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The Best Pregnancy Pillows for an Amazing Night’s Sleep

Once you try a pregnancy pillow, you won’t want to give it up.
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Updated
May 8, 2022
the best pregnancy pillows 2022
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Does this sound like a familiar scene? You’re exhausted and can’t wait to crawl into bed, but when you do, your ever-growing bump is right there, creating a wedge between you and a good night’s sleep. While you might have dismissed a pregnancy pillow as an unnecessary purchase (after all, you have plenty of pillows already!), a great maternity pillow is actually engineered to ease the discomfort of pregnancy and cradle you off to Dreamland. Most support your belly, of course, but others target hip or back pain, because let’s face it: Carrying a baby for nine months takes a toll on more than just your midsection. So how can you find the right one for you? Keep reading for tips on how to shop for and use a maternity pillow, plus a roundup of the best pregnancy pillows on the market right now.

How to Use a Pregnancy Pillow

Regular pillows serve as a headrest, but the best pregnancy pillows are designed to ease various body aches. You can start to use a maternity pillow at any time during your pregnancy, although many moms-to-be appreciate the support beginning in the second trimester, when your bump is larger and it becomes important to sleep on your side instead of your back. “I recommend starting to use the pillow around 28 weeks when the weight of the uterus and baby is heavy enough to possibly compress the major blood vessel,” says Christian Pope, DO, FACG, an ob-gyn at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Too much pressure on the inferior vena cava can inhibit blood flow causing low blood pressure, nausea and other unpleasant symptoms. “The effects of low blood pressure on the baby can also be dangerous if it occurs for prolonged periods of time,” explains Pope. Health concerns aside, the common aches and pains of pregnancy tend to kick in after your first trimester is behind you.

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So how do you actually use a pregnancy pillow? “I usually recommend placing a soft pillow under your right hip and buttock to tilt the body to the left a little,” says Pope. Although you can certainly use a regular pillow to position yourself this way, there are a few styles designed specifically for expectant mothers. We’ve listed the four main types below, plus tips on how to use them:

U-shaped pregnancy body pillow

This pregnancy pillow is the size of your body and, as the name implies, is shaped like a contoured U (with you nestled in the center). This style of pillow does it all, supporting your head, neck, back, hips, legs and bump.

Depending on sleep position, you can use it to prop yourself up if you’re a back-sleeper or sandwich your front and back once you begin sleeping on your side in the second trimester, with the edge of the pregnancy pillow tucked between your legs. You can slip your arm underneath the pillow and rest your head right on top. Keep in mind that this type of pregnancy pillow will take up a good amount of space (hopefully your partner won’t mind welcoming it into your bed!).

C-shaped pregnancy body pillow

This is another type of large pregnancy body pillow, but it’s shaped like a C instead of a U. Some C-shaped pregnancy pillows curve around your entire body to support both your back and bump, while others contour your front only. This pillow is used when sleeping on your side—rest your head at the top, prop up your bump (and possibly back) with the side and tuck the bottom of the C between your legs.

Pregnancy wedge pillow

A wedge is much smaller and less expensive than other pregnancy pillows; it’s designed to support a targeted area—typically your bump or back. To use it, slip the wedge under your belly to relieve the weight of your bump, or tuck it behind you to ensure you don’t roll over flat onto your back overnight. (If you enjoy spooning with your partner but need some support for your bump, this is a great cuddle-friendly pick.)

Inflatable pregnancy pillow

This is the largest pregnancy pillow option available and can feel like a life raft (as if you need to be literally rescued from aches and pains). This option isn’t necessarily the most practical, but it can be a good choice for stomach sleepers who have exhausted the alternatives. These often have a hole in which you can rest your pregnant belly. To use, simply inflate, and settle in.

