Title:
MATERNITY PILLOW
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
Technology is described herein for providing implementations of a maternity pillow that hugs the contours of a pregnant woman's midsection, providing support to her belly while she is lying on her side and preventing the weight of her belly from pulling on her back. The maternity pillows of the claimed invention are designed so as to negate the need for adjustment every time the woman moves, rolls over, gets up or lies down. Additionally, the maternity pillows of the claimed invention specifically target the midsection of a woman's body that needs support while lying down, without providing unnecessary and/or unwanted bulk.



Inventors:
Ross, Jennifer C. (Denver, CO, US)
Ross, Allen (Denver, CO, US)
Application Number:
11/971789
Publication Date:
07/09/2009
Filing Date:
01/09/2008
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
5/655.5, 5/655.9
International Classes:
A47G9/10
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
WILSON, BRITTANY M
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
POLSINELLI PC (KANSAS CITY, MO, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A maternity pillow to provide comfort for a pregnant woman lying on her side comprising: an annular pillow structure adapted to be worn around a torso of the pregnant woman, wherein the pillow structure comprises a belly portion to accommodate the belly of the pregnant woman, a back portion to be worn at the back of the pregnant woman and two side portions: and cushioning members positioned at each side portion, wherein the cushioning members are adapted for nesting against sides of the belly.

2. The maternity pillow as described in claim 1 further including an upper band attached to a top portion of the maternity pillow.

3. The maternity pillow as described in claim 2 further including a lower band attached to a bottom portion of the maternity pillow.

4. The maternity pillow as described in claim 1 wherein the cushioning members have a generally trapezoidal configuration.

5. The maternity pillow as described in claim 1 wherein the cushioning members comprise a compressible material.

6. The maternity pillow as described in claim 5, wherein the compressible material comprises layers of fabric, foam, foam-filled enclosures, fabric-filled enclosures, down-filled enclosures, batting-filled enclosures, or gel-filled enclosures.

7. The maternity pillow as described in claim 1, wherein the pillow structure comprises muslin, cotton, silk, wool, polyester, nylon, acrylic, polyurethane, or olefin.

8. The maternity pillow as described in claim 7, further comprising Lycra®.

9. The maternity pillow as described in claim 1, wherein the maternity pillow is configured to be slipped over a head and upper body of the pregnant woman so as to be positioned around the midsection, or stepped into and pulled up over and positioned around the midsection.

10. The maternity pillow as described in claim 1, wherein the maternity pillow is configured to be wrapped around the torso and comprises two joinable ends.

11. The maternity pillow as described in claim 10, wherein the ends are joinable by hooks and loops, Velcro®-type fasteners, snaps, hooks, magnets, zippers, buttons or ties.

12. The maternity pillow as described in claim 1, wherein the side portions of the pillow structure comprise pockets.

13. The maternity pillow as described in claim 12, wherein the cushioning members are positioned inside the pockets.

14. The maternity pillow as described in claim 13, wherein the cushioning members are removably positioned inside the pockets.

15. The maternity pillow as described in claim 14, wherein the pockets may be secured with hooks and loops, Velcro®-type fasteners, snaps, hooks, magnets, zippers, buttons or ties.

16. A maternity pillow to provide comfort for a pregnant woman lying on her side comprising: an annular pillow structure adapted to be worn around a torso of the pregnant woman, wherein the pillow structure comprises a belly portion to accommodate a belly of the pregnant woman, a back portion to be worn at a back of the pregnant woman and side portions along each side of the belly portion wherein the side portions comprise pockets: and cushioning members disposed within the pockets wherein the cushioning members are adapted for nesting against and supporting each side of the belly.

17. The maternity pillow as described in claim 16, wherein the cushioning members have a generally trapezoidal configuration.

18. The maternity pillow as described in claim 16, wherein the cushioning members comprise layers of fabric, foam, foam-filled enclosures, fabric-filled enclosures down-filled enclosures, batting-filled enclosures, or gel-filled enclosures.

