Did you know that getting too little or too much sleep during the first trimester of your pregnancy may increase the risk of high blood pressure? Hypertension related to pregnancy is a symptom of preeclampsia that, when left untreated, can be life-threatening for both mother and child.
The bottom line: Pregnant women should get sufficient sleep every night for a healthy pregnancy! Choosing the best pregnancy pillow is one of the many steps towards achieving a great night’s sleep when pregnant.
With a pregnancy pillow, going to sleep and maintaining a comfortable position for the next 7-8 hours becomes easier, thanks to the increased comfort and support for your back, hips and legs.
My Top Picks for the Best Maternity Pillow for Every Need
Every expectant mother has needs and wants in a pregnancy pillow, so her choice will likely be unique. Nonetheless, I chose these pillows based on their universal qualities of soft comfort and firm support for the body, especially for the pressure points.
Table of Contents
- My Top Picks for the Best Maternity Pillow for Every Need
- Everything You Want to Know About Pregnancy Pillows
- Ways Pregnant Women Benefit from These Pillows
- Factors Pregnant Women Should Consider In Making Their Choice
- Tips to Enjoy Better Sleep for Expectant Mothers
1. PharMeDoc Full Body Pregnancy Pillow
This C-shaped maternity pillow supports your pregnant body’s pressure points from the knees, hips and lower back to the neck, shoulders and head. In these areas, the muscles and joints tend to become achier than other parts because of the pressure exerted on them by the added weight of your pregnancy.
For example, the increasing weight in your belly takes its toll on your hips and lower back resulting in muscle soreness and tenderness. When sleeping sideways, the recommended sleeping position for pregnant women, the belly pulls the muscles in these areas forward. But with the PharMeDoc pillow, the hips and lower back are well supported.
During the night, the pillow provides all-round comfort and support from the back to the belly. The restful sleep enjoyed every night coupled with the elimination of the usual morning-after aches contribute to an improved quality of life.
Its C shape also eliminates the need for several pillows. It already provides belly and back support, as previously mentioned, so it becomes an all-in-one body pillow. It can also be used for other purposes, such as nursing your baby or for recovering after an injury.
The pillow’s thickness can also be adjusted depending on your individual needs. It can be thicker for a firmer support or thinner for a softer feel, as well as thicker in some areas like the head and back parts. It has polyfill material, a hypoallergenic material suitable for people with allergies.
The removable pillow cover, which has a sturdy zipper as closure, can be washed in the washing machine. It doesn’t contain BPA, latex, lead, and phthalates, which are harmful substances.
What’s Great About It: The PharMeDoc maternity pillow’s nest-like design gives the feeling of being safely cocooned while also providing much-needed support on the pressure points.
2. Queen Rose U-shaped Velour Pregnancy Pillow
The 100% cotton percale pillowcase feels soft on the skin, and is hypoallergenic. But it can also quickly become dirty so its removable design makes sense – just open the zipper, remove the pillow, and wash it in the machine.
This is a U-shaped pillow, but it’s usually used in its inverted position. The head rests on the downward curve part while the sides support the hips at the back and the belly, legs and knees at the front. There’s a sense of being surrounded by pillows yet using only one.
Most users report that, even after just one night using this pillow, the muscle aches and joint pains are reduced the morning after. The supportive filling and design cradles the body from all sides, especially the lower back, hips and belly. These are the parts most likely to be affected by soreness and tenderness if they don’t have sufficient support.
The maternity pillow has polyester filling, which can be customized according to the user’s desired softness or firmness level. But pregnant women are well-advised to choose a firmer pillow for more support, especially around the lower back, hips and belly.
The firmer surface also allows for pressing on the pillow and getting more resistance from it. This also helps when getting up from the bed even with a large belly getting in the way, so to speak. But the pillow’s filling is still soft enough to provide a comfortable feeling from your head to lower back and legs.
Both petite and tall women can use it, although certain body position adjustments may be necessary. Petite users can stretch out their bodies more while taller women who like sleeping in a near-fetal position will appreciate its shape.
What’s Great About It: This pillow can be used for nursing a baby, reading books, and watching television, thanks to the foldable design of the pillow’s arms. Just fold one of the arms toward the front of your body; the downward curve supports your back and the stretched arm provides a platform for your leg. People with underlying medical conditions like sciatica, fibromyalgia, and gastric reflux may also benefit from its use.
3. ComfySure Full Body Pregnancy Pillow
The U-shaped body pillow is popular among pregnant women and breastfeeding mothers because of the all-around support it offers. But it’s also recommended for people who need added support for their back, belly and shoulders, such as those with fibromyalgia and sciatica.
By providing all-around body support, it can accommodate several sleeping positions. Pregnant women use it for sleeping on their side, particularly on their left side, with the sides supporting their bellies, legs, and lower back. While it doesn’t leave much room for cuddling with a partner, the cocooned feeling makes up for it.
Men, women and even teenagers use it for sleeping on their back or stomach with the pillow’s sides folded to what feels comfortable for their preferred position. This can even be used when reading books, lounging, and watching television.
