have a defined measurement, nor do the need to be equivalent. However, each proximal portion 426, 430 must support the body of a pregnant woman and maintain the spatial relationship as discussed herein.

The first portion 420, second portion 422 and extension portion 450 can be of different shapes and can be made of different materials. The materials would be the same as discussed in the preferred embodiment, however, it is within the scope of the invention to have each portion made of different material for the specific requirements of pregnant woman. For example, the second portion 422, which supports the head of the woman, may be a soft polymer foam while the extension portion 450 and first portion 420 are a firmer material such as a resilient rubber. In addition, as discussed herein, the material could include anti-microbial properties for sanitary reasons.

As discussed herein, the first portion 420, second portion 422 and extension portion 450 may include decorative patterns or other work, such as photographs etc. which can be incorporated into the material. As with the varied shapes of the portions, the designs could be similar or completely different or further, have a continuous theme across each section 420, 422, 450 of the cushion 412

It will be appreciated by those skilled in the art that changes could be made to the embodiments described above without departing from the broad inventive concept thereof. It is understood, therefore, that this invention is not limited to the particular embodiments disclosed, but it is intended to cover modifications within the spirit and scope of the present invention as defined by the appended claims.