19. The maternity pillow as described in claim 16, wherein the pillow structure comprises muslin, cotton, silk, wool, polyester, nylon, acrylic, polyurethane, or olefin.

20. A kit comprising: an annular pillow structure adapted to be worn around a torso of a pregnant woman, wherein the pillow structure comprises a belly portion to accommodate a belly of the pregnant woman, a back portion to be worn at a back of the pregnant woman and side portions along each side of the belly portion wherein the side portions comprise pockets: and two or more pairs of cushioning members adapted to be removably disposed within the pockets, wherein the pairs of cushioning members are further adapted for nesting against sides of the belly, and wherein the pairs of cushioning members comprise two or more different sizes, contours or consistencies of cushioning members.

Description:

BACKGROUND

Most if not all pregnant women have problems sleeping at some point during their pregnancy, particularly in the last trimester. The primary reason behind sleep problems during pregnancy, obviously, is the increasing size of the fetus which can make it difficult for the pregnant woman to find a comfortable sleeping position. As the fetus grows within the uterus, lying on one's back is not recommended due to increased pressure on the inferior vena cava, a major vein that returns blood from the lower body to the heart. In addition, increased pressure on the back and intestines causes discomfort. Sleeping on the stomach during pregnancy, however, also should be avoided due to pressure on the fetus. Lying on one's side with the knees bent is the position recommended by doctors and is likely to be the most comfortable position as pregnancy progresses; however, due to the weight of the baby pulling on one side of the midsection, the side position is not a perfect solution. Sources of information for pregnant woman from doctors, nurse practitioners, and midwifes to the internet suggest experimenting using pillows for support to try to attain a comfortable sleeping position. One suggestion encountered frequently is to place a pillow beneath the midsection. However, standard pillows tend to be too large or bulky for comfort, and the woman's shifting around in bed requires frequent repositioning of the pillow.

There are a number of “pregnancy pillows” or “body pillows” on the market. For example, U.S. Pat. Nos. 6,751,817 and 6,499,164 to Leach disclose large body pillows designed to provide support for the head, back and/or belly and legs; U.S. Pat. No. 4,984,315 to Ortman, et al. describes a typical pillow-shaped structure comprising an inflatable bladder so as to make the pillow adjustable so that it can more closely hug the body; U.S. Pat. No. 7,089,615 to Parimuha discloses an adjustable wedge-shaped pillow that can be used whether lying on one's back, stomach or side, or for reclining; and U.S. Des. No. 397,576 to Friedman discloses a generally triangular-shaped annular pillow structure. However, the pillows disclosed in these references and pillows currently on the market, like the standard pillow, have to be repositioned by the woman when moving from one side to the other, getting up, or laying down. Moreover, many pillows currently available in the art—particularly body pillows—are cumbersome and intrusive in bed and can affect the comfort of a partner. Other options, such as wedge-shaped pillows, do not conform to a woman's shape in addition to needing to be repositioned. There is no maternity pillow currently available that provides form-fitting comfort while additionally permitting a woman to roll over, change position and get up without adjustment. Clearly there is a need for such a maternity pillow in the art.

SUMMARY

Implementations described and claimed herein address the foregoing and other situations by providing a maternity pillow that has the advantages of pillows and other such supports known in the art but none of the disadvantages. Implementations of the claimed invention provide maternity pillows that hug the contours of a woman's midsection while negating the need for readjustment every time the woman moves, rolls over, gets up or lies down. Additionally, the maternity pillows of the claimed invention specifically target the midsection of a woman's body that needs support while sleeping, without providing unnecessary and unwanted bulk. In addition, implementations of the maternity pillow allow, among other advantages, adjustments to be made to the size and/or contours of the pillow as a woman's mid-section expands and changes shape throughout pregnancy. The maternity pillows of the claimed invention are washable, easy to carry and pack for traveling, and may be manufactured and sold at a low cost.