By providing a firm surface to press on with your hands, turning over becomes easier, a convenient feature for pregnant women in their second and third trimester. The pillow’s thickness is just right for supporting the head, which makes it easier to breathe even when the stomach presses the diaphragm upward.
Pregnant women often experience gastric reflux, especially at night. By placing your head at the correct height, the pillow is a good tool to reduce the risk of stomach acid travelling up the esophagus and waking you up. In fact, users report that it’s one of the many benefits of using a U-shaped body pillow like ComfySure.
The 100% hypoallergenic polyester material makes it suitable for people with allergic conditions, such as sensitive skin or asthma. The pillow’s 34″ x 55″ measurements suits both tall and petite women, and fits well on king- and queen-sized beds. There may be a need to discard other smaller pillows, but the ComfySure body pillow is more than sufficient as an all-in-one pillow.
What’s Great About It: There’s an extra replacement cover in case the original one becomes faded over time. The pillow itself can be washed in the washing machine on a delicate cycle using cold water only, so it maintains its hygienic quality.
4. Meiz U-shaped Body Pregnancy Pillow
The quality of a body pillow rests largely on its filling, and the Meiz U-shaped pregnancy pillow meets this standard. The 100% polyester fiberfill retains its fluffiness even with prolonged and continuous use over several years. Be sure to fluff the pillow on a regular basis, especially when it appears to flatten, so that its thickness can be restored.
Unlike many types of pillow filling, the 100% polyester filling used in this pillow doesn’t have a smell when removed from its package. Over several weeks of continued use, it may have a slight smell from the accumulated sweat, dead skin cells, and debris. Washing the removable 100% cotton flannel cover and airing the pillow for a day will completely remove it.
The thick U-shaped pillow conforms to the body’s natural curves from the lower back, around the head, and down to the stomach and legs. The head section cradles the shoulders and neck while providing the head with an elevated platform, a must for easier breathing for pregnant women.
The midsections provide comfortable back and stomach support. There’s no need to use a lumbar support pillow for the back and a wedge pillow for the stomach thanks to the Meiz body pillow’s ingenious design. The feeling of being inside a soft embrace also adds to your relaxation, a precursor to restful sleep.
For pregnant women, keeping a pillow between the knees also adds to the relaxed feeling. By tucking the slightly curved end between your knees while lying sideways, sleep comes faster and easier.
Whether you are lying on your right or left side, there’s always a long and lean pillow that can be tucked between your knees for a more relaxed feeling. Over time, proper use of the Meiz pillow promotes blood circulation, relaxes tense muscles, and cushions the pressure areas.
These health benefits are crucial for the improvement of day-to-day life for people who suffer from muscle aches and joint pains, whether from pregnancy or not.
What’s Great About It: This can be used before, during, and after pregnancy since it helps in addressing various issues related to improper sleeping posture. By contributing to a comfortable and conducive sleeping environment, it can also reduce the tossing and turning that happens while asleep.
5. ComfySure J-shaped Pregnancy Pillow
With a J-shaped pillow, an additional pillow for the back or the front may be necessary depending on your personal preference. A lumbar support pillow may be needed when the ComfySure J-shaped pillow’s long side is used for knee and stomach support.
But even without added pillows, it still provides the desired comfort and support from the head to the knees and legs. The trick appears to be finding the most comfortable position for your current body shape. The body pillow offers neck, stomach, and arm support when the head is situated at the curved part.
During pregnancy, it can be used not just for sleeping, but as a reading cushion and a lounging pillow by propping it up on a headboard. After you deliver your baby, it’s an excellent breastfeeding pillow since it offers neck and back support, and still has sufficient space for your baby to nestle beside you.
The pillow filling is also 100% polyester, a hypoallergenic material that retains its fluffy shape after plumping. The amount of filling is just right for most users too, since it’s neither too thick and firm nor too thin and soft.
What’s Great About It: This is a great gift for people who suffer from pregnancy-related muscles aches and joint pains. But it can also be given to people who have underlying medical conditions, the elderly, and to patients who have undergone surgery.
6. Boppy Pregnancy Wedge Pillow
Sometimes, a simple wedge pillow does the trick of providing added comfort and support for either the back or the stomach. This is the case for the Boppy pregnancy wedge pillow with a jersey slipcover.
Just like a regular pillow, it can be positioned under your growing stomach or against your back when sleeping in a sideways position. It can also be used between your knees when sleeping sideways or under your knees when sleeping on your back.
In these positions, the wedge pillow can aid in reducing the strains and stresses experienced by an expectant mother’s changing body. It may or may not be used along with one of the other pregnancy pillows described here.
Unlike the full body pillows here, this wedge pillow can easily be transported from one place to the next. It can also be used outside of the bedroom, such as for propping up your knees while watching television.
The slipcover feels soft to the touch. It can be removed for cleaning in the washing machine and the pillow itself exposed to the sun.
What’s Great About It: The foam has a supportive feel without being too firm. This is a great pillow for relieving pain in the hips, especially when it is tucked between your knees or legs.
