Last updated: January 17, 2017
Ask any pregnant woman what the most difficult part of being pregnant is, and you will learn it’s usually bedtime. Your back is achy, your legs are swollen, and your bladder feels like it will burst. Sleep is hard to come by at a time when you need it most. That’s why we've created this review to help you find the best pregnancy pillow to help you get the sleep you need. Sleeping with a high-quality pregnancy pillow will help you wake up refreshed and ready to go.
Without a pregnancy support pillow, most women wake up with an achy back, neck, hips, and knees. Taking the pressure off of your belly with a pregnancy pillow will also take the pressure off of the bladder. This will help you stay in bed rather than run to the bathroom multiple times a night.
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Benefits of a pregnancy sleeping pillow
- Relieves pressure on your belly
If you sleep on your side, your belly turns downward and rests on the bed, creating pressure and discomfort. By propping up the belly, the pressure will be kept off of your back and hips, and you will sleep better.
- Designed to help sleep in half-fetal position
This is the best position for those who suffer from neck and back pain. It is a comfortable way to sleep, but it can be hard to stay in this position at night without a pregnancy pillow.
- Keeps you from tossing and turning
Even when you are not pregnant, it is disruptive to your sleep to toss around a lot at night. With a pregnant belly, it’s even worse as your belly will make it difficult to find a comfortable position. A pregnancy pillow will keep you in a comfortable position and prevent you from moving around too much.
- Can be used even after pregnancy
You can use it even after you have had your baby since you will still need that support for your back. Keeping your legs apart will also help keep your back aligned. You can even usse it as a nursing pillow so you can feed your baby comfortably.
What are the different types of pregnancy pillows?
Pregnancy pillows come in all shapes and sizes. Finding the best pregnancy pillow for you depends on how you sleep. It also depends on your budget, as they can get expensive.
Wedge Shaped Pregnancy Pillow
A pregnancy pillow is literally a pillow shaped like a wedge. When you sleep on your side, your belly will rest on the pillow keeping the pressure off of your back
- Doesn’t take much space
- Not expensive
- Multiple ways to use
- Gives great support for back or belly
- Can be used between the legs to keep knees apart
- Only supports one section of the body
- May need multiple pillows for other areas of your body
If you feel like you sleep fine and don’t move around much, you may find that using a wedge- shaped pregnancy pillow is enough. If you do move around a bit, you may need a second one to put behind your back to keep you from rolling over.
You can even use a pregnancy pillow under your regular pillow to keep your head elevated a bit. If your pregnancy has you suffering from heartburn, you may find some relief this way. There might not be enough space on your bed for a full body maternity pillow so, for many women, this is the only option. You will be spending a lot of money on plenty of maternity items for you and your baby. With a cheap pregnancy wedge pillow, you can get the rest you need and still stay on budget.
Full Body Pregnancy Pillow
These are also called body pillows as non-pregnant people also like to use them.
- Supports your whole body including your back, neck, hips, and legs
- Feels good to give it a hug
- Replaces your pillow for your head
- Can be expensive
- Some are hard to clean (those without covers)
Most women are looking for this type of pillow as they don’t want to have a bed full of different pillows for different parts of the body. The full-length pregnancy pillow may take up a lot of space, but at least it is self-contained, and you only need one.
Some body pillows can be pricey, but you will get years of use out of the full body pregnancy pillow. Even after you have your baby, you will benefit from a great night's sleep. Even when not pregnant, you still need the proper back support, and these pillows do a great job at keeping your back and neck aligned.
There are two types of full body pillows.
One resembles a traditional pillow, except it is very long. It’s not very flexible, but it does a good job at keeping your belly off of the bed. You can wrap your arms and legs around it and fall asleep giving it a hug.
The other kind is more flexible and can be reshaped in ways that will be more comfortable for you. Yesterday, you may have just wanted something to hug and keep your belly elevated. Today, you may feel like you need it under your head and behind your back so you don’t roll over.
With this type of pillow, you have options.
Total Body Pregnancy Pillows
This maternity pillow is quite large, and it’s shape lends itself to multiple sleeping styles or body positions.
- Offers the best all-around support
- Allows for many different sleeping styles and body types
- Can even have your head on it reducing the need for head pillow
- Takes up a lot of space in bed
- Most expensive type of pregnancy pillow
There are two types of total body pregnancy pillow.
There is the “C” shaped pillow and the “U” shaped pillow.
The “C” shape wraps almost all the way around your entire body. One end starts under your belly, goes down between your legs, up your back, and finally wraps underneath your head.
It offers total support for every part of your body. Wrapping it around you, it keeps your belly off of the bed, your legs apart to give comfort to your upper leg, your spine aligned, and your head cozy. It also helps tremendously in keeping you from moving around too much.
If you are a plus-sized woman, this “C”shaped pregnancy pillow is your best bet. It can wrap around your body and takes up less room than the “U” shaped pillow.
The “U” shape looks just like a horseshoe and offers total support on both sides of your body. You start with your head on the closed side of the “U”.
One side goes along your front with your belly propped up over it. The bottom then can go between your legs if you like, or not, depending on your preference. The other side runs down along your back helping to keep you in place. The bottom of that side, again, can go between your legs if you like.
There isn’t a better or worse one. They are both very good pillows and, which one you like, depends on how you like to sleep. Just keep in mind that the “U” shaped one takes up more space in bed.
What are maternity pillows made out of?
The least expensive pregnancy pillows are usually filled with the same styrofoam beads that you find in bean bags.
They're light and fluffy and allow you to reshape the pillow however you like. They will conform to your body and be quite comfortable. The drawback is that they generally make a lot of noise.
Polyester is the most popular and most budget-friendly. It's non-allergenic, and you can wash it. Also, it's easy to find. You can get polyester/cotton blends to give you added firmness. Polyester is a material that is also very good at molding to your body and can be very comfortable. Polyester pregnancy pillows can make you sweat, though.
Microbeads are tiny balls, even tinier than the styrofoam balls. The microbead-filled pregnancy pillows are lightweight and make almost no sound. Since they are smaller than they styrofoam beads, they also form much better to your body and offer greater support.
Memory foam is probably the most popular material in pregnancy pillows. It takes the form of your body very precisely, but always bounces back to its original shape. Memory foam offers terrific support. The negative aspect associated with anything made of memory foam is that it often leads to overheating. This can be a problem when you are pregnant as you are likely to be warm anyway.
Buckwheat husks offer a natural alternative to the synthetic materials in most pregnancy pillows. When you are pregnant, you are usually hyper aware of any smells and have to stay away from synthetics as they almost always have a strong chemical smell. Buckwheat gives the same kind of support and flexibility as styrofoam filling. If you have allergies, you should look into natural fillings.
Can pregnancy pillows be cleaned?
Most good pregnancy pillows have a cover that can be removed and washed making your life much cleaner and easier. Usually, the manufacturer will sell a cover separately. It is worth the extra investment as you will likely be sweating much more than normal during this period in your life.
Some pregnancy pillows are far too big to put in a washing machine. In addition, they can be filled with material that doesn’t wash well.
If a cover is not available, you will need to do some spot cleaning to keep your pillow clean. You may want to use a spritzer with essential oils to keep your pregnancy pillow smelling fresh.
Hiccapop Pregnancy Pillow Wedge for Maternity
- Two sides for different support. One firm side one soft side.
- Plush, washable cover
- Airflow ventilation memory foam
- Good for travel
- On the small side
If you are looking for a cheap pregnancy pillow, this wedge pillow will keep you on budget and still offer the support you need.
The foam filling gives great support and is soft enough for your belly to rest comfortably upon it. This pillow won’t compress and lose its effectiveness over time. In fact, it will stay firm long after the baby is born.
The unique feature of this wedge pillow is the two-sided design. One side is firm, high density memory foam. The other side is soft and molds to your contours.
During different times in your pregnancy, you may find yourself with different needs. If you want a firm support pillow, just flip it over. When your belly is bigger, you may want the soft side.
It’s nice to not have to buy a new pillow when you want different levels of support.
It can be used to prop your feet up to reduce swelling of the ankles, under your pillow to raise your head, or under your belly or back to keep you from turning over.
The low price means you can get two. Use one for your legs and one for your belly.
Naomi Home Cozy Body Pillow
- Pillow is really big
- Full body support
- Good price for full body pillow
- Great for when pregnant with twins
- Doesn’t get compacted
- Pillow is really big
- At 10 pounds it is hard to move around
Because this full body pillow is very large, you will need to have a pretty big bed or to tell your partner they’re sleeping on the couch.
The size is a pro and a con depending on your perspective. For people with huge king-sized beds, the big size is not an issue. For those that have just enough room for two people, there simply isn’t enough room for two people plus this pillow.
If you have the space, however, it is a great pillow.
Having twins? Then you really could benefit from such an oversized pregnancy pillow. Naomi Home cozy body pillow is probably the best pregnancy pillow for twins. You will definitely be in need of some extra support for your growing belly, and this pillow won’t disappoint.
It is a “U” shaped total body pillow. Picture a soft, comfy lounge chair that you can relax in bed, and you get an idea of what this pillow is like. Even at above-average height, you will still be dwarfed by this pillow.
It has a medium to soft filling that is good for support and comfort. Indents in the head area add to the comfort since it allows your head to sink into the pillow without losing its shape. This keeps your head from being too high on the pillow and keeps your neck aligned with your spine.
The cover is soft and cotton so it breathes and doesn’t heat up. It is removable for easy washing. If you do use this as a nursing pillow, you will be especially grateful to be able to wash the cover.
At almost 10 pounds, it is a bit heavy and not easy to move around if you need to.
Pharmedoc Total Body Pillow
- Washable cotton cover
- Medium firm support
- Good for variety of positions
- Big but not too big
- Hard to put cover back on after washing
More of a “G” shape than a “C” shape, this total body maternity pillow has your whole body covered.
The unique shape adds even more support to your belly as the little extra curve at the end slides right underneath it.
The cover is a very comfortable and breathable cotton. The filling, though a synthetic material, is latex which is BPA and phthalate free. It does some off-gassing when you take it out of the bag. It may take an hour or two for the chemical smell from the latex to go away.
The filling is very firm, but still very flexible. The firmness is great for support and helping to keep you in place while you sleep.
A huge positive that makes this pillow very easy to recommend is that it has a removable cover that can be machine washed. That is something that should not be overlooked when considering a pregnancy pillow. Just be warned, you shouldn’t dry the cover in a drying machine. Let it line dry, so it doesn’t shrink. In addition, try to have somebody help you put it back onto the pillow as it can be tricky.
Leachco Snoogle Total Body Pillow
- Removable and washable cover
- Filled with polyester
- Not too big
- Good for back and side sleepers
- Filling doesn’t get compressed
- Good price
- Too firm for some
- Not good for taller people (Around 6’ or more)
The Snoogle Total Body maternity pillow by LeachCo is one of the best selling in the world. This is a big, yet not too big, pregnancy pillow that will give you total body support. It is a “C” shaped pillow that will cradle your head, down your back, between your legs,and then the bottom of the “C” comes up to prop your belly.
It is a firm maternity pillow that will give you tremendous support and keep your back aligned. If you are looking for a soft pillow that you just sink into, then you may be disappointed. This will mold a bit to your body, but it stays firm so you get the right support.
The cover is removable and can be washed in a machine. Since you will likely be using this pillow for nursing even after your baby is born, the ability to wash the cover is very important.
Meiz Adjustable Pregnancy Back Support Pillow
- Adjustable belt
- Cradle your hips and support your belly at the same time
- Good lumbar support
- Keeps back and belly cushioned at the same time
- Easy to switch side without adjusting pillow
- Washable removable cover
- Can be too firm for some
This pregnancy pillow is almost a hybrid-style wedge pillow. It is adjustable so you can increase or decrease the belt to accommodate your growing belly.
One of the drawbacks of many pregnancy pillows is that it is difficult to change positions without having to wake up and readjust your pillow and blankets.
What makes this pregnancy pillow unique is you simply have to roll over to change positions. Since it is two wedge pillows attached by an adjustable band, it stays in place as you move.
You get one pillow for your lumbar support on your back, and the other wedge lifts your belly off of the ground. Since your belly will be getting bigger, the band that attaches the pillows together is adjustable. It can give you an additional 10 inches of much-needed space as you grow.
FAQ about pregnancy pillows
Q: Can I just use multiple pillows instead of a pregnancy pillow.
A: Of course you can. Why would you want to? A regular pillow will not have the same support. Your pillows will end up all over the bed, and that alone will probably keep you up at night. It’s worth the small investment to have a good pregnancy pillow that will offer support and a comfortable night’s sleep.
Q: What are the benefits of using a pregnancy pillow?
A: A pregnancy pillow provides support for the entire body. It alleviates the pain associated with a strained back, neck, and legs. The ideal sleeping position when pregnant is the fetal position. A pregnancy pillow helps the pregnant woman to lie comfortably in that position. The legs stay apart easing the pressure on the hips as well as keeping the legs from getting too hot if they are one on top of the other. The belly is raised off of the bed relieving the pressure on the bladder.
Q: When should I start using the pregnancy pillow?
A: Anytime you are uncomfortable at night is a good time to start using it. You don’t even have to be pregnant to see the benefits of a pregnancy pillow. They offer back support and comfort. That can benefit anybody, not just pregnant women. That being said, by the time your belly is starting to show, you will probably begin having some aches and restless nights. You should probably have the pillow ready to go by that time.
Q: Do I really need a pregnancy pillow?
A: Without a pregnancy pillow, expect to have:
- Back and neck pain throughout the day
- Sore hips and pelvic area
- Swollen ankles
- Possibility of sciatica
- Multiple runs to the bathroom
Still think you don’t need a pregnancy pillow?
Final thoughts - Which Is the Best Pregnancy Pillow For You?
After your baby is born, your sleep will become very precious and hard to come by. It’s important to be well rested for when the big day comes.
Using a pregnancy pillow will help you rest both before and after the baby is born.
Before the baby is born, you can use the maternity pillow to alleviate a lot of the aches, pains, and discomfort that comes with being pregnant.
You may not need to support your belly after the baby is born, but you still need to be comfortable in bed and have your back aligned properly. Even though the baby will be getting you out of bed multiple times a night, the maternity pillow will ensure that the time you do have to sleep will be spent sleeping and not tossing and turning.
Adding to the usefulness is that many of them can end up as nursing pillows. They will cradle your newborn comfortably and safely while taking that weight off of your back and shoulders while you nurse.
Sleep is important for everyone's health, and it is particularly important when you are pregnant. In addition, when you are raising a newborn, it is critically important that you are getting your rest. For your sake and your baby’s, think about getting the best pregnancy pillow that you can afford to stay rested.