Thus, in one implementation, there is provided a maternity pillow to provide comfort for a pregnant woman lying on her side comprising: an annular pillow structure adapted to be worn around a torso of the pregnant woman, wherein the pillow structure comprises a belly portion to accommodate the belly of the pregnant woman, a back portion to be worn at the back of the pregnant woman and two side portions: and cushioning members positioned at each side portion, wherein the cushioning members are adapted for nesting against sides of the belly.

In some aspects of the claimed invention, the maternity pillow further includes an upper band attached to a top portion of the maternity pillow, and in some aspects, the maternity pillow includes a lower band attached to a bottom portion of the maternity pillow. In preferred aspects, the cushioning members of the maternity pillow have a generally trapezoidal configuration. In yet other aspects, the cushioning members comprise a compressible material such as layers of fabric, foam, foam-filled enclosures, fabric-filled enclosures, down-filled enclosures, batting-filled enclosures, or gel-filled enclosures.

The maternity pillow of the claimed invention typically is made of fabric such as muslin, cotton, silk, wool, polyester, nylon, acrylic, polyurethane, or olefin, and may, in some aspect, comprise Lycra®. In some implementations, the maternity pillow is configured to be slipped over the head and upper body of the pregnant woman so as to be positioned around the midsection, or stepped into and pulled up over and positioned around the midsection. In other implementations, the maternity pillow is configured to be wrapped around the torso and comprises two joinable ends. In yet other aspects, the side portions of the pillow structure of the maternity pillow comprise pockets. In some implementations, the cushioning members are permanently positioned inside the pockets; and in other implementations, the cushioning members are removably positioned inside the pockets, and the pockets may be secured with hooks and loops, Velcro®-type fasteners, snaps, hooks, magnets, zippers, buttons or ties.

Yet other implementations of the claimed invention provide a kit comprising: an annular pillow structure adapted to be worn around a torso of a pregnant woman, wherein the pillow structure comprises a belly portion to accommodate a belly of the pregnant woman, a back portion to be worn at a back of the pregnant woman and side portions along each side of the belly portion wherein the side portions comprise pockets: and two or more pairs of cushioning members adapted to be removably disposed within the pockets, wherein the pairs of cushioning members are further adapted for nesting against sides of the belly, and wherein the pairs of cushioning members comprise two or more different sizes, contours or consistencies of cushioning members.

This Summary is provided to introduce a selection of concepts in a simplified form that are further described below in the Detailed Description. This Summary is not intended to identify key or essential features of the claimed subject matter, nor is it intended to be used to limit the scope of the claimed subject matter. Other features, details, utilities, and advantages of the claimed subject matter will be apparent from the following written Detailed Description including those aspects illustrated in the accompanying drawings and defined in the appended claims.

BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS

The accompanying drawings, which are incorporated into and form a part of the specification, illustrate several exemplary implementations of the claimed invention, and, together with the description, serve to explain the principles of the invention. The drawings are only for the purpose of illustrating various exemplary implementations and are not to be construed as limiting the invention.

FIG. 1 is a perspective view of the maternity pillow worn by a pregnant woman, where the maternity pillow surrounds the belly, sides and lower back of the pregnant woman. A pair of soft, contoured, inserts form the cushioning portions of the maternity pillow, and are positioned at the sides of the woman's midsection.

FIG. 2 is a front view of the maternity pillow worn by a pregnant woman.

FIG. 3 is a front view of the maternity pillow with the pregnant woman lying on her left side with one of the soft contoured cushioning inserts providing support for and cushioning the right side of her belly.

FIG. 4 is another front view of the maternity pillow illustrating how the pillow structure expands with the growth of the midsection (dashed line). FIG. 4 additionally provides an exploded view of the pair of soft contoured cushioning inserts positioned for receipt in pockets inside the pillow structure.