Considerations When Shopping for a Pregnancy Pillow

Before you buy the first thing you see marketed as the best pregnancy pillow, you’ll want to consider a few key factors:

  • Sleep position. Are you a side sleeper, back sleeper or stomach sleeper? While stomach sleepers have obvious challenges getting comfy in bed, back and side sleepers have different hurdles to overcome.

  • Firmness and support. Do you like firm foam or a softer fill? What’s going to feel best against your back or bump? If you’re picky about firmness and density, pay extra attention to find a pregnancy pillow that meets your needs.

  • Fabric. If you like high-quality bed linen, it’s important to think about fabric. Cotton or bamboo is soft and naturally breathable, making it a good option for people that run hot. Whereas pillows made with polyester tend to be cheaper. Bear in mind that you’ll be sleeping with this pillow every night for months—so it’s a good idea to opt for one with a removable and machine-washable cover.

Best Pregnancy Pillows

Ready to start shopping? Somewhere on this list is the best pregnancy pillow for you. A good night’s sleep is waiting!

Image: Boppy

Overall best pregnancy pillow

Prepare to be blissed out by Boppy’s Total Body Pillow. Its C-shape cradles you from tip to toe. One end is for your head and neck; the other tucks between your legs to realign your hips as you sleep. It earns a place on our list of best pregnancy pillows because it’s soft enough to fold into any position and comes in handy during waking hours too; tuck one side behind you on the couch, and use the other end as a lap desk, for instance. The best part? Both the cotton slipcover and the inside pillow are machine-washable. Is it any wonder this pillow won a Best of Pregnancy award in 2022?

Things we love:

  • Contoured shape supports head, neck, back, hips and tummy
  • Pillow and cover are machine-washable
  • Affordable option

Things to consider:

  • 100 percent polyester fill
  • Some customers report that the pillow loses its shape with frequent use

Buy it: Boppy Total Body Pillow, $55, buybuyBABY.com

Image: Yana Sleep

Best organic pregnancy pillow

If earth-friendly fabrics are at the top of your requirement list, the best pregnancy pillow for you is this Yana pick, crafted from all-natural materials. The U-shaped pillow is made from a shredded latex filling, topped with an organic cotton-bamboo blend cover that’s removable and washable. If you run hot, the breathable fabric will keep you cool and comfortable through the night. Although this body pillow can be used by anyone, expectant moms are sure to appreciate the ergonomic curved interior—it’ll provide the perfect amount of support and pressure relief. In fact, pregnant moms rated this pillow so highly it was voted a Readers Favorite in this year’s Best of Pregnancy Awards.

What we love:

  • Removable cover
  • Moldable pillow retains its shape
  • Made from OEKO-TEX certified non-toxic materials
  • Two fill options available: a temperature-controlling shredded latex or a lightweight cooling-gel

Things to consider:

  • Not specifically designed for pregnancy

Buy it: Yana 360° Body Pillow, $199, YanaSleep.com

Image: PharMeDoc

Overall best pregnancy pillow

Our next pick, made by PharMeDoc, won our 2021 Best of Pregnancy award for top pregnancy pillow. The C-shaped pillow surrounds you completely, front and back. Use it to sleep in any position as your aches and pains shift during pregnancy. You can even adjust it into a sitting position for nursing postpartum. Better yet, the pillow comes with a 100 percent jersey-knit cotton cover that’s machine-washable. Still not convinced? This product has thousands of five-star reviews on Amazon, with one happy customer saying that it was “one of the best purchases of my life.” High praise indeed!

What we love:

  • Affordable option
  • Removable and machine-washable cover
  • Cooling fabric absorbs and dissipates heat
  • You can adjust the pillow into a sitting position, perfect for nursing postpartum

Things to consider:

  • Large pillow takes up a lot of space

Buy it: PharMeDoc Pregnancy C-Shape Full Body Pillow, $50, Amazon.com

Image: Boppy

Best pregnancy pillow for side sleepers

Need a pregnancy pillow that’s supportive but won’t take over your entire bed? Meet the Boppy side sleeper pregnancy pillow. This compact style, designed for expectant moms who aren’t natural side sleepers, takes the strain off your belly and back and prevents rolling. It has a stretchy panel in the middle that’ll keep the two side cushions firmly in place all night long, meaning you won’t have to rearrange your pillows at 2 a.m. Score! Plus, this style has tons of rave reviews. One mom-to-be wrote: “I am a first-time mom and really wanted a great pregnancy pillow. I didn’t have the space for the large body pillow and chose this one instead. I am so happy!”

What we love:

  • Affordable option
  • Compact design doesn’t take up much space
  • Pillow and cotton cover are machine-washable

Things to consider:

  • Doesn’t offer full-body support
  • Some customers note that the exterior tags and zippers irritated their skin

Buy it: Boppy Side Sleeper Pregnancy Pillow, $35, Boppy.com

Image: Leachco

Best pregnancy pillow for back pain

Combat pregnancy-induced back pain with the Leachco Back 'N Belly pillow. The U-shape style offers equal support for your back and belly, and helps align your hips to reduce back strain. The pillow has inner contours designed to hug your natural curves, with a supportive wedge for your neck, shoulders and baby bump. And, like many of the best pregnancy pillows, this option has a removable cover that’s machine-washable.

What we love:

  • Cotton cover has a 300-thread count
  • Contoured design supports belly, hips and back

Things to consider:

  • Polyester filling
  • Pillow is heavy and takes up a lot of space

Buy it: Leachco Back 'N Belly Chic Supreme Contoured Body Pillow, $133, Wayfair.com

Image: Belly Bandit

Best pregnancy pillow for back sleepers

Expectant moms who are used to sleeping on their backs can have a hard time adjusting to side sleeping. That’s where this Belly Bandit pregnancy pillow comes in. Developed by an ob-gyn, this style makes side sleeping simple, and allows for optimal blood and oxygen flow to baby. It has an ergonomic foam back pillow designed to prevent rolling that’s connected to a super-soft wedge to support your belly via an adjustable velcro band. Genius!

What we love:

  • Comes in a travel case
  • Wedge pillow supports belly
  • Compact design doesn’t take up much space
  • Ergonomically correct “no rollover foam” prevents moms from rolling onto their back
  • Adjustable velcro band accommodates any size or stage of pregnancy

What to consider:

  • More expensive option
  • Cover is hand-wash only

Buy it: Belly Bandit S.O.S. Side Sleeper Pregnancy Pillow, $90, BellyBandit.com

Image: Moonlight Slumber

Best U-shaped pregnancy pillow

The best pregnancy pillows mold to your body, offering versatile, comfortable support. This option from Moonlight Slumber, checks every box on our must-have list. It’s made with a synthetic down called Fusion Fiber that’s soft and lightweight but still holds its shape after numerous washes. Users say this U-shaped pregnancy pillow helps alleviate back pain, even calling it a chiropractic pregnancy pillow. One pregnant mama, who heard about the maternity pillow from her chiropractor said, “It’s helped immensely with round ligament and pelvic pain. Plus, it allows me to easily flip from one side to the other all night without having to readjust.”

What we love:

  • Multiple cover options
  • Offers 360-degree support
  • Pillow and cover are machine-washable

What we consider:

  • Pillow takes up a lot of space (62” x 44”)

Buy it: Moonlight Slumber Comfort U Total Body Support Pillow, $110, ModernNursery.com

Image: Frida Mom

Best multi-purpose pregnancy pillow

If you want an ultra-adaptable option, this is the best pregnancy pillow for you. The unique, jointed pillow can be twisted, bent and squished into your preferred shape for optimal comfort. Plus, the dual-fabric construction offers adaptable belly support depending on your needs. One side of the pillow is made with a stretchy fabric that contours to your body during the second and third trimester; the other, non-stretch side, holds your belly in place in the last few weeks of pregnancy. One other feature we love? The breathable, microbead filling that’ll keep you cool all night long.

What we love:

  • Compact, adaptable design
  • Removable, machine-washable cover
  • Cooling microbead fill absorbs and disperses heat
  • It can be adjusted for use as a C-, L-, I- and U-shaped pregnancy pillow

Things to consider:

  • Some customers report that the pillow doesn’t hold its shape

Buy it: Frida Mom Adjustable Keep-Cool Pregnancy Pillow in Grey, $70, buybuyBABY.com

Image: Coop Home Goods

Best memory foam pregnancy pillow

If you love firm bedding, this memory-foam pregnancy pillow is the one for you. Designed for people of all shapes and sizes—including pregnant women—this option has a medium-density filling that can be molded to suit your needs. Position it in front of you for your bump, behind you for your back or between your legs for your hips—wherever you need the most support. Plus, the soft, bamboo fabric is naturally hypoallergenic, so it won’t irritate sensitive skin.

What we love:

  • Machine-washable cover
  • Removable fill for your preferred density
  • GREENGUARD Gold and CertiPUR-US certified—meaning its passed rigorous testing for harmful chemicals

Things to consider:

  • Some customers report that it can be hot to sleep with
  • Large, heavy pillow may make it difficult to shift positions at night

Buy it: Coop Original Body Pillow, $80, CoopHomeGoods.com

Image: 1 Middle One

Best affordable pregnancy pillow

For those less than eager to spend a lot of money on a pillow, this is one of the best pregnancy pillows to snag on a budget. Basically, you can get a pregnancy body pillow for the cost of most replacement pillow cases. It features a C-shape design that’ll support you throughout your pregnancy (and beyond!) and comes with a velvety-soft cover that has hundreds of tiny air vents for air circulation. And if it gets grubby, you can toss the cover in the washing machine.

What we love:

  • Filling can be adjusted
  • Three-layer fabric promotes air circulation
  • It can also be used as a nursing pillow

What to consider:

  • Some customers report that the full-length seam irritates sensitive skin
  • Pillow needs to be removed from the packaging and allowed to relax for several hours before first use

Buy it: 1 MIDDLE ONE Pregnancy Pillow, $34, Amazon.com

Image: Boppy

Best pregnancy wedge pillow

This compact wedge pillow from Boppy supports your bump as you sleep, but it helps in other ways too; women have been known to place it against their backs for lumbar support as they sit at a desk, or rest their knees on it as they lie on a couch. Its small size makes it easy to carry around the house, and the low price means you could have one at home and one at work. Talk about genius design!

What we love:

  • Affordable option
  • Compact, portable design
  • Cover is machine-washable

What to consider:

  • Pillow is spot-clean only
  • It doesn’t offer full-body support
  • Some customers report that the pillow doesn’t stay in place at night

Buy it: Boppy Jersey Wedge, $20, Boppy.com

Image: Cozy Bump

Best pregnancy pillow for stomach sleepers

We feel you, stomach sleepers. If you don’t mind looking like you’re white water rafting belly-down while you sleep, this inflatable pregnancy pillow with a hole in the center might be right for you. (You’ll get over any silliness you feel once you get a good night’s sleep!) Adjust the amount of air in it to suit your comfort as your belly grows. Desperate times call for desperate measures—and if you really need sleep, it’s worth a try!

What we love:

  • It can be used as a pool float or as a pregnancy massage table

What to consider:

  • Pillow needs to be inflated
  • Some customers dislike the plastic smell
  • Sleeping on your stomach is not recommended during pregnancy

Buy it: Cozy Bump Pregnancy Pillow, $90, Amazon.com

About the expert:

Christian Pope, DO, FACG, is an ob-gyn at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford, Massachusetts. He received his medical degree at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Please note: The Bump and the materials and information it contains are not intended to, and do not constitute, medical or other health advice or diagnosis and should not be used as such. You should always consult with a qualified physician or health professional about your specific circumstances.

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