SleepFoundation.org readers get 10% off with code: SF10
Sleepfoundation.org is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Pregnancy is hard on your body. As you progress through the weeks in your first, second, and third trimesters, bodily discomforts are likely to appear. This can make getting a good night’s rest feel almost impossible, especially once you’re no longer able to sleep on your stomach or back. But getting a full night’s sleep is just as important, if not more so, when you’re pregnant.
Pregnancy pillows can bring some much-needed relief to sleep-deprived expecting mothers. These specialized pillows are designed to support your growing stomach, while making the doctor-recommended side sleeping position a bit more comfortable. We’ll break down the various shapes and intended functions of pregnancy pillows, and how to choose the best one for your needs.
SleepFoundation.org readers get 10% off with code: SF10
The Pregnancy Pillow Co. U-Shape Body Pillow is a versatile model that accommodates women through some of the discomforts typically experienced during pregnancy.
The pillow is filled with a cotton and polyester blend, which offers a medium firmness that is soft enough to cuddle but firm enough to lend support. The U-shape is ideal for side sleeping, which is the doctor-recommended sleep position for pregnant women. This shape provides ample support for legs, hips, and the belly, which are all areas susceptible to increased pressure as the body changes during pregnancy.
Measuring 23.5 x 47 inches, the pillow offers contouring comfort for the entire body. The U-shape allows restless sleepers to switch from side to side and maintain support without needing to relocate the pillow. The cotton cover is zippered and machine-washable. Cotton is a naturally breathable fabric, which may appeal to women who sleep hot or who find themselves running hotter than usual while pregnant.
Pregnancy Pillow Co. allows customers to return pillows within 7 days, minus return shipping costs.
Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Yogasleep pillows
If you’re thinking of purchasing a pregnancy pillow but are not sure it’s worth the investment, the Yogasleep Horseshoe Pillow might be an appealing option. The pillow has a thoughtful construction and reasonable price-point compared to pillows of similar quality.
The pillow is 28 inches long by 30 inches wide, with a U-shaped design that provides support to your head, neck, stomach, and knees, all of which are impacted during pregnancy. The pillow has a 7-inch loft and is especially supportive for the side sleeping position, which is the position that doctors recommend for pregnant women.
The breathable down alternative fill shouldn’t overheat at night, which is an important feature for women who may feel hotter than normal during pregnancy. The medium firmness is a good fit for women seeking a soft, moldable pillow to contour with their body. The cover is made with a rayon from bamboo velour fabric, and it is removable and machine-washable.
Ground shipping is free for orders over $30. Yogasleep offers a 101-day trial, during which customers may return the pillow for a full refund, including return shipping costs. The pillow also comes with a limited 1-year warranty.
Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Yana pillows
The Yana Sleep Pillow has a comfortable combination of support and pressure relief that expectant mothers may find beneficial. Though it has a higher-than-average price-point, shoppers looking for a durable, high-quality pregnancy pillow may find the Yana Sleep Pillow a worthy investment.
The Yana Pillow has a U-shape that’s flexible and can be used in multiple positions. Side sleepers can rest in the middle of the two arms so that they’re supported on both the front and back of their bodies. People suffering from knee or lumbar pain can position the arms to rest beneath those areas for added support.
The pillow’s fill is crafted from shredded latex, which is known for its durability, responsiveness, and pressure relief. Latex is typically a suitable option for those who want to alleviate discomfort from pressure points but prefer a surface that has slightly more bounce than memory foam. Sleepers are able to add and remove the latex fill as needed to create a comfortable loft level.
Hot sleepers should find that this pillow stays cool throughout the night, thanks to its latex fill and bamboo-derived cover. Users can machine wash the cover, though the pillow’s 16-pound weight means it’s too heavy for a washing machine and should only be spot cleaned. Shoppers can return unopened pillows within 30 days of purchase to receive a full refund.
Best for Side Sleepers
Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Belly Bandit pillows
The Belly Bandit S.O.S. Sleep-on-Side Pregnancy Pillow has a unique design that adjusts to fit your changing body throughout your entire pregnancy. The pillow set includes three pieces– two differently shaped wedge pillows and a velcro belt they attach to. The pillow’s fill is 100% polyfoam that cushions and relieves pressure.
This OB-GYN-designed pillow works to promote blood and oxygen flow from mother to baby. The taller wedge sits vertically behind you to prevent you from rolling onto your back, while the flatter wedge cradles and supports your stomach.