FIG. 5 is a front view of an alternative implementation of a wrappable maternity pillow with opposite ends having hook and loop fasteners for securing the pillow around a woman's midsection.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

Technology is described herein for providing various implementations of a maternity pillow that hugs the contours of a pregnant woman's midsection, providing support while she is lying on her side as well as preventing the weight of her belly from pulling on her back. The maternity pillows of the claimed invention are designed so as to negate the need for adjustment every time the woman moves, rolls over, gets up or lies down. Additionally, the maternity pillows of the claimed invention specifically target the midsection of a woman's body that needs support while sleeping, without providing unnecessary and/or unwanted bulk. Implementations of the maternity pillow allow, in some implementations, adjustments to be made to the size and/or contours of the pillow as a woman's midsection expands and changes shape throughout pregnancy. The maternity pillows of the claimed invention are easy to carry and pack for traveling, and may be manufactured and sold at a low cost.

In FIG. 1, a perspective view of the maternity pillow is shown and has a general reference numeral 10. The maternity pillow 10 is illustrated placed around the midsection 12, opposite sides 14 and 16 and lower back 18 of a pregnant woman. The pregnant woman is shown having general reference numeral 20. The maternity pillow 10, as shown in FIGS. 1-4, is closed and circular providing a generally annular pillow structure. The maternity pillow 10 includes a belly cover member 22 adapted for fitting over the belly and around the midsection 12 of the pregnant woman, two soft contoured cushioning inserts 24 to support the sides 14 and 16 of the pregnant woman, and a back portion (not shown) to cover the lower back 18 of the pregnant woman.

The soft contoured cushioning inserts 24 are received inside pockets 26 on opposite sides of the belly cover member 22. The combination of the soft contoured cushioning inserts 24 and pockets 26 comprise cushioning members on either side of the belly cover member 22. The maternity pillow 10 shown in FIG. 1 also includes an upper band 28 and a lower band 30. The upper band 28 and lower band 30 are designed to position the pillow structure, including the belly cover member 22, soft contoured cushioning inserts 24 and back portion in place on the pregnant woman 20. In preferred implementations, the upper band 28 and lower band 30 comprise a soft, elastic material that helps maintain the position of the maternity pillow on the woman. The maternity pillow can be worn over or under a nightgown or pajamas, whichever the woman prefers.

The maternity pillow of the claimed invention may be made out of a variety of one or more materials. In preferred implementations, the material used for the pillow structure is stretchy, soft and washable, such as pima cotton, flannel, terry cloth, and the like. Other materials of interest include natural fibers such as muslin, cotton, silk, or wool; or synthetic fibers such as polyester, nylon, acrylic, polyurethane, or olefin or blends thereof. In many implementations, the fabric will contain Lycra® (i.e., spandex or elastane) or one or more other elastic-like materials to provide additional comfort and to maintain the maternity pillow in a formfitting configuration. Also, in some implementations, a satin-like fabric is used such that friction between the maternity pillow and the woman's nightwear or bed sheets is minimized. The soft contoured cushioning inserts may comprise layers of the same material as the pillow structure, or the soft contoured cushioning inserts may comprise a foam or other compressible material; or fabric-, down-, batting-, foam-, or gel-filled enclosures or other cushioning material. The maternity pillow may be a single color and unadorned, or the maternity pillow may comprise two or more colors and be embellished with designs, patterns, monograms, stitching, embroidery and the like.

In FIG. 2, a front view of the maternity pillow 10 is shown with the belly cover member 22 covering the woman's belly 12 with the soft contoured cushioning inserts 24 nested against the sides of the belly 12 and next to the woman's lower sides 14 and 16. As mentioned above, the maternity pillows 10 in FIG. 1 and in FIG. 2 do not comprise a zipper, snaps or other fastener and the maternity pillows are put on simply by slipping the maternity pillow over the head, arms and upper body where it is then positioned around the midsection. Alternatively, the maternity pillow 10 can be stepped into and adjusted upwardly until comfortably positioned around the midsection.

