Skip to Content

The Ultimate Pregnancy Pillow Guide For 2023

Updated May 8, 2023

Are you wondering if a pregnancy pillow is worth it?

Have you looked at them online and been overwhelmed with all the choices? You are not alone!

That is why we have put together the ultimate pregnancy pillow guide for you.

I could not believe how many maternity pillows there were for sale when I was looking for one.


pregnancy pillow guide


I wasn’t even sure if a pregnancy pillow was worth it.

Did I need a unique pillow because I was pregnant?


pregnancy pillow guide

Let me cut to the end of that story…

Yes, I did NEED a unique pillow when I was pregnant, and so do you.

They are worth every penny.

👉This is the pregnancy pillow I bought. It is budget-friendly and is like sinking into a cloud with support in all the right places.


Pregnancy pillow guide

Once you are pregnant, one of the hardest things to do is to get a good night’s sleep.

In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, many women have reported that during pregnancy, they had the most disturbed sleep of their lives.

Pregnancy is an exhausting time in any woman’s life. As your baby bump grows, it becomes more and more difficult to sleep.

There are many physical and emotional demands during pregnancy.

These physical and emotional demands make sleep becomes a priority for the health of you, and your developing newborn.

Pregnancy issues that can make sleeping difficult include morning sickness, heartburn, and joint/ligament pain.  A maternity pillow should not be considered a splurge or luxury item. Getting enough sleep is necessary to be sure both you and your growing baby remain healthy.-

-Dr. Doug Penta, MD

Many women will go through frequent episodes of back pain, pelvic pain, and hip pain during pregnancy.

This discomfort can make getting a good night’s sleep nearly impossible.

Yes, in the end, the pain will all seem worth it when your baby arrives.

But in the meantime, you will have to deal with how this pain can impact the quality and duration of sleep you get while you are pregnant.

There is one solution that can dramatically improve your sleep disturbance while pregnant.

It is to buy a pregnancy pillow.

Pregnancy pillows can do miracles when it comes to managing insomnia during pregnancy.


What is a pregnancy pillow?

If you’ve never heard of a pregnancy pillow, then you aren’t alone. You are also in for a big surprise.

A lot of pregnant women are not familiar with pregnancy pillows and the many benefits they can offer.

Unfortunately, I have talked to many women who wished they had known about them during their pregnancy.

The pillows used to be called full-body pads, and there were limited choices.

Now, pregnancy pillows are produced by many manufacturers and come in many shapes and sizes.

The pillows are made to fit women of all sizes and shapes and suit various sleep preferences: back sleepers, front sleepers, and side sleepers.

Matter what sleep position you are used to, the pillows also help women sleep on the left side since it is the optimal sleep position during pregnancy.


Related:  Why Sleeping On Your Left Side During Pregnancy Is Best


Since there are so many pillows to choose from, we have included information to help you select the perfect pillow for you.

But first, let’s understand what a pregnancy pillow should do and why you might benefit from using one.

A pregnancy pillow does two things:

  • Support the growth of your pregnancy.
  • Alleviate the musculoskeletal pain associated with pregnancy. Also known as maternity pillows, they relieve the pressure on the joints in your back, pelvis,  and hips.

While a standard pillow may work to some extent, it won’t give you the proper support and relief that you need to get the best night’s sleep.

You can stick to using your regular pillow, but you also won’t experience the comfort of a pregnancy pillow.

A regular pillow doesn’t address the body changes that occur during pregnancy nor offer any additional support.

Regular pillows are softer and get compressed, offering less support.

Besides, they tend to slip away from your body rather than hug your body the way a pregnancy pillow does.

So, to sum it up, if you are alright with a regular pillow, a pregnancy pillow is certainly not a requirement.

But if you are experiencing discomfort and insomnia and are looking for a solution to improve your sleep while pregnant, here are some reasons why you should invest in one:

  • Awakening with pain: If you are waking up with pelvic pain, hip ache, or backache in the morning, you should consider getting a maternity pillow.
  • Using multiple pillows: You may be surrounding yourself with a lot of cushions but are still not comfortable. A pregnancy pillow might be just what you need. Often, people who are not pregnant will find themselves using extra pillows for comfort from heartburn, etc., and are not aware they are doing this. You may not be aware that you are adding pillows to get more comfortable.
  • Sleeping Positions: If you are a back or a tummy sleeper, then a pregnancy pillow can be beneficial and help you stay positioned on your left side.
  • Medical Conditions: If you are suffering from health conditions like sciatica, a maternity pillow can be beneficial.


When should you start using a pregnancy pillow?

The first trimester of pregnancy can be miserable. If you are one of the 80% of women who experience morning sickness and fatigue, a pregnancy pillow can help you get more rest.

One way to relieve morning sickness (or all-day sickness) is to get more sleep.

Many women will start using a pregnancy pillow around 20 weeks though you can start using one at any time during your pregnancy.


Why should you buy a pregnancy pillow?


1. Comfortable sleep

The most significant advantage of using a pregnancy pillow is that it is super-comfortable. Everyone needs to have a sound, uninterrupted, and pain-free sleep. Unfortunately, regular pillows neither give the right support nor position your body correctly as your pregnancy advances.


2. Reduces Backache

When you are sleeping on your back, it puts a strain on your entire backside. Pregnancy pillows reduce the pain in your back, hips, legs, and shoulders. Besides, pregnancy pillows improve your body’s posture as your pregnancy develops and helps reduce sciatic pain during pregnancy.


3. Improves Blood Circulation

You might not be aware, but a pregnancy pillow helps in improving your blood circulation as well. Simply put, your body is more relaxed, and you are more energetic throughout the day with the use of a pregnancy pillow.

Most important is how well it can improve circulation to the growing fetus by keeping you positioned on your left side. The flow to the placenta is optimal when lying on your left side.


4. Prevents Heartburn

Heartburn is one of the factors that can keep you awake at night. But you don’t need to worry about it if you have a pregnancy pillow! These magical pillows prevent not only heartburn but also nasal congestion and even carpal tunnel. The perfect pillow can help manage many problems associated with pregnancy.


Total Body Pregnancy Pillows

Pregnancy pillows come in various shapes and sizes. The total body pregnancy pillow offers the best support as it completely wraps around your body.

These pillows are enormous. They range from 5 to 6 feet in length.

You can easily curl up inside these pillows for a quick, comfortable nap.

Perhaps they are a little too big to bring to your childbirth class or on a business trip!

Usually, pregnant women prefer the full-body maternity pillow because it gives the best support to the back, tummy, and other parts of the body.


You can choose a total body pregnancy pillow from the following two types:

  • C-shaped pregnancy pillow: Shaped like the letter C, you should use it in a riding position. The bottom part of the pillow should be between your legs and the top for resting your head. The curve of the C-shaped pillow cradles your back, relieving any pressure from your end.
  • U-shaped pregnancy pillow: Like the letter U, this pillow is meant for straddling one long side. It’s for supporting your back and belly. People who prefer sleeping on their backs can use this pillow for better sleep.

Now that you know the benefits of using a pregnancy pillow, you have to decide which one is right for you.

Well, it’s not as hard as you might think.

Let’s explore the critical factors to keep in mind while buying a maternity pillow.


How to pick the right maternity pillow?


1. Does it come with a removable cover?

With regular use, your pillow is bound to get dirty. In fact, due to pregnancy, women sweat more than usual. As the sizes of the maternity pillows are varied and vast, it would be complicated to wash them now and then. Thus, a removable cover makes things easier.

Check if the maternity pillow you are buying comes along with removable covers. These covers are easy to wash and more convenient.


 2. What type of filling does it have?

Different pillows have different types of filling. Make sure to choose a pillow with an appropriate filling. Here are some of the kinds of fillings:

  • Styrofoam ball filling: Usually, cheaper pregnancy pillows use styrofoam balls, which are also commonly used in bean bags. As styrofoam is lightweight and can adapt to your body shape quickly, it’s the preferred choice for manufacturers. However, these fillings are noisy when you move.
  • Polyester Fiber Filling: One of the most popular fillings is polyester fiber. It is not only soft but also doesn’t make noise when you move around. The more filling, the firmer your pillow is. The only downside is that these pillows are not airy.
  • Microbead Filling: Microbeads are tiny and are just1/32 inches wide. It is so lightweight that you can take this pillow with you anywhere, anytime. They don’t make any noise and are more supportive than other options.
  • Memory Foam Filling: Memory foam filling pillows take the shape of your body as you put pressure on it. Once you relieve it from your body weight, it regains its original form. These pillows are firm and can retain heat; thus, some manufacturers shred the foam initially to let the air circulate inside.
  • Organic fillings: If you prefer an organic and natural lifestyle, then this might be the right choice for you. In fact, it’s always a good idea to avoid any harsh chemicals during pregnancy. You can choose a pillow made from Spelt, Wool, or Kapok.


3. Is the pillow noisy?

As discussed above, certain fillings tend to make more noise than other fillings when you move around. Some people hardly notice the sound once they fall asleep, but if you are a light sleeper and don’t like the rustle of pillows while sleeping, then make sure to avoid fillings and fabrics that are too loud for you.


4. Is the pillow hypoallergenic?

You might not have any allergies, but it’s always a better idea to use a hypoallergenic pregnancy pillow. Since pregnancy hormones can lead to sensitivities toward different fibers and materials, a hypoallergenic pillow is a good option. It lets you sleep peacefully, preventing an allergic reaction.

Should you be highly sensitive to potential allergens such as dust mites, molds, etc., you can get a Jersey Cover to decrease allergen exposure. This cover is designed for the U-shaped PharMeDoc pillow.


5. Is it the right size for you?

A pregnancy pillow that is too large or too small can be a problem. Choose a pillow size that is in proportion to your height. While some like to snuggle inside a large pillow, others prefer a pillow meant specifically for troublesome areas. If necessary, ask what size pillow is best for you when making a selection.


6. Soft or Firm?

A fluffy pillow is soft and great for keeping behind your head, but it won’t give you the best spinal support. On the other hand, a firm pillow may not feel as comfortable but will benefit you more in the long run for joint pain. Think about how much support you think you need.


7. Stage of pregnancy

The stage of your pregnancy also plays an important role when buying a pregnancy pillow. You’ll feel different at the onset of the pregnancy than at the end.

Tummy sleepers can sleep in this position for the first few months, but later on, they’ll need a pillow to prevent them from rolling onto their bellies.

Moreover, the aches and pains you feel earlier change as you come closer to the due date.


8. Body Heat

Pregnancy hormones are not only hard to handle but also increase your body temperature. They make you sweat a lot.

Thus, look for flannel pillows or any other fabric that doesn’t make you sweat. A total body pillow retains heat and can make it harder for you to sleep.


9. Sleeping Preferences

Pregnancy changes the sleeping positions, no matter how much you love sleeping on your back or tummy.

In such cases, you need proper support as it will help you in a better side sleeping position.

Side sleepers also need some support under their belly.



With so many varieties and options to choose from, it can be challenging to choose the perfect pregnancy pillow.

Nonetheless, do an in-depth analysis of all the available choices.

First, figure out your requirements, and then evaluate the features that matter the most to you.

This will help you in determining the type of pillow that’ll be best for you.

Pregnancy pillows are gaining popularity with each passing day.

What is most interesting to note is that many new moms will not give up their pillows after pregnancy.

Furthermore, many people purchase the pillow (men and women) because they are so comfortable and improve sciatica and low back pain.



  • Doug Penta MD OB/GYN

    Dr. Doug Penta, MD - Co-Founder of Maternity Comfort Solutions Dr. Doug Penta, is a seasoned Obstetrician and Gynecologist with over 38 years of practice, co-founded Maternity Comfort Solutions to provide evidence-based pregnancy and parenting information. A Boston University alum and former Clinical Professor at Harvard, his articles on Maternity Comfort Solutions offer expectant mothers invaluable nutritional insights.

  • Sue Winters RN

    Sue Winters, RN - Co-Founder of Maternity Comfort Solutions Sue combines 20 years of nursing with a rich background in early childhood education. Co-founder of Maternity Comfort Solutions, her articles provide creative toddler activities and practical tips on pregnancy nutrition and baby shower planning, embodying her commitment to supporting families through early parenthood.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.