There’s no doubt about it: pregnancy is a trying time.
You’re constantly tired, your back hurts, and you’ve got to pee every five minutes. If you’re not careful, the slightest bump in the road can send you crying into a heap on the floor.
So What Do You Do?
Well, if you’re anything like me, you’ve probably googled something about ways to make pregnancy comfier. Thankfully, I had a girlfriend send me a Boppy wedge very early on which triggered more in-depth research.
There are tons of pillows made just for pregnant women! These pillows are designed specifically to support your body during pregnancy and help you feel comfortable and supported through the whole nine months.
Well, friends—these pillows definitely exist and they’re pretty amazing.
Keep reading for some insight on how to use these pregnancy pillows to achieve the best sleeping position during pregnancy and which types of pillows are available in the market today to make your third trimester a little bit more comfortable. We could all use a little support and I am here to help!
Why Pregnancy Pillows Just Work
But why are pregnancy pillows so important for pregnant women? How do they make all the difference between a restful night’s sleep and a night spent tossing and turning?
There are a few reasons why pregnancy pillows just work when nothing else will.
Pregnancy is hard on your body. You’ve likely never gained weight at such a rapid rate before. This can cause a lot of new pressure on your bones, muscles and joints—pressure that your body’s just not accustomed to, leaving you with aches and pains. Pregnancy pillows provide support for your entire body, to help ease up on some of that extra pressure.
Increased Blood Circulation
Additionally, sleeping with a pregnancy pillow that supports side sleeping can help increase blood circulation. Poor circulation is all too common during pregnancy, but adding a pregnancy pillow to your bed is one easy way to combat this side effect.
Improved Digestive Issues
For many women, pregnancy is not the best time for their digestive systems. Beyond nausea, heartburn runs rampant, especially at night. It’s well known that sleeping on your side, like with a pregnancy pillow, can help relieve heartburn.
Keeps You From Rolling Onto Your Back
If you’re typically a back sleeper, you might have to adjust your sleep routine during your pregnancy, at least during your third trimester. Doctors have found that sleeping on your back during the last three months of your pregnancy can increase the risk of birth complications. When you lie on your back, it reduces blood flow to the uterus. This can result in a range of problems, including reduced fetal growth, preeclampsia and miscarriage.
How To Use a Pregnancy Pillow
First things first, how to use these new and foreign pillows. A pregnancy pillow is most comfortable when placed between your knees or under your belly to support it evenly on both sides.
But, you should definitely try out different positions with your pregnancy pillow until you find one that feels comfortable for you. This could mean placing it behind your back, between your knees, under your belly, or between your legs. You could also try out different ways of sleeping, such as on your side or back with the pillow between your knees or underbelly and even using it as a backrest when sitting up in bed reading a book or watching television. You will get creative by the end, trust the process!
But, the best position to use the pregnancy pillow is based on the type of pillow you use.
So, let’s dive into the different pregnancy pillows and how best you can use them.
Different Types of Pregnancy Pillows
So now you know that pregnancy pillows exist, but did you know that there are several types? So, whether you are a side sleeper, a stomach sleeper or a back sleeper, you will want a different type of pillow throughout your pregnancy journey.
U-shaped Pregnancy Body Pillow
A U-shaped pregnancy pillow is a large, curved pillow that wraps around your body to support your back, hips, and tummy at the same time. It looks like a big letter U, hence the name.
The pillow has two ends that curve around your back and support it from behind, while the center part lies along your front. The curved sides of the pillow also help to support your hips and belly by hugging them inwards.
A U-shaped pillow can help relieve different pressure points that are causing discomfort.
How Is It Used?
To use a U-shaped pregnancy body pillow, place it behind your back at night while you sleep on either your right or left side. The curved part of the pillow should fit against your spine, while the straight part should reach all the way down to where your legs meet at your pelvis. The curve of the pillow should be under your bottom rib so that when you lie down on your side, it will cradle the curve of your spine.
- Good support for both sides of the body at once
- Design makes it easy to adjust your position without disturbing the pillow
- Usually light enough for you to carry around with ease
- Not very portable
C-shaped Pregnancy Body Pillow
A C-shaped pregnancy pillow is pretty similar to the U. The C-shape wraps around your body, which makes it very comfortable to sleep with because there is a little extra space so any extra heat can escape.
One of the best things about these pillows is that it can be used during all stages of pregnancy, from early on when you’re still small enough to fit into one side of the “C” to later on when you’re bigger and need more support.
How Is It Used?
The idea behind a C-shaped pregnancy body pillow is that it provides support for all parts of your body in one place: your lower back, sides, belly, and upper thighs. You’ll lie on your side with the curved part of the pillow between your legs and over your tummy—the top half of the pillow supports the back of your head, neck, and shoulders.
- Provides support for the growing belly
- Helps keep spine straight while sleeping
- Keeps legs elevated to prevent swelling
- Offers back, belly and neck support
- Takes up lots of space (can’t use other pillows).
Pregnancy Wedge Pillow
The wedge pillow is designed to elevate your head, shoulders, and hips. It does this by placing a firm cushion between your legs and under your back. This helps to align your spine so that it is not arched or curled forward during sleep. The elevation also helps to reduce swelling in the feet and ankles from compression during pregnancy.
How Is It Used?
This type of pregnancy pillow has a shape similar to a wedge or triangle. To use it, you place the wedge under your belly to alleviate the bump weight, in between your legs or behind you to avoid rolling over flat onto your back while sleeping.
- Very portable
- Small and lightweight
- Doesn’t offer full body support
Inflatable Pregnancy Pillow
An inflatable pregnancy pillow is a soft and comfortable cushion that helps you get a good night’s rest. It’s designed to support your body in ways that can help relieve back pain, sleeplessness, and other discomforts that come with pregnancy.
It is the best choice for stomach sleepers who experience discomfort during pregnancy.
How Is It Used?
To use an inflatable pregnancy pillow, simply open the valve on the top of the pillow and fill it with air until it reaches your desired firmness level. You can adjust the firmness of your pillow periodically as needed throughout the day or night by adding or releasing air from inside it.
- Lightweight and easy to travel with
- Easy to store
- Most come with carrying case
- Can’t be used in various positions like other pillows
J-shaped Pregnancy Body Pillows
J-shaped pregnancy body pillows, much like U-shaped and C-shaped pillows, resemble the letter they’re named after. Essentially, a J-shaped pillow looks like a candy cane. You can position the crook of the candy cane to support your head or to rest between your legs — whichever option is most comfortable for you.
The 11 Best Pregnancy Pillows
Now that we’ve gone through the different options for pregnancy pillows, we can dive into the best ones on the market. Here are the 11 best pregnancy pillows to help you get a good night’s sleep.
You might recognize the Boppy brand from their amazing nursing pillows, but they make pregnancy pillows too! This C-shaped pillow allows your entire body to cradle inside it.
If you are a side sleeper who likes to spoon, you will want to snag this pillow early on. With its full-body support, it will alleviate any back pain while offering head and belly support.
- Machine washable
- Full body support
- Versatile (can be used sitting or laying down)
- Large (over 6 feet long)
- Polyester fill
- Loses shape quicker than others
This was hands down my go-to near the end of my pregnancy. My husband had to beg me to donate our Milliard U Shaped Total Body Support Pillow a few months after our son was born. It is the perfect snuggle pillow.
I will say, since I am about 5 ft tall, near the end of my pregnancy it was a workout to move this pillow. Whether it was on the couch or just in a different position on the bed I was out of breath and needed to lie down near the end. But oh the sweet relief it provided.
- Memory Foam
- Machine washable cover
- Multi-sizes and color options
- Massive size
- Heavy/hard to move
This full-body pregnancy pillow comes in at under 5 pounds. The Leachco Snoogle Chic Supreme helps elevate your upper and lower body, alleviates excess heat due to its shape and has a removable sateen cotton cover.
If you are tossing and turning a bunch at night, this pillow might help give you some extra snuggles and put you back to sleep.
- Made in the USA
- Removable and machine washable cover
- Difficult to remove cover
- Reviewers say filling can be inconsistent in areas
This might be the strangest-looking pillow on our list, but boy, oh boy, this inflatable pillow might be just what you need if you are dying to sleep on your stomach. Honestly, I wish I had tried this out when I was pregnant because there were countless nights I wanted to sleep on my belly comfortably.
While it doesn’t necessarily offer lumbar support, it can alleviate back pain. You can add an extra pillow on top for more comfort. While yes, it may look a little silly and you can’t throw it in the washing machine, sometimes you are desperate for sleep, and this pillow might be your saving grace.
- Solution for stomach sleepers
- Doubles as a pregnancy massage tool
- Inflation required
- Encourages stomach sleeping
If you like to cuddle, do not sleep on the PharMeDoc Pregnancy C-Shape Full Body Pillow. The cotton cover on this pillow is so soft, that you might not want to ever get out of bed. You and your baby bump will be nice and cozy without overheating because of the C-shape.
Due to the shape, this budget-friendly option is one you can use postpartum as well for breastfeeding, or an extra support you might want, which is just an added bonus.
- Versatile for during and after pregnancy
- Thousands of 5-star rave reviews
- Removable and washable cover
- Large and harder to store
So the Yana 360° Body Pillow isn’t necessarily targeted toward pregnant women, but this U-shaped pillow will offer extra support no matter how big your growing bump is!
One of the best parts about this large full-body pillow is that it comes with a cooling filling option. Every mother-to-be out there or current mom will tell you the hot flashes are very real during pregnancy. You have double the blood flow, which means you heat up really fast. A cooling option is a very nice bonus as your body changes.
- Maintains shape
- Washable/removable cover
- Cooling filling
- Not technically a pregnancy pillow
All you side sleeping mamas (or forced to be side sleepers) will be happy to hear there is a pillow specifically made for you. The Boppy Side Sleeper Pregnancy Pillow is great for pregnant people that do not want to buy a pillow that takes up the entire bed. Your partner will be a big fan of this option too!
It is a support pillow that offers belly and back support without the fear of rolling over on your back. You can sleep soundly knowing you and your little one are safe and sound.
- Small and easy to store or take on the go
- Removable and machine-washable cover
- Not full body
This is the big kahuna of pregnancy pillows! But, if you are looking for a U-shaped pillow that doesn’t make you lose your breath when adjusting it, the Meiz U-Shaped Pregnancy Pillow is perfect. One of the best things about this pillow is that it is so big you can toss your regular pillow and just use this bad boy.
It comes in 3 different lengths and 11 different color options. With almost 10,000 reviews on Amazon, customers claim it helped with everything from heartburn to congestion to sciatica during their pregnancy.
It might be hard to part with after you deliver because you can put it in so many different positions and be comfy.
- Soft velvety material
- Multiple sizes and color options
- Very large
- Bunches up
Yes, another Boppy pillow. The Boppy Pregnancy Wedge can be used in so many different ways. This was my go-to during my second trimester and beyond. You can use it behind your back, under your bump, between your legs, and support while breastfeeding. It’s the pillow that keeps on giving.
- Removable and machine-washable pillowcase
- Not full-body support
If you are in search of a memory foam pillow, the Coop Original Body Pillow is definitely one to put high on your list. While again, not technically a pregnancy pillow, it is made to help side sleepers, which means it can work for pregnant women as well!
This pillow is huge, so do not be surprised if your partner gets annoyed by the size. But after you are done with your pregnancy, you can throw on a different cover and use it as an accent pillow on your bed. It is hypoallergenic, machine washable and offers full-body support.
- Customizable firmness
- GREENGUARD Gold certified
- Super soft bamboo fabric
- Can be hot
Another side sleeper option is the Belly Bandit S.O.S. Side Sleeper Pregnancy Pillow, but this one was specifically designed by an OBGYN.
While it might not provide as much comfort as other pillows on our list, it definitely saves space and weighs 1.25 pounds, which is a plus.
It has a foam back wedge and a front pillow that is supposed to be the best for getting oxygen and blood flow to your little one. You can’t argue with the methodology on this one!
- Compact and great travel option
- Prevents rolling on back
- Less than 2 pounds
- Not machine washable
While pregnancy pillows are specifically designed to cradle your growing body and baby, if you’re not having much luck finding a pregnancy pillow that you like, you may prefer a simple body pillow. However, while you’ll be gaining some benefits by opting for a traditional body pillow, you’ll also be giving up a few key benefits that come with a pregnancy pillow. Additionally, to get the effect of a U-shaped or C-shaped pregnancy pillow, you’ll need to buy two body pillows, one for your front and one for your back.
- More affordable than a pregnancy pillow
- Will blend into your current decor more easily
- Doesn’t provide as much support as a pregnancy pillow
This oversized pregnancy pillow is perfectly contoured to provide lower back support, pelvic support, ankle support, belly support and knee support. The result is overall pain relief and less pressure on your joints and bones. The pillow is 31 inches wide and 55 inches long and comes with a 100% velour cover and in a handful of different colors.