In FIG. 3, a front view of the maternity pillow 10 is shown with the pregnant woman lying on her left side 16 with one of the soft contoured cushioning inserts 24 providing support under the right side of her belly 16. Each of the soft contoured cushioning inserts 24 is dimensioned and contoured to fill the void between the side of the woman's belly and the flat lying surface upon which the woman is lying. In FIG. 3, it is clear how the soft contoured cushioning inserts support the belly and provide comfort to the woman. Importantly, with cushioning inserts 24 on both sides, the belly is supported and cushioned no matter on which side the woman is lying. Moreover, the woman need not reposition the maternity pillow to achieve this support—the maternity pillow moves with her when she moves, adjusts her position or rolls over. Also, because the maternity pillow is worn as one would wear a garment, a woman need not remove it if she has to get up for any reason in the middle of the night or reposition it once she returns to bed.

In FIG. 4, another front view of the maternity pillow 10 illustrates how the pillow structure expands outwardly with the growth of the midsection (shown by dashed lines 32). Also, an exploded view of the soft, contoured cushioning inserts 24 is shown where the soft contoured cushioning inserts are configured to be received in pockets 26 positioned on opposite sides of the belly cover member 22 of the maternity pillow 10. Thus, the soft, contoured cushioning inserts 24 may be permanently sewn into the pockets 26 of the maternity pillow 10, or the pockets 26 may be able to be opened such that the soft, contoured cushioning inserts 24 may be removed for, e.g., washing the maternity pillow 10. Alternatively or in addition, the maternity pillow 10 may come in a kit, where two or more pairs of removable soft, contoured cushioning inserts 24 are provided to allow a woman to use inserts of a different size, consistency (i.e., firmness) and/or contour as her belly grows. In some implementations of the maternity pillow, the back portion of the pillow (not shown) comprises a semi-rigid material or comprises stays or other structural supports to provide support to the pregnant woman's back, a feature that may particularly be desired when the woman is in the latter stages of her pregnancy.

FIG. 5 illustrates an alternative implementation of the maternity pillow of the claimed invention. FIG. 5 is a front view of a wrappable maternity pillow 33. The wrappable maternity pillow 33 includes a belly cover member 22 having a first end 34 with hook fasteners 36 for releasable attachment to a second end 38 having loop fasteners 40. Various types of fasteners can be used equally well for securing the first and second ends 34 and 38 together when the belly cover member 22, soft, contoured cushioning inserts 24 and back portion of the maternity pillow 10 is positioned around the belly 12, sides 14 and 16 and lower back 18 of the woman. Fasteners envisioned for use include but are not limited to Velcro®-type fasteners, snaps, hooks, magnets, zippers, buttons or ties.

Also shown in this drawing are the two soft contoured cushioning inserts 24 positioned to be received inside open-top pockets 42. The pockets 42 shown in FIG. 5 also include hook and loop fasteners 36 and 40 for holding the soft contoured cushioning inserts therein, but again, other fasteners such as Velcro®-type fasteners, snaps, hooks, magnets, zippers, ziploc-style fasteners, buttons or ties may be used. As described, the open-top pockets 42 allow the removal of the soft contoured cushioning inserts 24 for washing if washing the maternity pillow without the soft contoured cushioning is desired, or for adding new or different sized inserts for added comfort. Shown here, the soft contoured cushioning inserts 24 have an approximate trapezoidal geometric shape that allows the soft contoured cushioning inserts 24 to engage and nest against the sides of the belly, while angling upwardly along the sides of the belly next to top of the leg.

The present specification provides a description of various implementations of maternity pillows of the claimed invention as well as uses thereof. Although various aspects of this technology have been described above with a certain degree of particularity, or with reference to one or more individual aspects, those skilled in the art could make numerous alterations to the disclosed aspects without departing from the spirit or scope of the technology. Since many alterations can be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the presently described technology, the appropriate scope resides in the appended claims. It is intended that all matter contained in the above description and shown in the accompanying drawings shall be interpreted as illustrative only of particular aspects and are not limiting to the implementations shown. Changes in detail or structure may be made without departing from the basic elements of the present technology as defined in the following claims. In the claims, unless the term “means” is used, none of the features or elements recited therein should be construed as means-plus-function limitations pursuant to 35 U.S.C. §112, ¶6.