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How to Choose a Pregnancy Pillow

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Getting a restful night's sleep can be a challenge, especially during your second and third trimester when your bump is more pronounced and finding a comfortable sleeping position becomes near impossible. The solution for these long nights and even longer days? Investing in a pregnancy pillow! We can’t promise it’ll take away all those aches and pains, but we can assure you that it will make things a little more comfy as your baby grows and your body changes. Double win, you can get good use out of them once your baby arrives too.

When choosing a pregnancy pillow, there are various different shapes, styles and materials to choose from and different personal factors that may affect these choices. Things like, how do you like to sleep, will you want to use it for nursing and what sort of support are you after will help you make a better decision for you. Keep reading to find out what the best pregnancy pillow is for you!

What is a pregnancy pillow?

Pregnancy pillows are a type of body pillow that is designed to cushion and hug the length of your body. They are there to provide extra support in all the places most affected by your growing baby and tummy, including your pelvis and lower back. Your body’s shape during pregnancy is pretty unique and as a result, most traditional pillows aren’t made to hug the contours of a pregnant body, leaving you vulnerable to back pain, leg cramps, pelvic stiffness and ultimately restless nights.

What are the different types?

Pregnancy pillows come in various shapes and sizes depending on the desired level of support and where on your body you need the support.

  • Full Length Maternity Pillow

A full body length pillow designed to offer total, full body support. Position it in front of your bump for total support on the side, behind you for your back or between your legs for your hips.

  • U Shaped

This style of pillow wraps around the entire body to offer dual sided support, making it ideal for supporting your growing bump, your back and comfort between your knees. You are covered and cocooned from every angle.

  • Wedge

Similar in effectiveness, but more compact, you can use a wedge wherever you feel you need the most support, from your bump, back, pelvis or knees. This is a great one for versatility and travel and can also be used as an arm support when feeding your baby after birth.

  • C Shaped

Somewhat similar to a large U-shaped pillow that curves around your body, a C-shape pillow supports your back or stomach whilst keeping your legs and hips parallel, neck supported and aligned with back.

How to pick the right pillow for you

There are several factors that you should consider before taking the leap.

1. How do you like to sleep?

Preliminary studies have shown that sleeping on your left side is the best position for a healthy pregnancy. This position is associated with lower rates of late term stillbirth, compared to back or right side sleeping positions. Back sleeping is not recommended from 21 weeks as this can restrict blood flow to the uterus, which can lead to low birth weights and other health problems and front sleeping is okay as long as it is comfortable for you, which might be challenging with a kicking beach ball underneath you!

If you are typically a back sleeper, and struggling adjusting to getting comfy on your side, the Sleepy Belly pregnancy pillow is a great option! It is dual sided, preventing you from instinctively rolling onto your back and comes with three interconnecting parts to ensure you receive all the personalised support you need. The long pillow shape provides front and back support, whilst the two side wedge pillows are great for bolstering your bump and are adjustable as your tummy grows. They come with a bespoke case which can be removed and washed.

If you are already a side sleeper by choice and are just looking for some extra support, the Body support pillow by Growbright is a great option. As you rest, position it in front of you for your bump, behind you for your back or between your legs for your hips. It is lightweight, breathable and ultra plush, yet firm enough to support your every need.

Sleepybelly Pregnancy Pillow

2. Where will you keep it?

Comfy and cushiony yes, small and mighty, no. Well not always anyway. The majority of pregnancy pillows are on the bulkier side and not super compact. It is important to think about where this pillow will be stored when not in use or if it will remain out on your bed or sofa at all times. Whilst incredible, U and C shaped pillows are not the smallest in size, often being around 1-1.7m in length, just shy of the length of your bed. This obviously means it might be tricky to store in smaller spaces, and not so easy to stuff in a cupboard or under a bed if you don’t want it lying out.

A great, compact alternative, whilst not compromising on quality or function is the Maternity and Breastfeeding Tencel Pillow. Roughly the same size as a standard pillow, it cradles your bump and supports your spine, whilst maintaining alignment in your hips to reduce pressure and discomfort in your back. It is filled with Japara Cotton fibre balls which means it retains its shape and reduces clumping, creating the optimum support for your body, night after night! Better still, it is small enough to pop away or take with you on the go, so you can always be sure that a good night's sleep will follow you anytime, anywhere.

Butterfly Maternity Maternity & Breastfeeding Pillow

3. How much support do you need?

Just like a regular mattress or pillow, the amount of desired support can vary from person to person.

More support?

Are you looking for a firmer, more dense cushion to give more support and alignment? The Sleepy Belly pillow is your perfect winner here. Made from an activated, latex cushion - offering the perfect balance between support and comfort. The shredded composition allows for moulding to your body, whilst simultaneously providing cooling and anti-bacterial benefits. Another great, but slightly more compact option, is the Snuggle Me Organic Feeding & Support Pillow. Based on aesthetics alone, this one takes the cake every time with its sophisticated crescent moon shape and neutral toned fabrics. But looks aside, this is a really great option for those looking for more support in a smaller package. Tightly filled with polyester fibre, it’s firm in structure yet soft in feel, holding its shape no matter where you position it and paired alongside its cotton outer shell - makes for a durable pillow.

Less support?

Are you after a softer filled cushion that still offers gentle support and alignment but is squishy to hold, grasp and lie against? The Tencel Pillow by Butterfly Maternity offers cradled support with its compact and flexible shape making it easy for you to turn and reposition it in bed for a comfier night sleep. Focused on maintaining alignment in your hips and spine to reduce pressure and discomfort in your back, it is covered with Japara Cotton and filled with Comfortfil® fibre balls, allowing it to retain its shape, reduce clumping and be ultra soft and malleable to suit you.

Snuggle Me Organic Feeding and Support Pillow

4. What's your fabric preference?

When you are pregnant, both your hormone levels and blood flow increase. This causes your body temperature to rise, meaning as a result, you may find you sweat more in an effort to cool you down. This is something to keep in mind when selecting a pillow, as the material used can impact on airflow and heat retention, with some materials being better for those that run hot and need a bit of extra relief. Both the Butterfly Maternity pillow and the Grow Bright pillow have a tencel cover which is a great option for those who are more prone to night sweats as it is naturally moisture-absorbent, both are machine washable too. Cotton is also great too as it is a natural fibre which allows air to circulate and move freely through the fabric, so the Big Flopsy pillow is a winner here. It is also filled with extra light, non toxic odourless micro-pearls, meaning the inside will remain fresh also, plus it is machine washable.

Growbright Body Support Pillow White

5. Will you use it after pregnancy?

Nothing beats product longevity. Getting multiple uses for one product is such a win, especially when it is a pricier item, call it girl math! Choosing a pillow that can convert into a nursing pillow once your baby arrives that can be easily perched on your lap whilst it gently cradles your baby is a game changer, especially in those early days when finding a comfortable position to breast or bottle feed can be tricky or awkward. The Snuggle Me Organic pillow not only becomes a great feeding support for your baby to nuzzle into, but a great spot for them to be propped up and supported against whilst they strengthen their core and neck muscles. Same goes for the Big Flopsy pillow. Albeit a little longer, its curved shape is ideal to wrap around your body and give extra support and relief to the back, shoulders and arms during breastfeeding, which can often tense up, particularly during the early days. The cotton cover offers natural comfort, and it is also a great pillow to prop your baby up against when they are closer to sitting up.

Red Castle Big Flopsy Maternity & Nursing Pillow Heather Grey

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