- Best Overall: Frida Mom Adjustable Keep Cool Pregnancy Pillow.
- Best Budget: PharMeDoc CeeCee Pregnancy Pillow.
- Best for Stomach Sleepers: Hiccapop Pregnancy Pillow Wedge.
- Best for Back Pain: Medcline Pregnancy Body Pillow.
- Best for SPD: Side Sleeper Knee Pillow.
- Best U-Shaped: Yana Sleep Pillow
One part of your life that pregnancy impacts, and not usually for the better, is the quality of your sleep. This seems particularly unfair, since growing a baby is hard work! Pregnancy pillows are made to help with this problem and support your growing body in a variety of ways. Whether you are seeking general comfort or need support for a specific area of your body, there’s likely a pregnancy pillow that can help you.
“A pregnancy pillow can help alleviate some of the discomfort that may be associated with pregnancy and provide more support while sleeping which in turn will help you sleep more soundly,” Jessica Shepherd, MD, chief medical officer at Verywell Health and board-certified OB-GYN, tells Parents. These pillows are especially helpful for those unused to sleeping on their side, the sleep position doctors recommend at 20 weeks and beyond.
Choosing a pregnancy pillow is all about personal preference, lifestyle, budget, and physical needs. We considered the wide variety of shapes, materials, sleep positions, and size to make this list.
These are the best pregnancy pillows.
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, like a barrier 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 a guide to the various types of pregnancy pillows and tips on how to shop for and use a maternity pillow, plus a list of the best pregnancy pillows on the market right now, including this year’s Best of The Bump winner.
Which Is Better U-shaped or C-shaped Pregnancy Pillow?
A C-shaped pillow is good to place underneath your baby bump. They tend to be the next best option in pregnancy for those who don’t want their pillow taking up as much space as a U-shaped one
At What Point Do You Start Using A Pregnancy Pillow?
There’s no set time when you need to, or have to, start using a pregnancy pillow. To put it simply, you should start using one whenever you start finding it difficult to change positions during sleep. For most women, this is around week 20, when your belly starts to expand
Our top picks:
BEST PREGNANCY PILLOW
BEST PREGNANCY WEDGE PILLOW
BEST U-SHAPE PREGNANCY PILLOW
BEST C-SHAPE PREGNANCY PILLOW
BEST PREGNANCY PILLOW FOR STOMACH SLEEPERS
BEST PREGNANCY PILLOW FOR SIDE SLEEPERS
BEST PREGNANCY PILLOW FOR BACK SLEEPERS
BEST PREGNANCY PILLOW FOR BACK PAIN
BEST PREGNANCY PILLOW FOR HIP PAIN
BEST ORGANIC PREGNANCY PILLOW
BEST MEMORY FOAM PREGNANCY PILLOW
BEST MULTIPURPOSE PREGNANCY PILLOW
BEST BUDGET-FRIENDLY PREGNANCY PILLOW
In this article:
When to Use a Pregnancy Pillow
Regular pillows serve as a headrest, but the best pregnancy pillows are designed to ease various body aches. They’re also super handy for keeping you on your side throughout the night—the recommended sleep position for expectant moms. You can start to use a maternity pillow at any time during your pregnancy, although many moms-to-be appreciate the support in the second or third 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” found along your back, says Christian Pope, DO, 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 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 that a maternity pillow strives to alleviate tend to kick in after your first trimester is behind you.
Types of Pregnancy Pillows
So pregnancy pillows are important for both comfort and safety—but which type should you choose? Below, we’ve listed the main types of pregnancy pillows and detailed the pros and cons of each to help you decide.
U-shaped pregnancy 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 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. You can 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.
