Pregnancy is uncomfortable. Another life is growing within us and our bodies are moving and changing to accommodate this extra person. Back pain, ankle pain, indigestion, and especially sleeping interruptions are common.
But, there is a relief. A pregnancy support pillow can help relieve much of the tension and let you sleep a bit easier.
Pregnancy Pillows: Do They Work?
There are millions of women who will definitely say a pregnancy pillow helps. It can relieve back pain, help you sleep better, and take the pressure off of your growing stomach. Based on the millions of pregnancy pillow reviews, once you choose the pillow that works best for you, you won’t ever want to sleep without it again.
So many women feel a pregnancy pillow is worth it. Most women that start to sleep with one of these pillows continue to use it long after pregnancy.
While we talk mostly about sleeping pillows here, there are choices for pillows you sit on. These ring pregnancy pillows help take the pressure off the tailbone and genitals. They can help reduce tension in the hips and lower back. Most women that use them will use the pregnancy pillows on office chairs or other less padded surfaces. However, they are not very popular due to most pregnant women find comfort and relief in continuing to walk around.
There is speculation that the pregnancy pillow was invented long before written history. Within the oral history of many cultures, women use different props to help their back and stomachs as they sleep. Throughout history, pillows took on different sizes and different fillings.
Today, a pregnancy pillow can look like just about anything and take any shape. There are dozens of companies that make various types of pregnancy pillows for different reasons and different people. We don’t list them out here, but in some areas, you can find pregnancy pillows in the shape of hunky men, animals, and other odd objects.
Some of the most popular pregnancy pillows are the total body pillow. This type of pregnancy pillow allows various sleep positions and molds to your body. You can use this long pregnancy pillow for your knees, stomach, and head.
The dimensions of the various pregnancy pillows go from smaller ones that just support your stomach to ones that can completely wrap around your body from head to toe and back again. They tend not to be wide, just long. It is usually assumed a pregnant woman will be sleeping in her bed with a partner.
When a pregnancy pillow is needed, you feel it in your body. Many women feel the discomfort of their back and stomach as the body tries to adjust to the new life. Organs are pushed into smaller spaces and the muscles become extremely weak.
Using a body pillow during pregnancy allows you to rest more comfortably and take the pressure off your muscles. It can reduce the need for medications, which are dangerous to a growing baby.
Pregnancy pillow helps in other ways, too. Using the right pregnancy pillow not only helps you sleep, but it helps you sleep in the correct position. For example, a pregnancy pillow can help expecting women sleep on their side, rather than on their stomach which can be dangerous to the baby or on their back which can cause breathing difficulty.
You can also reduce your risk of snoring, heartburn, and water retention. Some pillows even help improve your circulation and lower your heart rate during sleep. And of course, a pregnancy pillow can help stimulate deep sleep by removing the tension of tossing around during sleep.
So, if you are experiencing any uncomfortable sensations during pregnancy, a pregnancy pillow can help. A good way to begin your search is to talk to your doctor about how to choose a pregnancy pillow that will help you out.
We’re going to tell you about the pros and cons of different pillows. Keep reading below.
Benefits and Drawbacks of a Pregnancy Pillow
C-Shaped Pregnancy Pillow
This is the first of the full-length pregnancy pillow. It is a long pregnancy pillow, being able to stretch your entire body, surrounding your head and going between your legs. You can use it to support your head, belly, knees, and hips. The C shaped pillow is designed to be used almost as if you’re riding it. The opening of the C is where your breasts stick out. It helps reduce pressure on your spine, keeps you upright, and fits between your legs to offer knee and hip support.