Its design is particularly useful for back sleepers who want to transition to side sleeping during pregnancy. You can customize it to accommodate your body’s changing size by moving the wedge pillows along the velcro belt as needed.
The pillow is easy to disassemble and pack into the included travel case. Belly Bandit recommends hand washing the removable rayon, spandex, and polyester cover. Shoppers in all 50 states who spend over $50 qualify for free shipping. Pillows in new condition can be returned within 30 days of purchase for a full refund minus a small handling fee.
Use this SleepFoundation.org link for the most current discount on Manta Sleep pillows
Sleepers who want a pillow versatile enough to use before, during, and after pregnancy may find that the Manta Sleep Body Pillow fits the bill. The pillow is filled with soft polyester that comfortably aligns your hips and joints. While the pillow works particularly well for pregnant sleepers who need pressure relief, Manta Sleep also recommends the Body Pillow for those who suffer from sciatica, fibromyalgia, gastric reflux, and joint pain.
The pillow is quite large. Its U-shape design is 60 inches long and 38 inches wide. It offers full-body support and can be used for both sleeping and lounging. Each arm features a contoured, ergonomic shape that works equally well as a pillow or bolster. Side sleepers fit snugly between the two arms while back sleepers can adjust the arms to rest at their side or under their knees.
The 100% cotton cover can be machine washed and dried. Manta Sleep offers free shipping to the contiguous U.S. and international shipping to other locations begins at $5. The Body Pillow has a 60-day money-back guarantee and a 6-month limited warranty.
A pregnancy pillow is a sleep accessory designed to support the changing bodies of expecting mothers, help them attain a comfortable resting position, and get more sleep. Pregnancy places a great deal of strain on the body, especially as the pregnancy progresses. Additional weight often stresses the back and joints, including the hips, knees, and ankles. This can cause aches and pains that make getting a full night’s rest difficult.
Pregnancy pillows are specifically designed to accommodate the contours of the pregnant body and provide support where it’s needed most. These pillows can be found in many different shapes and sizes to accommodate each sleep position and help prevent aches and pains. The most common types include C- and U-shaped full body pillows that provide support to the entire body, and wedge pillows that can be used to strategically support a single area like the midsection or back.
While a pregnancy pillow is not a necessity, it may be a suitable choice if you’re experiencing sleep disturbances as your pregnancy progresses. Sleep is important for your physical health, especially when your body is hard at work supporting the growth of another life.
As your pregnancy progresses, good sleep can be harder to come by. Expecting mothers are often prone to symptoms such as back and joint pain, heartburn, and sleep apnea. These symptoms can worsen as you reach your third trimester.
Getting comfortable at night is often key to being able to fall asleep and stay asleep. You can try to add extra cushioning with additional standard pillows, but a pregnancy pillow is specially designed to accommodate the shape of your pregnant body.
If one or more of the many discomforts of pregnancy are keeping you from getting a full night of sleep, a pregnancy pillow is worth considering. But with so many choices, including different sizes, materials, and unusual shapes, it’s hard to know which is the right model for you. We’ll examine the most important factors to consider when choosing the best pregnancy pillow.
Knowing exactly what to look for in a pregnancy pillow will largely depend on your own personal needs, including where you need support the most, but some properties are universal. Since bedding companies don’t alway use plain language to describe their products, it can be difficult to decipher the major differences between models. We’ll cover the most important factors to consider so that you can find a pregnancy pillow that works for you.
Your preferred sleep position will come into play when choosing a pillow. While pregnant, sleeping on your left side is recommended by doctors. Stomach sleeping becomes nearly impossible as your stomach grows, and back sleeping can restrict circulation. Sleeping on your left side places the least amount of strain on your body.
For this reason, the majority of pregnancy pillows are designed to make side sleeping more comfortable, including C-shaped and U-shaped pillows.
The right pillow loft is critical to healthy spinal alignment, and it can also help with snoring. A model that is too thick might push the head up, while one that is too thin could allow the head to droop, either of which could contribute to airway constriction and increased snoring.
The ideal loft depends primarily on body type and sleep position. Sleepers with broader shoulders and/or heavier heads usually need a thicker pillow to fill the space between their mattress and head and neck while providing adequate support, and those with narrower shoulders and/or smaller heads often need a thinner model for support without excessive lift.
The amount of support a pregnancy pillow provides depends largely on its shape. Full body pillows can support multiple parts of your body and oversized models will essentially cradle you from head to toe. Smaller pillows like wedges may be firmer, but they only offer support to one area.
Different pillow models will provide varying levels of firmness. Pillows made from polyester fiber fill tend to be softer and are a good option if you only need a bit of extra cushioning. Foam-based pillows are generally firmer and may provide additional support to the lower back and stomach.
Pressure relief refers to how well a pillow molds to the shape of your body and alleviates pressure points. This is especially important for pregnant women dealing with chronic body aches.
Pregnancy pillows generally fall into two main categories: body pillows and smaller support pillows. Body pillows, including C- and U-shaped pillows, are designed to offer support to the head, neck, abdomen, back, and knees. While body pillows can be quite bulky, they make side sleeping easier. In contrast, smaller support pillows, including wedge-shaped ones, are meant to provide concentrated support to a single area.
Pregnancy pillows generally cost less than $100, but it’s important to remember that price isn’t the only factor that should be considered. While quality can sometimes correlate with price, many well-made pregnancy pillow options are available for under $50. If you’re on a limited budget, you may want to consider a smaller, less expensive support pillow, like a wedge.
Materials impact a pillow’s durability, breathability, level of support, and firmness. Polyester is the most common type of material used for both the cover and fill in pregnancy pillows. Polyester-based fabrics and fills are generally affordable, durable, and can come in many textures and levels of firmness. Foam is a good choice if you’re looking for a pillow that provides firmer support coupled with pressure relief.
As your body changes during your pregnancy, it’s important to consider every level of comfort that your pillow can provide. Certain materials are more likely to help promote airflow to prevent you from overheating as you sleep. Polyester-based materials are often breathable, making them ideal for pregnancy body pillows. Memory foam is the most likely to trap heat, and tends to be more suitable for smaller pillows.
You can find pregnancy pillows in all types of shapes. A pillow’s shape will determine the
type of support it provides. Some shapes are designed to support your entire body from head to toe, while smaller models bolster specific areas such as the back or stomach. You’ll need to consider where you need support the most in order to choose the shape that’s best for you. We’ll take a closer look at the most common pregnancy pillow styles on the market.
C-Shaped: This style of pillow is long, thin, and curved. The C-shape is one of the most versatile styles of pregnancy pillows. It’s not very bulky and its shape allows you to arrange it in different ways depending on where you need support. You can lay it out lengthwise to create a full body pillow to cuddle while side sleeping, or fold it in half and use it to support your stomach, back, knees, or shoulders.
Wedge Pillows: Wedge pillows are the most compact style of pregnancy pillow. While they don’t offer full-body support, you can use these inexpensive pillows to strategically bolster various parts of your body. These are especially useful for providing support to your stomach and back. You can also couple one or more wedge pillows with a larger pregnancy pillow for additional support.
U-Shaped: U-shaped pillows are designed to cradle your entire body. With your head placed at the bottom of the U, this style of pillow provides secure support for your head and neck, as well as both sides of your body. Although rather bulky, the U-shape design still offers some level of versatility. In the early stages of pregnancy, you can sleep comfortably on your back and then transition to side sleeping with excellent support for your stomach, back, and knees.
Inflatable Pillows: Inflatable pillows are typically the largest pregnancy pillows available and are designed to accommodate stomach sleepers. If you’re a lifelong stomach sleeper, having to suddenly change your sleep style on top of the other discomforts associated with pregnancy may be difficult. Inflatable pillows provide full-body cushioning with a hole in the center to fit your baby bump.
Other Styles: Bedding companies can get creative when it comes to the shape of pregnancy pillows, so shoppers may come across unique shapes that don’t fit into any of the above categories. Other shapes include the teardrop, designed as a small, versatile support pillow, and the barbell shape, designed to promote side sleeping.
Pregnancy pillows can differ significantly in their composition, including the materials used to make the cover and the interior filling. The type of material used will have an impact on the feel and performance of the pillow.
Many snorers find relief with the right pillow since it can change their position. Lifting the head and neck often makes gravity work in the sleeper’s favor, allowing their throat muscles to relax without blocking the airway.
We want you to get the best night’s sleep possible, which can be done under a medical professional’s guidance. Talk to your doctor for help determining the cause of your snoring and charting a course of action.
|Polyester Fiberfill||Polyester fiberfill is a lofty material made from polyester. It is commonly used as a fill material in larger pregnancy pillows, as it provides soft, yet supportive comfort and ample airflow. Polyester fiberfill is also relatively inexpensive, hypoallergenic, and easy to clean.|
|Memory Foam||Memory foam is known for its excellent contouring properties. It molds to the curves of the body while providing support. However, some memory foam formulations can stifle airflow and retain heat. For this reason, memory foam is typically reserved for smaller pregnancy pillows like wedges.|
|Polyfoam||Polyfoam provides contouring and support but tends to be firmer and less conforming than memory foam. This can result in more robust support for the back or stomach.|
|Microbeads||Smaller pregnancy pillows may be stuffed with microbeads. This material is made from small, round pieces of polystyrene and offers excellent contouring.|
Scroll L – R for more details
|Cotton||Cotton is a breathable natural fiber that is easy to clean. It absorbs moisture and typically feels soft to the touch. Many higher-end pregnancy pillows feature organic cotton covers.|
|Polyester||Polyester is a synthetic fabric that’s highly versatile. Manufacturers can formulate polyester fabrics to have different textures as well as an elastic stretch, a good feature for larger pillow covers.|
Scroll L – R for more details
A pregnancy pillow may help you find a comfortable position and fall asleep more easily. However, many other factors impact your sleep quality, including your sleep position, sleep surface, overall sleep hygiene, and the temperature of your room.
Sleep on Your Side: Many doctors recommend that expecting mothers sleep on their left sides, as they consider this sleep position to be the safest during pregnancy. Sleeping on your back can restrict blood flow, while sleeping on your right side can place strain on your liver. Sleeping on your stomach becomes virtually impossible as the pregnancy progresses.
Keep Your Bedroom Cool: There’s evidence that indicates that sleeping in a cool room can help you fall asleep quickly. The body experiences a natural drop in core temperature in the evening as part of the circadian rhythm. Mimicking this effect by setting your thermostat to around 65 degrees may help you fall asleep faster.
Choose the Right Mattress: While a pillow will help improve your body positioning as you sleep, you’ll still want to ensure that you are sleeping on a supportive mattress. The best mattresses for pregnancy tend to offer excellent pressure relief and a cool sleep surface that help prevent you from overheating during the night.
Focus on Sleep Hygiene: Proper sleep hygiene is one of the most significant ways you can improve your sleep. Establishing a nightly routine that helps you wind down and prepare for sleep may be beneficial for your sleep quality during pregnancy and postpartum.
Pregnancy pillows typically cost between $30 to $70. In comparison to standard pillows, which often carry a price tag of $100 or more, pregnancy pillows are relatively inexpensive. This is beneficial, as you may only use this type of pillow for a short period of time during the later stages of your pregnancy.
Smaller pregnancy pillow models tend to be less expensive, and you may be able to find wedge pillows for less than the average price. Larger models, such as full body pregnancy pillows, tend to be slightly higher in price. As price is not the only indicator of quality, keep in mind that you can still find excellent pregnancy pillows at affordable price-points.
Some pregnancy pillows can be placed directly into the washing machine, but most come with a removable cover that you take off and wash. As with any type of bedding, it’s important to consider how easy a pregnancy pillow is to clean before you buy.
Being able to place your entire pillow in the wash will ensure it’s cleaned thoroughly, but not all washing machines can accommodate the size of a pregnancy body pillow. Removable covers are ideal if you have a smaller washing machine, but they can be difficult to remove and put back on in the case of a larger or unusually shaped pillow.
A pregnancy pillow that promotes airflow and is made from hypoallergenic materials such as down alternative, memory foam, or other synthetic fabrics will be the best for allergy sufferers. Allergies are typically caused by a sensitivity to allergens such as dust mites, pet dander, pollen, or mold, and they can have a significant impact on how well you sleep.
If you’re prone to allergies, make sure to find a pregnancy pillow that won’t aggravate the issue. Down and feathers tend to irritate existing allergies. Synthetic materials such as polyester and foam often work well for people with allergies. Some natural materials are also promoted as having hypoallergenic properties.
A cover with a tight weave may help protect your pillow from absorbing allergens. Cleaning your pillow regularly can also help prevent the buildup of dust mites, pollen, pet dander, and mold.
The Sleep Foundation editorial team is dedicated to providing content that meets the highest standards for accuracy and objectivity. Our editors and medical experts rigorously evaluate every article and guide to ensure the information is factual, up-to-date, and free of bias.
The Sleep Foundation fact-checking guidelines are as follows: