Read Our Pregnancy Pillow Reviews
Features and Review
Pillow Shape – C-shaped
Designed by a registered nurse and mother, this pregnancy pillow will conform to your body to keep you comfortable and cool. This lightweight pillow has a comfortable C-shape to provide complete front or back support, depending on which way you use the pillow. The upper crook provides very firm support for your head and neck, while the lower crook fits neatly between the legs. This works well to help align the hips and back to relieve pressure on those joints.
This pillow has considerable length and is very moveable. This means that you can make it rounder for more of a nest-like feel, or you can stretch it out for less of a cozy feel. You can even wrap it around you for a support pillow for sitting or breastfeeding. This adjustability makes this pillow work well for women of all different shapes and sizes. But speaking of size, it will take up a considerable amount of space in a queen size bed.
This pillow is phthalate, latex, lead, and BPA free. It’s made from a less-than-soft polyester and cotton blend. The removable sham-style cover is totally machine washable. It is, however, difficult to get on and off since it only has a small opening at one end. Perhaps it’s worth it to pay for an upgraded version with a wonderfully soft jersey cotton cover that zips off. For the price, this is a good, basic c-shaped pillow that will provide you with comfortable support during your pregnancy and after.
Pillow Shape -U-Shaped
Features and Review
This Queen Rose pregnancy pillow is a lightweight, U-shaped pillow that provides complete body support during pregnancy. The top of the pillow where the head goes is thicker and wider- more like a regular pillow. It has two extensions coming down from this main pillow to provide support for both the back and the front. This is good because it provides great head and neck support that is similar to that of a regular pillow, so it’s not as big of an adjustment when you’re pregnant to sleep with this pillow. The extensions on both sides allow for you to get good back support and good belly and knee support in the front. This pillow can also be used to help with nursing once the baby arrives. This pillow is in a fixed position, so you can only use it as it lies. No bending or twisting to change the shape, although the extensions do tend to move outward a bit.
The unique design features two different layers. The first, outermost layer is a soft, machine washable cover made from 100% cotton. Beneath that is the pillow insert itself, which features a zipper as well. Inside the zipper is some bionic polyethylene filling that you can add or remove to your liking. This material is both soft and fluffy while still retaining its shape, so it won’t wear down like some other fibers will. Polyethylene is also hypoallergenic. This ability to customize support is a great feature because you can make the pillow as soft and squishy as you want it to be.
This pillow is about 4 feet long and just over a couple of feet wide, so you’ll have plenty of space in the bed after bringing this pillow in. If you’re worried about the size or support this pillow offers, the seller offers a 90 day guarantee, so if you try this and don’t get better pregnancy sleep, you can just return it to the seller for a full refund. Overall, the price for a pillow of this size is very reasonable. This is a great pillow and it will definitely help you get better sleep if you’re looking for complete and total support.
Pillow Shape -Wedge
Features and Review
This unique pregnancy pillow has a vast array of features. This wedge pillow has two different sides: one with firmer support and one with softer support. This helps it to be usable as your needs change with your changing body. The soft side is best for early pregnancy, while the firmer side gives the tough support that you’ll need in the last trimester. It measures about 15 inches wide and 13 inches deep, with the tallest part of the wedge being 4.5 inches. This makes it easy to carry around and travel with, but for some, it is an odd size for supporting just the belly. It might be too big or not big enough.
You can use it to support your back and knees when sleeping as well. This works well for wedging the lower back up to relieve sciatic pain and to prevent you from rolling onto your back. It also makes a great support for the lower back while sitting up in bed or in a chair. I know that this comes in handy for me at work because my desk chair doesn’t have good lower back support.
The pillow is made from a soft memory foam. To keep it from getting too hot, the outer layer of the foam has tiny holes for ventilation. I like this foam because it doesn’t wear down easily and lose its shape. I also like that it’s free from irritants like phthalates, PVC, and BPA. This foam is covered with a lovely plush velboa cover that’s completely machine washable. The foam wedge is rollable into a smaller size for travel. It comes with a travel case as well.
This is such a great option for those who don’t want a huge pillow, but still want the help of a pregnancy pillow. The price is wonderful as well. I would recommend buying two of them. You can keep one at home and one at the office, and later in pregnancy, you can use one on the back and one under the belly to get all the right support to prevent aches, pains, and swelling.
Pillow Shape – J-Shaped
Features and Review
This pillow says that it’s a J-shape, but it’s actually more of a C or even G-shape. That’s because one of the curves comes in further than the other. You can create your own nest while sleeping. It’s got six areas that it targets for support: the back, belly, hips, knees, neck, and head. Although you could flip this pillow around, there’s no need, since the one curve is so long. You can get true support for your head, neck, and belly at the same time as your back, hips, and knees.
It truly is an extra large pillow. It measures in at approximately 58 inches long and 28.5 inches wide, so it will be the only pillow you can fit on the bed, but it should be the only pillow you need. It takes up most of a queen sized bed.This long size makes it great for moms on the taller side! The design also means that you won’t be able to roll over in the night, which is both a good and bad thing. It can be used for sleeping, relaxing, and even wrapped around to help with breastfeeding.
The pillow is made from 100% polyester fibers. This is a hypoallergenic fiber, so it’s great for moms-to-be and newborns alike. It also provides somewhat firm support without flattening over time. You can wash the zippered pillow cover in the washing machine for easy cleanup. The size and filling of the pillow give it some heft- it weighs nearly 8 pounds!
This pillow isn’t as expensive as some of the other options on the list. If you want to be totally covered by your pregnancy pillow, then this is the one for you. It’s huge and bulky, but soft and supportive at the same time. I would recommend this for ladies who are taller or plus-sized because it will be big enough to suit your needs.
Pillow Shape – C-Shaped
Features and Review
This is a basic C-shaped pregnancy pillow. It doesn’t have too many features to brag about. The two curves of the C-shape support the head and neck as well as the knees and hips. This helps to prevent heartburn and nerve pain. The straight part of the pillow can cushion the back or the front, depending on where you have aches or pains. While this design is supposed to mimic the natural contours of your body, the smaller size of this pillow works best on those who are not too tall or too curvy. For an extra way to use, you can curl the pillow up on top of itself and use it as a back cushion while sitting on a couch or the floor.
I wish I knew the materials that this was made from. The only information I could find stated that it was designed in the US, but made in China. The filling of the pillow feels like goose down from the outside. Whatever it is, it looses some of its firmness after time, which makes for a not-so-fluffy pillow. The pillow does include a white, zippered pillow case that can be washed. The material is again unknown, but it feels like a low thread count cotton.
This pillow is raved about by both pregnant moms and regular people alike. The company guarantees this pillow will be loved within the first 30 days, or your money back. But for being one of the more expensive pillows on the list, I’d expect higher quality and full disclosure from the manufacturer. Still, this smaller full body pillow does it’s job!
What Pregnancy Means for Your Sleep
Like I mentioned, pregnancy will definitely spell changes for your sleeping patterns. Each trimester will bring it’s own challenges.
Since there’s been a study proving the link between poor sleep during pregnancy and reduced quality of life, it’s important to learn about pregnancy sleeping issues. Let’s take a look at how your body changes and why that makes it hard to sleep during pregnancy.
How Your Body Changes During Pregnancy
The easiest way to break down pregnancy is by weeks or trimester. For the sake of length, I’ll use trimester. Here’s a quick look at the hallmark symptoms and how your body changes during each trimester.
First Trimester: Weeks 1-13
This trimester starts with the first day of your last menstrual period. This means that a lot of changes occur during this trimester, since it’s the time that your body goes from being not pregnant to growing a baby. You’ll notice the typical pregnancy symptoms during this trimester, like:
- Light spotting
- Nausea and vomiting (morning sickness)
- Enlarged, tender breasts
- Altered sense of smell and taste
- Frequent urination
- Exhaustion and frequent sleeping
- Changes in bowel movements
- Intense mood swings
- Food cravings and aversions
- Dizziness or feeling faint
Second Trimester: Weeks 14-27
Many women start to feel relief from the misery that early pregnancy can bring around the beginning of the second trimester. But new symptoms of their own accompany what many women call the “feel-good” trimester.
- Increased energy
- Increase appetite
- Skin darkening, including linea nigra
- Weight gain
- Quickening, or baby flutters (these start soft, but get much stronger!)
- Aching spine, hips, and knees
- Round ligament pain
- Hair growth (basically everywhere!)
- Changing libido
Third Trimester: Weeks 28-40
Ah, the home stretch. Having your baby has never been closer, but it’s never felt so far away! That dreamy glow and supernatural energy you experienced is probably gone by now, and has been replaced by these problems:
- Fatigue (extreme fatigue)
- Muscle and joint pain
- Shortness of breath
- Stretch marks
- Itchy or sensitive skin
- Leaky breasts
- Sciatic and other nerve pain
- Frequent urination
- Braxton Hicks contractions
- Vaginal discharge
- Lightening (baby dropping down into the pelvis)
Why It’s Hard to Sleep During Pregnancy
All of those fun symptoms I just talked about? Well, nearly all of them make sleep harder, not easier! Here’s a look at a few of the most common reasons that sleeping while pregnant is tough.
Pregnancy makes your joints and muscles ache all day long. This all gets worse at night, when you lay down and the extra weight puts direct pressure on your hips, shoulder, and back.
The result can be a sore, achy pain that gets in the way of good sleep. Round ligament pain, which plagued me during my first pregnancy, is extremely painful. It only subsides if you get proper support for your burgeoning belly.
If you previously slept on your stomach or back, like me, then you may not be used to sleeping on your side and getting comfortable seems completely elusive.
No matter what you do, you’ll wake up on your back or in some strange position in an attempt to get comfortable. Not to mention the fact that trying to roll over during that last trimester is a workout in itself! All of those aches, pains and discomfort add up to bad sleep.
Another common reason is the fact that you’ll be running to the bathroom at least once a night to pee.
Your body throws you the one-two punch of having an increase of urine (from filtering the extra blood) combined with less bladder room. The bigger baby gets, the more often you’ll have to go. And during that third trimester, going to the bathroom two or even three times at night is not uncommon.
Restless leg syndrome (RLS) is another fun symptom of pregnancy that can impact sleep. According to that Women and Sleep Poll that I mentioned, up to 15% of women develop this disorder during the third trimester.
RLS makes your legs feel tingly or itchy and you’ll want to move them non-stop. For those of us who don’t develop full-blown RLS, we’ll still have to deal with the horrible, painful leg cramps that come during pregnancy. Helpful tip: flex your foot during a leg cramp to make it subside.
Other reasons for poor sleep can include heartburn and shortness of breath. This makes sense, since it’s really hard to sleep when you feel like your chest and lungs are going to burst. Both of these symptoms get worse as the pregnancy goes on. The sleeplessness can be even worse if you get nasal congestion, which can add a drippy nose and a cough to the mix.
Last, your brain does really strange things when you are pregnant. I’m convinced that the baby takes all the best brain cells for itself.
General insomnia is fairly common, due to the excitement and stress that being pregnancy causes. My biggest sleep problem involved waking up in the middle of the night and worrying about my to-do list. And imagining how my little ones would look and act.
Oh, and did I mention the totally whacky pregnancy dreams? Those can interrupt your sleep, too.
How to Get a Better Night’s Sleep During Pregnancy
So now that you know all the fun things that happen to your body during pregnancy, as well as why they make it hard to sleep, let’s talk about fixing the situation.
Here are 7 ways to battle some of those common sleep interruptions that plague pregnancy.
1. Find your sleep position. Past the first trimester, you’ll likely not be able to keep in your normal sleeping position. And you definitely cant lay on your back.You’ll have to learn to love laying on your side while pregnant. The best side to lay on is the left side, since it improves the blood flow between your body and your baby. It also takes the pressure off of your liver and kidneys. I found that laying on my left side for too long made my hip go alternately numb and achy, so I had to switch from left to right side every few hours.
2. Get comfortable! This is much easier said than done. Having the right blankets,sheets, and pillows will make a big difference. Investing in an extra padding for your mattress is a good idea, too. It’ll save your hips some trouble. Your best friend during pregnancy is a good pregnancy pillow. It will give your belly, legs, hips, neck, and spine some much-needed support. It’s the only way I’ve found to reduce round ligament pain at night. Read on for my buying guide to help you pick your perfect pillow!
3. Be careful of what you drink. As tempting as they may be, caffeinated beverages will only hurt your sleep in the long run. Don’t drink them late in the day or before bed. In fact, try not to drink anything at all before bed, since it will make your nighttime bathroom trips more frequent. Small sips of water are okay at night to help keep hydrated.
4. Try to tame your tummy. Between nausea, heartburn, and indigestion, your GI tract is one of the big culprits for sleeplessness. You can help these issues by not eating a big meal right before bed- instead, make lunch or breakfast your biggest meal of the day. Don’t eat 2 hours before bed if you can help it. And if nausea is worse at night or early in the morning, keep some plain crackers next to your bed. I know that munching on water crackers first thing was all that kept me from having horrible nausea all day.
5. Get a handle on stress. The thing that kept me up most at night was a combination of stress and excitement. Am I forgetting to buy anything for the baby? What will she look like? How will my work respond? What if she’s born with 3 eyes? All those random pregnant-brain questions can really keep you up. That was why I’d wake up at 3am every single night during the third trimester. The best way to ward off these thoughts is to get relaxed. Practice deep breathing. Write down your ideas or worries so that you don’t obsess over them. Get some daily exercise to get those endorphins flowing (just don’t do it too close to bedtime). Whatever works for you personally!
6. Create a sleep haven. It’s easy to get into the habit of doing a lot of things from bed when you are pregnant. It’s just so easy to make phone calls, answer emails, and watch TV from bed! But doing so can send mixed signals to your body. Your body wants to sleep since you’re in the bed, and yet you are telling your brain to go full force. Instead, make your bed the place where you sleep only. Turn down all lights and shut off all electronics one hour before bed. Keep your room cool, dark, and quiet for the best sleep environment.
7. Embrace naps. If you are laying there at night and you simply can’t sleep no matter what, then get up and go do something. Maybe wash some of the baby’s clothes or even read a favorite book. You’ll get sleepy again eventually and you can go lay back down. Then, use a nap later in the day to make up for that lost sleep. Just remember to keep naps around an hour, since long naps will only make your sleeplessness worse.
All About Pregnancy Pillows
Like I mentioned before, one of the best and easiest fixes for poor sleep during pregnancy is a good pregnancy pillow.
If you’re like I was, though, you might be wondering why a normal pillow won’t do the trick. For my first pregnancy, I just used what pillows I had. 4 sizes, three filling types, and I still woke up sore.
So for my second pregnancy, I knew that I wanted to try a legit pregnancy pillow. I wanted something that gave actual support to my ever-changing body. I wanted a pillow that would stay put and not slide around the bed all night. And let me tell you, my pregnancy pillow worked! I woke up feeling more rested and less sore than I had in ages.
Pregnancy Pillow Shapes
The first thing to consider about pregnancy pillows is the shape that you’ll need. The whole purpose of a pregnancy pillow is to cushion and support certain areas of the body in order to relieve joint stress. Getting the right shape of pregnancy pillow will provide the right support in the right areas. In order to get the correct shape, answer these questions:
- Where do I ache most? Do your hips hurt when you lay down, or do your shoulders ache each morning?
- How much support do I need? If you are using regular pillows now, how many do you use? Where do you put them?
- What position do I usually sleep in? Back, tummy, or side? Or a combination of all?
Once you’ve answered those questions, you can sort of figure out what pillow shape you’d like best. The following is a breakdown of each pillow shape, beginning with the most supportive shape and ending with the least supportive shape.
U-Shaped Pregnancy Pillow
This pregnancy pillow will totally surround you with comfort. Measuring in at usually around 5 feet long, it provides plenty of padding from head to toe. It’s designed to give you both back and front support. This works well for people who usually like to sleep on their back but can’t during pregnancy. It gives your back the feeling of support, so you should feel relaxed enough to be able to sleep. Its extra spine support will also offer relief from those who wake up with a sore back at every morning . This pillow offers really good support for both your head, neck, back, hips, and legs. How you use this pillow depends on how you’re lying, but for most people, they will use it by cuddling into the middle and hugging one sidel. You straddle one side of the pillow in between your knees and hug it with your arms. Your head rests in the bottom of the u-shape, and the rest of the pillow goes around the back of your head and neck to support the back area.
- This is the most supportive pregnancy pillow.
- You don’t need any other pillows in the bed, since this supports everything.
- It will keep you cozy if you’re someone who likes to snuggle.
- It allows for pregnant bodies of many shapes and sizes.
- Good for moms who switch sides a lot at night
- Bigger size means bigger price tag.
- It takes up most of the bed (not doable in a queen bed unless you’re the only one).
- It can’t be used on a couch or small bed.
- Bulk makes it difficult to get up and use the bathroom.
C-Shaped Pregnancy Pillow
The c-shaped pregnancy pillow also offers total body support. However, the way you lay in this pillow is much different than the U-shaped pillow. There are two options: front position and back position. For back position, the bottom crook of the C goes between your legs, while the top crook of the C cradles the neck and head. The curve of the C snuggles into your back. This gives good support to the back and head, and offers a way to help align the hips so they don’t hurt. This position works best for those who need extra back support or who usually like to sleep on their back.
For front position, you simply flip the pillow. The bottom crook of the C-shape still goes between the legs. The large curve of the C goes in front to provide support for the belly and arms. The head and shoulders go into the top crook of the C. Most people don’t use the pillow this way, but it can still work. It provides better support for the belly as it gets heavier. The part of the pillow that goes between the hips will align the knees, hips, and back to give relief from lower back or hip pain. I had round ligament pain in my belly with my first pregnancy, and this position worked particularly well to help totally support my abdomen. However, it won’t cushion the back and support it, so if you have back pains, I’d recommend the back position.
- Very supportive pregnancy pillow.
- No other pillows needed for good support.
- Stays in place at night.
- Switch from front to back support.
- More expensive than smaller pillows.
- Takes up a good amount of space in the bed (still doable in a queen bed).
- Nothing in front for you to hold with your arms.
- Doesn’t offer back and belly support at the same time.
J-Shaped Pregnancy Pillow
The J-shaped pregnancy pillow works exactly like the C-shape pillow, except for it has one less cook. That means you can choose to put the hook of the J either at the top, with your head and neck on it, or at the bottom, in between your thighs and knees. Some J-shaped pillows will have another much smaller crook at the other end. So some J-shaped pillows are ultimately a lot like C-shaped pillows in design. Depending on how you use the pillow, it can offer full front or full back support. You can have the length of the pillow going either behind you or in front of you. However you use the pillow, it will provide support for your knees, hips, belly, neck, head, and spine.
- Very supportive for either the entire front or entire back.
- Can switch to either front or back.
- Middle range price is good
- Stays in place because of the hook.
- Takes up less space in bed.
- May need additional pillows for support.
- More expensive than a regular pillow.
- Angle of curve might be awkward depending on your size and height.
Full Length Pregnancy Pillow
The full-length pregnancy pillow is about the size and shape of a king size pillow. It’s usually a bit more padded and round than a regular king size pillow though. It comes in two different types: a straight type and a flexible type. The straight type is a traditional rectangle like a normal pillow, but it’s very long. It does not bend or twist. You can either put it behind you to support you from the back of your head all the way down to the behind your knees, or you can put it in front of you to support your head, shoulders, and nelly. It’s long enough so that you can usually get this pillow to fit both between your knees and up by your head.
The flexible type is usually made with a shiftable or bendable material. It allows you to twist it or bend it into whatever shape you need. Depending on what filling it has, it can be extremely supportive. This is nice because you can bend it to whatever shape you need on any given night. I find that a good way to use this pillow is to bend it in a sort of S-shape that’s similar to the curve of your body. Then you have a place to put your head, your belly, your knees, and your neck.
- Provides support for front of body.
- Takes up less space than any other pregnancy pillow (especially the flexible type).
- Usually decently priced.
- May need additional pillows for support for back.
- Doesn’t hook around to cradle either neck or lower back.
Wedge Pregnancy Pillow
The wedge pregnancy pillow offers more localized support. It’s the least supportive of all of the pregnancy pillows because of this. You can find wedge pillows in both a curved and triangular wedge. You use them by placing them in the spot where you need support. The most popular places are under your baby bump, behind your lower back, and between the knees. You can even use this pillow to prop up the normal pillow you use for your head. This will help to alleviate nausea, heartburn, and indigestion by keeping you more upright.
- Very inexpensive.
- Take up the least amount of space.
- Versatile uses.
- Easy to move around and travel with.
- Only provides support in one place at a time.
- Might not have enough of an angle to provide support early on in pregnancy.
- You’ll still need to buy pillows for head and other areas.
Pregnancy Pillow Features
Now that you’re well acquainted with the different shapes, let’s take a look at the other features that you might find. Things like washability, filling, size, and allergens are important. For example, you can pick the right shape of pillow, but it won’t do what your want it to do unless you’ve found the right filling and shape, too. When looking at these features, don’t forget that your belly will grow! Picking a pillow that works well in all trimesters and once the baby arrives will help you get the biggest bang for your buck. Here are some of the top features to think about.
Pregnancy Pillow Fillings
Like regular pillows, the available fillings depend on the type of pillow you buy. The type of filling will determine how firm your pillow is. And while a very soft and squishy pillow seems great, it might not do what it’s supposed to. The filling type also affects the airflow to the pillow and how hot it gets. Here’s a look at the most common fillings and how much support they give:
Polyester fiber. This is the most common type of filling for pregnancy pillows. It’s inexpensive and soft. A large amount of polyester fiber filling is required to make a pillow really firm, since it has so much give. The fibers will eventually break down and the support level will decline over time. Also, this is not a very breathable filling and can make you hotter when you use it.
Styrofoam beads. This is the other most common type of filling. These are often found in the cheaper pregnancy pillows. They are lightweight and provide good air flow. They also work well for adjusting to the body to provide more solid, customized support. The balls can make a bit of noise inside the pillow, so light sleepers will want to stay away from this noisy filling.
Microbeads. These work in a similar fashion to the styrofoam beads. The microbeads are much smaller though, and made from a soft plastic. They give the pillow the impression that it’s filled with sand, although it’s much, much lighter than sand. They offer moveable support with no noise, but a bit less breathability.
Memory foam. This is becoming a more and more popular filling for pregnancy pillows since it offers such firm, yet gentle support for the joints. It works by forming to your body when you lay on it. When you move, it goes back to it’s original shape. This is the most comfortable type of filing, but it doesn’t breathe well and traps heat.
Organic and natural fillings.These are not very common. Some natural fillings include cotton, wool, spelt, and kapok. These may offer a different level of support than other fillings, so try to test out a natural pillow before you buy it to make sure that it will still give you the support and breathability that you want.
Pregnant bodies sweat a lot. Especially at night under all those covers. As such, you need a pillow that you can keep fresh and clean. Check the tag to see if you can wash your pillow. Most of the larger pillows are spot clean only, while some smaller pillows have a machine washable insert. If it’s spot clean only, make sure it’s a fabric that’s easy to clean and won’t stain.
The best pillows have removable covers. Investing in an extra pillow cover for your pregnancy pillow is a good idea because it will keep your pillow from getting gross during your pregnancy. You’ll always have one cover to place on the pillow and one to place on it while you wash the other.
This feature is especially important if you want to use the pillow after pregnancy to help feed your baby. Spit up and spilled milk will combine with the sweat and other bodily fluids coming from your and your baby. A washable cover is a very good thing!
Pillow Size and Your Body Size
We’re all made in different shapes and sizes, just like the pregnancy pillows. So when you look at a pillow, keep in mind the size of the pillow relative to your own size. For example, if you are really tall, a pillow might be too short to be comfortable because it won’t cushion your body in the correct spot. If you have a large pregnancy bump, a wedge pillow alone might not be big enough to support that growing baby. For plus sized women, a U-shaped pillow will offer the most support for your whole body.
Keep in mind your bed when you shop. If you have a queen bed that you share with a partner, some of the larger pillows, like the C and U-shaped won’t work because they’ll take up the whole bed. Instead, maybe two smaller wedge pillows could work. Also keep in mind if you would want or need to travel with the pillow. Size is purely a matter of personal preference and need.
Possible Pillow Allergens
One last, minor consideration is allergens in the pillow. When you are pregnant, everything changes, including your sense of smell and your sensitivity to certain fabrics or fibers. Consider this when you buy a pillow. Maybe you love a pillow with microbeads, but the smell of plastic makes you ill. Or perhaps you usually like memory foam, but the fibers in the foam make your pregnant skin itch. The last thing you want is a pillow that you can’t use. Your best bet is to find a pillow that’s hypoallergenic. Look for both a pillow insert and a pillow cover that are free from common allergens. Hypoallergenic materials also help keep dust mites and other allergens from settling in your pillow.