- Help reduce tossing and turning
- Supports the head
- Supports the hips
- May cause knee or ankle pain if left unsupported
63 x 29 x 7 inches
160 x 74 x 18 cm
Zippered Removable and Machine Washable Cover
Made of 100% Cotton
Polyester Hollow fiber
60 x 24.8 x 7.2 inches
152 x 63 x 18 cm
Sham-style Removable and Machine Washable Cover
Made of 65% Polyester and 35% Cotton
Polyester fiber fill
60 x 24.8 x 7.2 inches
152 x 63 x 18 cm
Zippered Removable and Machine Washable Cover
Made of 100% Cotton jersey or cotton-blend
Polyester fiber fill
We loved all of the 3 C shaped pregnancy pillows above. All 3 are comfortable and versatile. All 3 have great customer rating and lots of positive reviews. Leachco Snoogle Chic Jersey is the one we liked the most. It is almost the same pillow as the Leachco Snoogle Original but with a better cover. The cover of this one is made of 100% cotton and is easier to remove because it comes with a zipper. We liked it a bit more than the PharMeDoc one as it weighs less and is easier to adjust while sleeping.
U-Shaped Pregnancy Pillow
This type of pillow is a bit longer and surrounds your whole body. It can either be a U shape or a V-shaped pregnancy pillow. Many of the people who use this type of pillow say it is the best pregnancy pillow for hip pain. That’s because the opening of the U is between your feet. You’re able to turn side to side and still have the same support of your pillow.
It is a great pillow for breastfeeding, as you can wrap it around your body and use it as support for both yourself and the baby. This place works very well if you have trouble sitting upright watching TV or need extra support for your legs.
This is the most expensive type of pregnancy pillow because it is the biggest.
- Best support
- Can easily move without adjusting pillow
- Works great after pregnancy to support breastfeeding
- Impractical if limited on space
51 x 31.5 x 7.9 inches
130 x 80 x 20 cm
100% Cotton, Removable Cover with Double Zipper Lock
High Density, Extra Soft Bionic Polyethylene Filling
Leachco Back 'N Belly
51 x 33.5 x 8.8inches
130 x 85 x 22 cm
Removable and Machine Washable Cover,
Made of 65% Polyester and 35% Cotton (100% cotton cover with a zipper can be purchased separately)
BlueStone Full Body Maternity Pillow
60 x 38 x 7 inches
152 x 97 x 18 cm
Zippered Removable and Machine Washable Cover,
Made of 100% Cotton
Polyester Hollow Fiber
Queen Rose U Shaped Pregnancy Body Pillow is the one we liked the best. In our opinion, this pillow offers the best value for its price. It offers great support, has an easy to remove 100% cotton cover and is relatively light.
J-Shaped Pregnancy Pillow/L-Shaped Pregnancy Pillow
The J-shaped and L-shaped pillows are long pillows with a bend at the bottom. They support your whole body and you can use it as your regular pillow and knee support. Typically, these pillows tend to be wider then wrap around pillows.
Typically, chiropractors do not recommend these types of pillows because of the angle your neck needs to be in order to sleep on this pillow. It can cause just as many neck problems as it relieves back and hips problems. Although, using a regular pillow solves this problem.
This type of side pillow for pregnancy is perfect for people who tend to roll onto their front, as it can be used to support your stomach. However, if you tend to sleep on your back, a pillow that wraps around your back, like the U-shape or the C-shape would be better.
- Easily found
- Supportive from the front
- No support on the back
- No support for your head
S-Shaped Pregnancy Pillow
The shape of this pillow is designed and it is a larger version of the straight long pillow. Because of the S-shape, it can support many portions of your body. Ideally, you would use a regular head pillow for your head and allow this to curve around your body. Because of the shape, it can support your stomach, hips, and ankles. Basically, this pillow follows your body shape.
Many pediatricians recommend using a pillow between your knees. While this is ideal, the same pediatricians recognize that putting a pillow only between your knees puts extra pressure on your hips and ankles. The S-pillow allows your knees to float while supporting the hips and the ankles.
- Follows your body’s natural shape
- Supports chest, stomach, hips, knees, and ankles
- Moderately expensive
Wedge Shaped Pregnancy Pillow
This type of pill is in the shape of a wedge. It is the smallest of the pregnancy pillows for sleeping and is designed to tuck under your stomach or your back to deliver support throughout the night. They are also one of the cheapest options available. Many people enjoy these types of pillows because they’re very versatile even after you give birth.