- Comes in a larger size
- Comes in a range of colors
- Ergonomic design
- The large size means it’s not very portable
- Reviewers report the pillow isn’t as firm as other options (which could be a pro or con, depending on your needs)
This super-soft, award-winning pillow is designed specifically to relieve pain by supporting the pelvis, abdomen, back, knees and ankles. However, the pillow is still adjustable enough to meet your individual needs. The pillow is sustainable, too, with the filling made from Biofoam, a compostable material derived from plant and veggie waste. Additionally, the pillow is antibacterial and antifungal. It even comes with a carrying bag.
- Just firm enough, while still being adjustable
- Antifungal and antibacterial properties
- Made from sustainable materials
This incredibly long and thin, worm-like pillow is comfy enough for anyone to use, regardless of their source of stress or what’s causing their lack of high-quality sleep. The Cuddler can be adjusted to fit your sleep style and needs, as it curves around wherever you want and then stays in place, keeping your body in place as well. Wrap your legs around it, wrap it around your body, wrap it around your back — the options are endless.
This is a sustainable pillow, too, with the inner filling made from tree sap and the cover made from 100% organic cotton.
- Made from sustainable materials
- Ultra-flexible, to meet your individual sleeping needs
- Might not provide enough support for all sleepers
The Najell pregnancy pillow is one you’ll want to keep around long-term, as it doubles as a nursing pillow. The flexible design actually puts two separate pillows inside one larger pillow case, so you have even more options for arranging the pillows in the way that best suits your needs. Use one side for support beneath your knees and the other for support for your belly. Fold it in half and use it as a nursing pillow. However you prefer to sleep, you can probably do it with this pillow.
Additionally, the pillow is easy to wash and the filling is made from food-grade EPS beads.
- Easy to keep clean
- Might not provide as much support as other options
- Only comes in a boring beige
This J-shaped pregnancy pillow is available on Amazon. It provides extra support for your legs, belly, neck and head, and the lightweight pillow features a machine-washable cover. Reviewers report that the pillow is more compact than some of the other options on the market and that the cover is very soft. However, some do note that the pillow isn’t an ideal fit for hot sleepers.
- Not a great fit for hot sleepers
- May not provide enough support for some
This pregnancy pillow isn’t shaped like a C or a U or a J. Instead, it’s shaped, oddly enough, like a lower-case “e”. The unique design, which curves in on itself, allows you to snuggle right into the small opening, giving you support in nearly a 360-degree circle. Your knees, back, belly, bum, head — it all gets an extra layer of love. Plus, when you’re finished using the pillow for your pregnancy, you can use it as a wrap-around pillow for nursing.
- 360-degree support
- Machine-washable cover
- Made from 100% cotton
- Only comes in one (not quite fashionable) design
- Oversized, which could be a pro or con, depending on your needs
This rectangular, cooling pregnancy pillow is long enough to be folded into a C shape, U shape or J shape, but also works just as side or frontal support if you don’t fold it at all and just leave it long. The pillow’s microbead filling won’t retain heat, making this pillow a nice fit for warm sleepers, and, even though the pillow is long, it folds down into a compact carrying case, so you can take it with you on the go.
- May not provide as much support as some need
What To Consider Before Purchasing Pregnancy Pillow
When it comes time to buy pregnancy pillows, it can be hard to know where to start. There are a lot of options out there, and not all of them are created equal. So what do you need to look for in a pregnancy pillow before you make your purchase?
Are you a side-sleeper or back-sleeper? A pregnancy pillow can be great for any position, but if you have a specific preference, make sure that the pillow is designed for your sleep style.
What kind of fabric is used in creating the pillow? Is it made from natural materials like cotton? Or is it synthetic? Natural fabrics tend to be more breathable and softer on sensitive skin than synthetic ones—but they also tend to cost more money.
More importantly, is it machine washable?
Will the pillow provide enough support for your growing belly? Does the fabric feel comfortable against your skin? These are important considerations when buying a pillow.
Pregnancy Pillow FAQs
Still not sure which pregnancy pillow is right for you or still have extra questions? Let’s see if we can help.
Who needs a pregnancy pillow?
Any mother could benefit from using a pregnancy pillow — and not just pregnant mommas! While pregnancy pillows provide extra comfort both during and directly following pregnancy, these contoured pillows provide excellent extra support to anyone who needs it.
When should you start using a pregnancy pillow?