More in Pregnancy Gear: The Best Compression Stockings for Pregnancy
Everything You Want to Know About Pregnancy Pillows
Pregnancy pillows may be considered as must-have investments for expectant mothers because of their numerous health benefits. But with these full body pillows being a dime a dozen, making the right choice can be a challenge.
No matter their benefits, these pillows should be considered as one of many ways to enjoy restful sleep every night. Pregnant women and their doctors must work together to ensure that sufficient sleep becomes part of a healthy lifestyle.
Ways Pregnant Women Benefit from These Pillows
According to sleep experts, pregnant women will benefit most from lying on their left side, especially during their second and third trimester. In this sideways position, there’s reduced strain on the liver, an organ essential for flushing out toxins.
But lying on the side with a growing stomach isn’t a comfortable position. The entire stomach seems to roll over so there’s a sense of back and side muscles being pulled toward the front, an uncomfortable position especially when there’s no back or front support.
This can cause tossing and turning during the night resulting in a bad night’s sleep. The health complications associated can range from hot flushes to daytime sleepiness, which affects the quality of life for expectant mothers.
The idea behind the use of pregnancy pillows is to provide adequate support for the front and back regions while lying down in a sideways position. There are several shapes to choose from with the final choice largely influenced by personal preferences. The U-shaped pillow, for example, provides a feeling of being embraced from all sides.
These shapes evoke the letters “U”, “J”, and “C”, even a few shaped like the letters “I”, “G”, and “r”. There are also boomerang- or V-shaped pillows which are used by placing one end under the head or arm while the other end goes below the stomach and between the legs.
Known as support pillows, these are considered as all-in-one pillows that provide comfort and support under the abdomen, behind the back, and between the knees and legs. In most cases, there’s no need for additional pillows unless a wedge pillow is preferred for supporting your large and heavy stomach.
Related: The Books for When You’re Pregnant
When used properly and regularly, a maternity pillow results in the following benefits for its user:
- Provides relief from pressure on the hips, lower and upper back, and shoulders, as well as improve the spine’s neutral alignment while sleeping.
- Stimulates better sleep since there’s reduced strain on the most sensitive pressure points, such as the knees, elbows, and neck.
- Decreases the tossing and turning during sleep, thanks to the feeling of being in a safe cocoon.
- Lowers the heart rate while sleeping because of the calming feeling of embracing a soft pillow.
- Elevates the head to decrease the risk of heartburn and water retention.
While a full body support pillow may be more expensive than a standard pillow, it’s a good investment in great sleep – and we all know the importance of getting sufficient sleep.
Factors Pregnant Women Should Consider In Making Their Choice
Pregnancy is a delicate time for both mother and child, so making the right choices from diet and exercise to accessories is a must. With this in mind, I chose the above mentioned pregnancy pillows based on the following factors:
- Hypoallergenic materials should be used for the cover and filling. The best choices are 100% polyester for the filling and cotton for the cover, although there are also other choices, such as down. The pillow’s filling should also keep its shape.
- Comfort and support should be in the right balance. The pillow should not be so soft that the body doesn’t get the support it needs or so firm that it becomes uncomfortable against the body. You may want to consider a medium-firm maternity pillow since it meets both of these criteria.
- Size and shape of the pillow also affects the user’s choice. Most pillows range in size from 160 to 170 centimeters. Taller women can choose from pillows as long as 250 to 320 centimeters while petite women can opt for the 100-centimeter pillows.
The shape is largely a matter of personal preference. Some pillows can support the entire body, such as the U-shaped pillow, while others only support the parts that ache the most, like a wedge pillow.
When in doubt, check the return and refund policy just in case you may want to return the product if it is not quite right for your needs. Better yet, choose one from my list and enjoy it as soon as you use it.
Tips to Enjoy Better Sleep for Expectant Mothers
But pillows are just one part of the equation. Expectant mothers should also take a closer look at their own sleep-related lifestyle habits since changes may be necessary for better sleep.
- Eat a healthy diet filled with fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The healthier your body is, the more likely you will sleep well.
- Drink a glass of warm milk an hour before going to bed. Eat unsalted crackers as these can also promote sleep. Snack on high-protein foods, such as granola bars, since these stabilize blood sugar which helps prevent headaches, hot flushes, and bad dreams.
- Practice relaxation techniques to calm your mind and body. Yoga, massage, and stretching as well as taking a warm bath and performing deep breathing exercises are great ideas.
- Regular exercise can also reduce the aches and pains associated with changes in an expectant mother’s body. Ask a personal trainer about safe pregnancy exercises, which can also aid in easier and faster labor.
- Certain medications can help you improve your lifestyle, but always get your doctor’s approval on any medication before you take it.
Of course, restful sleep may not come easily for some pregnant women even with the best pregnancy pillow and the adoption of these tips. But with patience, it is possible, if not essential for good health and a good quality of life at such an exciting time.
With the information presented above, I believe that expectant mothers will decide to buy a pregnancy pillow for their own use. I certainly hope that it will be of great benefit in promoting a healthier mind and body while enjoying your pregnancy.