These pregnancy belly pillows can help you remain upright while you’re watching TV, help position you better in a car, and under your regular pillow, where it’ll help reduce heartburn and reflux.
Many calls this pregnancy pillows Chiropractic pillows. Many chiropractors will recommend them to help people sleep well at night. These are some of the easiest travel pregnancy pillows, as they’re easily picked up and small. Using this pregnancy pillow in your car can help elevate your hips and reduce lower back pain.
There are two basic wedge type pillows, one that is rounded and one that is triangular. Because there are so many manufacturers of these type of pillows, they are very inconsistent in size and angle of slope. Fortunately, with the variation, you can choose which angle works best for you. The more expensive brands of wedge pillows will also have separate inserts to change the angle.
- Can use sleeping or sitting up
- Easiest to use
- Widely available, multiple angles
- Easiest to clean
- Only supports one part of the body
- Firmer materials have less give
hiccapop Pregnancy Pillow Wedge
13.2 x 15 x 4.5 inches
33.5 x 38 x 11.4 cm
Removable and Washable cover made of plush velboa fabric
High Density, Extra Soft Bionic Polyethylene filling
Boppy Pregnancy Wedge
14.8 x 12.1 x 4.3 inches
37.6 x 30.7 x 11 cm
Removable and Machine Washable pima cotton sleepcover
100% polyurethane foam
ProComf Wedge Memory Foam Pillow
12.3 x 11.1 x 4.1 inches
31.2 x 28.2 x 10.4 cm
100% Cotton Removable and washable Zip Cover
100 % visco-elastic memory foam
We liked the Boppy Pregnancy Wedge Pillow the most. As it turned out to be the lightest, had a 100% cotton cover that is easily removed and is firm enough to support a pregnant belly.
O-Shaped Pregnancy Pillow
Moving into exclusively non-sleep pillows, the O-shaped pregnancy pillows are designed to support your hips alone. This is a pregnancy pillow with a hole in the middle. It is designed to sit on and support your tailbone, reducing pain during your pregnancy.
Also called a pregnancy donut pillow, this type of pillow is very comfortable for traveling. It can help readjust your hips and knees during airplane rides or car rides.
For women who work in an office and sit on an office chair, this pillow can be a lifesaver. Placed on your chair, it can raise your hips up above your knees, which reduces back pain. It also takes an uncomfortable or mildly comfortable chair and turns it into something very comfortable.
In some cases, by removing the pressure off of the genitals, women find their bladders can hold more liquid for a longer period of time. This reduces the need to run to the bathroom as often.
- Best for sitting
- Reduces pressure on hips and legs
- Easy to use
- Not for sleeping
- Takes time to get used to
Milliard Foam Donut Pillow
20 x 15 x 3 inches
50.8 x 38.1 x 7.6 cm
Removable and Washable cover with an envelope closure
high quality foam with a density of 3.5 pounds and 20 ILD
Aylio Donut Seat
18 x 16 x 2.5 inches
45.7 x 40.6 x 6.35 cm
Removable and machine washable velour cover
100% polyurethane foam
~ 1 pound
Inflatable Donut cushion
Outer Diameter: 16 inches
Inner Hole Diameter: 5 inches
Outer Diameter: 40.6 cm
Inner Hole Diameter: 12.7 cm
machine washable cushion with an anti-slip cloth cover
Inflatable (comes with a pump)
Specialty Massage Pregnancy Pillow
They are also specialty massage pillows. These pillows tend to be very expensive and difficult to find if you are not a massage therapist. Basically, these pillows are very large, almost bed-like, with holes for the breasts and stomach allowing you to lay on your front. They are not recommended for sleeping since they tend to be several inches thick, which could cause you to fall off of the pillow if you are not careful.
Type of Fillings
There are many different types of fillings you can get with pillows. Some of the more expensive organic pregnancy pillows use natural fillings, such as natural cotton, feathers, spelt, and kapok and others use synthetic materials. Remember, just because it is natural, does not mean it is organic or healthy. In addition, if you are using more natural feelings, you have to be exceptionally careful not to allow mold or moisture to build up in the pillow.
Other types of fibers tend to be more hypoallergenic and remain free from growing mold. The most typical type of filling is either a Styrofoam ball filling or polyester fiber filling.
Styrofoam Ball Filling
The styrofoam balls are similar to what’s found in a bean bag chair. The easily adapt your weight and are very light. However, if you’ve ever used bean bag chair, you know they are very loud. These come in full-size beads or microbeads. Microbeads are much smaller than the regular styrofoam balls and are very quiet. However, many of these types of pillows tend to fall apart faster.
Polyester Fiber Filling
Polyester fiber filling is used in most pillows. It is soft and flexible. It will take the shape of your body when used often enough. You can also get it in various firmnesses depending on how full the feeling is. But, it does not breathe as well and can get very warm.
Memory foam is becoming much more popular. It allows for a pillow that is quite firm but will mold to your body very well. It does not breath well, nor does for the fast spring back time we have with the fiber fill, for those of us who find it difficult to get comfortable fast.
Best Pregnancy Pillow
It’s incredibly difficult to tell you about the best pregnancy pillow. What works for one woman would be very uncomfortable for another. So, if you can figure out which pregnancy pillow will work best for you, let us know in the comments and why you think it works best. This will help other women rate their pregnancy pillows for what will work.
Right now, we can tell you one of the best-rated pregnancy pillows are the full body pillows. The trend right now seems to favor pillows that stretch from your knees to your head and around your back. These are the C-shaped pillows and the U-shaped pillows.
But we want to let you know that this will change year to year. Just a couple of years ago, in 2013, the best pregnancy pillow was an S-shaped. In the late 1990s, the best pillow was the wedge. We’re sure in a couple of years what is considered best will change it again.
Below we're going to talk about some hacks that you can use before getting a pregnancy pillow. Take a look how you already sleep. Do you sleep on your side or your back? Do you like something between your knees? Do you like propping your head up? Do you like something against your back? A pregnancy pillow will do you no good if you’re not going to use it.
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Pregnancy Pillow Hacks
If you don’t think it is worth purchasing a specific pregnancy pillow, there are some things you can do on your own. A commercially made pregnancy pillow is not necessary. You can make a DIY pregnancy pillow following some simple patterns.
Pinterest also has hundreds of ideas and patterns you can use to make your own pregnancy pillow at home.
Other women just use a regular pillow or blanket. They can be molded to your needs and there is something satisfying about being surrounded by a pile of blankets.
Pregnancy Pillow Care
We sweat, cough, and sneeze (and sometimes pee a bit) in bed. Pregnant women know there is a fine line between being comfortable and needing to get up right now because they are hot, uncomfortable, or need to pee.
Then, if you have pets, there is dog hair and cat hair. Yes, there are risks of having pets around when you are pregnant, but most people agree having a pet is good for you and your health. All the benefits of having a pet when you are not pregnant are the same as when you are: lower blood pressure, more relaxed, responsibility training, and comfort. These same benefits are passed onto your children when they come into the world.
To combat these problems of cleanliness, there are various pregnancy pillow covers and pillowcases. Most pregnancy pillows are filled with a material that is not easily washed. There are some pregnancy pillows you can wash, so be sure to read the labels. We recommend buying a cover simply because it is easier to keep clean.
Where to Buy Pregnancy Pillow
You can find many places to purchase your pillows. Some of the bigger pillows can only be ordered through websites or doctors offices. Other pillows can be found anywhere from Amazon * to Wal-Mart.
Pregnancy pillow prices range from the cheap pregnancy body pillow at less than $20 US to large, organic, fully formed pillows that cost several hundred.
Here are our recommendations: