The myriad delights of pregnancy include all sorts of both expected and unexpected joys and discomforts. Nausea, fatigue, anxiety, euphoria, shiny hair and glowing skin can come and go depending on your body’s unique composition. But one thing is for certain: As your body changes to accommodate a growing baby, sleeping comfortably becomes much more challenging.
There are all sorts of products aimed at helping expectant parents feel more comfortable in their bodies, but none are as essential and timeless as a pregnancy pillow.
Dr. Navya Mysore, a primary care physician and national program medical director of sexual and reproductive health at One Medical, told us that maternity pillows give added support to your body — typically the belly, but many also provide back and hip support.
She explained that a pregnancy pillow can help with “mechanical lower back pain from pregnancy and aches and pains that are normal and continue as the pregnancy progresses.”
She noted that most people start to use a pregnancy pillow in their second trimester, as the belly starts to grow more, and when it becomes important to sleep on your side as opposed to your back. However, there is no medical need to use a pillow, and you don’t have to use one if you don’t feel like you particularly need it.
Depending on your body’s particular needs and given the fact that there are multiple types of pillows available for different kinds of sleepers, Mysore recommends finding the type of pregnancy pillow that works for you.
“If you are more of a stomach sleeper, you may want to use the pillow to support the belly, so you are not putting undue pressure on the inferior vena cava, which is a major blood vessel. Increased pressure on the vena cava for long periods can cause lower blood pressure and potentially make you feel dizzy and nauseous.”
And while these pillows can be quite a financial investment, Mysore said they can be used long after pregnancy, and can actually be quite beneficial for other physical ailments, as well. “These supportive pillows can be used by anyone and can help with various musculoskeletal injuries by giving added support,” she said. It’s definitely worth checking with your primary care provider to see if this is something that could be worth exploring.
In an effort to help you have the most comfortable pregnancy possible, we rounded up some of the best maternity pillows on the market. There’s something for every type of sleeper and need, so get ready for the dreamiest, coziest sleep of your life. You’ll definitely want to get as much of it as you can before your sweet kid arrives.
An ergonomic body pillow
Casper's huggable body pillow helps to promote proper alignment, as well as provide pressure-relieving comfort. Its twist design makes it possible to contour it to your body's needs, giving you full-body relief.
A popular plush pillow
Boppy's full-body pregnancy pillow is a one-piece pillow that provides support and proper alignment for your neck, head, back hips and tummy. It has a unique contoured shape that cradles your body and belly for ultimate comfort, along with a machine-washable, removable pillowcase with a subtle botanical design.
A chiropractor-developed pillow
Made of soft eco-friendly materials, Scandibørn's body pillow offers five-point support to those critical pregnancy areas: the pelvis, low back, belly, knees and ankles. The pillow's stuffing is made of small antibacterial and anti-fungal pebbles keeping you comfy and cool. It comes with its own carrying bag and includes the pillow, sleeve and two rings to secure and adjust the pillow.
A highly-rated C-shaped pillow
This versatile pillow from Insen essentially replaces all the other small pillows that live on your bed. It helps to support your back, belly, hips, knee and more. It's made with silk fiber fillings that stay smooth and fluffy while also providing just the right amount of support.
A U-shaped memory foam pillow
Perfect for multiple sleeping positions, the Millard support pillow is made of cool, breathable cotton and cushioned memory foam that can be added to or removed so that it's just the right level of padded for you. It hugs your whole body and is also great support while sitting up and nursing or feeding postpartum. Your whole household will want to use it.
A multitasking feeding and support pillow
Snuggle Me's versatile pillow is not only perfect for belly support while pregnant, but it can be used postpartum for nursing, bottle feeding, sitting up support, tummy time and much more. The laid-back design is perfect for the minimalist parent; it's aesthetically pleasing while also being functional and easy to tuck away.
A long U-shaped pillow
Measuring 57 inches long, the Elover pregnancy pillow is a popular option for pregnant people looking for contoured support of their backs, bellies, legs and neck. It's made of soft, high-density cotton material that is easy to adjust and won't be noisy when you move around in the night.
An organic latex body pillow
If you're looking for a sustainably made body pillow, then look no further than Coyuchi. Made with certified organic molded latex and an organic cotton cover, it's lightweight, breathable and resistant to mold, mildew and dust mites, making it perfect for people with allergies or other sensitivities.
A popular wedge pillow
This comfy wedge pillow is a cult fave thanks to its versatility, durability and comfort. It comes with a removable machine-washable soft jersey cover so you can easily keep it nice and fresh. It'll serve you well through pregnancy and beyond.
An hourglass-shaped pillow
The popular Leachco maternity pillow has an hourglass shape with inner contours that support your body's curves. It gives you equal support for both your back and belly, enabling you to turn from side to side in the night without having to rearrange your pillow configuration.