There’s no strict point in your pregnancy when you “should” be using a pregnancy pillow. Just add one to your bed whenever it feels right to you! However, most women do find that a pregnancy pillow becomes handy once they start to show, as a growing belly needs extra support.
Do you need a different pillow for the beginning, middle and end of pregnancy?
We asked Elisa Regulski, a Certified Sleep Science Coach and Editor at Mattress Clarity this question. “When used correctly, pregnancy pillows can help to relieve some of the discomfort that pregnant people experience while sleeping from increased pressure on the back and hips,” she began. “As you progress into your pregnancy, you might find that you need more support from your pregnancy pillow. A wedge or full-body pillow might work well at first, and you might find more comfort in your second or third trimester with a total-body pillow that wraps around the body for full support.”
Can I just use a body pillow instead of a pregnancy pillow?
Yes, but to achieve similar effects as a pregnancy pillow, you’ll want to buy two body pillows instead of just one, for both back and front support. Also, look for firmer body pillows. You want the pillows to provide enough firm support, while also keeping you from rolling over on your back.
How do I clean my pregnancy pillow?
Let’s face it — pregnancy is messy. So what do you do when you need to clean your pregnancy pillow? There’s no need to throw the pillow out and buy a new one. Check the tag for washing instructions or go online to the maker’s website.
If you can’t find information there, remove your pillow’s coverings and clean the cover and the pillow separately. Close all zippers and wash the pillow on a gentle wash cycle with a mild detergent. Then, dry the pillow on a medium dryer setting. If the pillow’s filling is clumping, throw a few clean, new tennis balls in the dryer with it, which will help beat the filling back into its normal state.
If you’d prefer to hand wash your pillow, just fill your clean sink (or tub) with warm water and mild detergent. Then, soak your pillow until stains or debris come away with a gentle scrub. Then, squeeze the water from the pillow and soak it again in clean, cold water, until the detergent is gone, which may require changing the clean water out several times. To dry the pillow, soak up any excess moisture with a clean towel and then place the pillow in a warm, sunny spot. If the drying process is taking a while, you may need to rotate and flip your pillow several times or point a room fan in the pillow’s direction.
What else can I do to help me sleep while pregnant?
Already have a favorite pregnancy pillow, but still having problems sleeping? There are a few other things you can do to increase your chances of getting a good night’s sleep.
Firstly, if you’re napping often during your pregnancy, try to time those naps correctly. Hold off on napping later than 3 p.m. Additionally, if you’re suffering from heartburn that even side sleeping can’t hold off, then adjust your diet, don’t eat too closely to bedtime and ask your doctor about taking an antacid. Similarly, restless legs syndrome is common in pregnant women; if you think you may have restless legs syndrome that’s interrupting your sleep, it could be a sign you’re low on iron or folate, so ask your doctor about adjusting your intake accordingly.
Rest Up Mama
If you’re pregnant, it’s probably no surprise that you’re looking for the best pregnancy pillows.
And I hear you—and know firsthand how hard it can be to find the right one. There are so many options out there, and they all claim to be the best, but which one is really going to help you get a good night’s sleep? And how do you know if it’s safe for your baby?
From full-body pregnancy pillows to extremely large regular pillows, there are plenty of options on our list that are safe for your growing baby and will offer you a goodnight’s sleep. Rest up, mamas, your bundle of joy will be here before you know it!
You might also be interested in: The 15 Best Baby Shower Gifts [That Won’t Break the Bank]
The 19 Best Pregnancy Pillows:
- Boppy Total Body Pillow
- Milliard U Shaped Total Body Support Pillow
- Leachco Snoogle Chic Supreme
- Cozy Bump Pregnancy Pillow
- PharMeDoc Pregnancy C-Shape Full Body Pillow
- Yana 360° Body Pillow
- Boppy Side Sleeper Pregnancy Pillow
- Meiz U-Shaped Pregnancy Pillow
- Boppy Pregnancy Wedge
- Coop Original Body Pillow
- Belly Bandit S.O.S. Side Sleeper Pregnancy Pillow
- Room Essentials Body Pillow
- Queen Rose Full Body Pregnancy Pillow
- Bbhugme Pregnancy Pillow
- The Bearaby Cuddler
- Najell Pregnancy Pillow
- Momcozy Pregnancy Pillow
- Tommee Tippee Made for Me Pregnancy and Breastfeeding Pillow Support
- Frida Mom Adjustable Pregnancy Pillow