I-, J- and L-shaped pregnancy pillows
Though less common, there are also I-, J- and L-shaped pregnancy pillows. J- and L-shaped pillows are essentially the same: While sleeping on your side, they provide support along your body (either front or back) with a section that can either go under your head or between your knees, depending on how it’s turned. An I-shaped pillow serves as more of a body pillow and can provide support along your back or underneath your belly—but not both, which is a benefit of the previously described shapes. I-, J- and L-shaped pillows can serve as a happy medium between the larger-sized C- and U-shaped pregnancy pillows and the much smaller wedge pillows (detailed below), providing full-body support without dominating the bed.
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.)
What to Consider When Buying a Pregnancy Pillow
As you search for the best pregnancy pillow to suit your needs, you’ll want to consider a few key factors:
- Preferred sleep position. Are you normally inclined to be a side sleeper, back sleeper or stomach sleeper? While stomach sleepers have obvious challenges adjusting to pregnancy, back sleepers have different hurdles to overcome, and different pillows are designed to address those challenges.
- 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. As with any sleep accessory (who doesn’t like a 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 who run hot. Pillows made with polyester tend to be more affordable. 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.
- Aches and pains. Spent most of your pregnancy nursing an aching back? Or are sore hips what’s keeping you up at night? Take note of your primary source of discomfort, and seek out a pregnancy pillow designed to help alleviate those specific concerns.
How We Tested the Pregnancy Pillows
To figure out which are truly the best pregnancy pillows out there, we enlisted pregnant parents-to-be to thoroughly test the leading options on the market. We carefully matched pillows to pregnant testers who were struggling with their sleep, experiencing back or hip pain and slept in a range of different positions. They cuddled up and slept with them, they washed them and found a place to store them—and based on their reviews of product quality, effectiveness, supportiveness, ease of use, ease of cleaning and value, as well as our own extensive research, we’ve rounded up the pregnancy pillows that are best suited to your particular needs. Because growing a human is tiring work, and you seriously need some sleep.
Image: Juanita, Rosdaly, Katelyn
The Best Pregnancy Pillows to Shop
For more than 10 years, The Bump has been recognizing the absolute best baby and pregnancy products on the market through our awards series. Curious to see which pregnancy pillow was named the Best of The Bump award winner this year? Keep scrolling for the overall top pick, plus a list of carefully vetted maternity pillows that are particularly good for specific needs, whether you’re hunting for a certain pillow type or are looking to ease a particular ache or pain.
The Momcozy Huggable Maternity Body Pillow earned top scores across all categories—from support to effectiveness to overall quality—making it our overall Best of The Bump 2023 winner. (Head here to see all of this year’s Best of The Bump winners.) This full-body, U-shaped pregnancy pillow keeps mamas-to-be supported from all angles, thanks to its high-tension memory foam filling that won’t sag or lose its shape. “The quality of the filling feels like it will last a long time,” our product tester, 25 weeks pregnant, remarked. Plus, the U-shape design provides superior comfort for the entire body, including your growing belly, aching back, sore hips and legs. Our product tester found this pregnancy pillow to be so supportive, she gave it a perfect 5 out of 5 score in the category. “I love that it wraps around so it helps my back, knees and stomach,” she shared.
Another favorite feature of the Momcozy pregnancy pillow is its premium cooling cover, which dissipates heat and prevents expectant mamas from getting overheated in the pillow’s cocoon. The cover is also easily removed (thanks to double-enclosure zippers), cleaned and put back on—making maintenance and care one less thing pregnant mamas have to worry about. Plus, “it didn’t have any fading or shrinking after being washed,” our product tester reported.
But perhaps the best thing about the Momcozy maternity pillow is that people (including our product tester) enjoy better quality sleep when using it. (And what mother-to-be doesn’t need more rest?) The balance of comfort and support, the cooling fabric and the high-quality memory foam all work together to improve blood circulation and relieve body discomfort—resulting in a deep, restorative slumber, no matter what position you sleep in. “It improved my sleep a lot,” our product tester shared. The Momcozy pillow can also be used to help you find a comfortable position while lounging, sitting upright or even nursing after baby comes—making this a winner all around. It’s no wonder it earned our top pick for this year’s Best of The Bump Awards.