Pregnancy Pillow Buying Guide: Expert Tips And Advice
Whether you just found out you’re pregnant or your due date is any day now, a pregnancy pillow is a great addition to your nighttime routine.
You can even use a pregnancy pillow after your little one arrives to support your body as it recovers and help with breastfeeding and other postpartum activities. Which pregnancy pillow is right for you? We can help with that!
We’ve created this buying guide full of expert tips and advice to help you choose the pregnancy pillow that matches your sleeping style and provides the comfort you need to sleep your best!
You’ll read about a few of the benefits of using a pregnancy pillow, tips for choosing one, why some moms opt for organic, and more. But first, let’s start with the basics: What is a pregnancy pillow?
What Is A Pregnancy Pillow?
A pregnancy pillow is a cushion that you can use to support your back, belly, hips, shoulders, head, and legs — sometimes all at the same time! — as your body grows and changes during pregnancy.
Some pregnancy pillows are simple wedge- or bean-shaped cushions for your belly or lower back. Others are large, tube-shaped cushions that provide support for your whole body.
These are just a few options, but later on, we’ll go into more detail about some of the other available shapes.
The largest pregnancy pillows even offer 360 degrees of support to help you sleep comfortably during your first, second, and third trimester.
With so many options available, choosing the right pregnancy pillow for your unique situation can be a challenge. Don’t despair! We’ll give you a trick to make the choice easier.
But before we get to that, we’ll discuss the benefits of using a pregnancy pillow to help you decide if you need one in the first place.
Benefits Of Using A Pregnancy Pillow
Some moms go through multiple pregnancies without the help of any sleep aids. Other moms need a sleep aid within the first few weeks of their pregnancies.
In fact, your preference for sleeping with a support cushion — or the placement of that cushion — may change from one pregnancy to the next, or even trimester to trimester.
Regardless of how you choose to sleep, most moms agree that there are some unique benefits to sleeping with a pregnancy pillow.
1) More Comfort
The main reason for using a pregnancy pillow is comfort. Adding extra support where you need it helps you stay as comfortable as possible during the months that your baby is growing inside you.
That can translate to longer, more restful sleep over all 40 (or more!) weeks of your pregnancy.
The fact that your baby belly changes and grows as your pregnancy progresses is not news to anyone. And your growing belly can cause you to need more support to stay comfortable.
That said, you may wonder if your belly is growing normally and if size and shape matter for a healthy pregnancy. You may have also noticed that your belly is different with each little one that you carry.
To learn more about what affects the appearance of your baby bump and what you can expect in each trimester, read our article here.
2) Deeper Sleep
As we mentioned above, when you’re comfortable in bed, you’ll sleep longer and wake up rested.
You’ll also sleep deeper and wake up less often during the night when you’re not tossing and turning trying to find a comfortable position to sleep in.
This deeper, longer, more restful sleep promotes your baby’s healthy growth, helps your body recover from the stresses of the day, reduces the effects of pregnancy brain, and gives you energy to adjust to your changing body.
Good sleep is a vital part of a healthy pregnancy. While a pregnancy pillow can help, there are also other ways to promote sound sleep, such as eliminating screen time, exercising during the day, and choosing a relaxing activity before bedtime.
Read more about how to get restful sleep during pregnancy here.
3) Less Pain
A quality pregnancy pillow can improve the alignment of your spine, back, and hips; relieve pressure while you sleep; and help you wake up with less pain in the morning.
Even a simple belly wedge can prevent pain in your abdominals and lower back.
It will also keep you from rolling onto your belly during the night — which, as any mom can attest, is an uncomfortable and painful experience, to say the least!
4) Breastfeeding Support
The right pregnancy pillow can also serve you well postpartum if you choose to breastfeed your baby. It can be configured to prop you up and help you find a comfortable position for nursing your little one.
The right breastfeeding position not only allows you to remain relaxed and comfortable but can also help your baby latch on correctly.
Now that we’ve discussed a few of the benefits of snoozing with and utilizing a pregnancy pillow, let’s jump straight into a few tips for choosing one for yourself. There are several factors to consider to find that one that’s just right.
Tips For Choosing The Right Pregnancy Pillow
Pregnancy pillows come in a wide variety of sizes — from simple one-foot by one-foot wedges for your belly and back all the way up to 10-foot long U-shaped tubes for every part of your body.
To help you choose the right pillow for your circumstances, consider the following questions:
- How big is your bed?
- Will others be sleeping with you?
- Where do you need the most support?
- Do you prefer spot support (e.g., between your knees) or full-body support?
- Do you have room to store the pregnancy pillow when you’re not in bed?
- Do you need to travel with your pregnancy pillow?
- Do you turn over a lot while sleeping?
Answering these questions can help you choose the pillow that will keep you comfy during the next nine months and beyond.
Pregnancy pillows also come in a wide variety of shapes and can be positioned in several different ways. The more common options include the following:
The wedge pregnancy pillows come in triangle or crescent shapes and, just like it sounds, they’re designed to wedge underneath whatever part of your body needs support.
For example, slide it underneath your belly when you are on your side or use it to prop your head up. And if you’re using it to support your belly, make sure to adjust it as your baby bump grows.
Similar to the wedge, the bean-shaped option is ideal for targeted support exactly where you need it.
The straight tube pregnancy pillow is a long, full-length body pillow that provides support for the front half of your body. When lying down on your side, hug the pillow and put it in-between your legs so that one is on top of the pillow and the other is underneath.
Keep in mind that if you need back support as well, this might not be the pillow for you.
The other three shapes we’ll mention are the U, C, and J shapes. These “alphabet” pregnancy pillows are perfect for 360-degree support, depending on how you sleep.
The U-shape has you covered on both sides with an opening at the bottom and is perfect for supporting your head, neck, back, and belly. The advantage to this shape is that you have back and belly support at the same time and can roll over without having to move the pillow with you.
A negative of this design is that these pillows are quite large, which could be an issue if you’re sharing the bed or need to store the pillow when you’re not using it!
In the shape of the letter C, this pillow also provides all-around support for your body, including your ankles. The opening is on the side, and most pregnant moms put the opening by their belly. Although, as with all pregnancy pillows, there’s no right or wrong way to use them.
One downside of this shape is that you’ll have to flip it every time you roll over so that the opening is on the side you want it on.
J-shaped or candy-cane-shaped pillows take up less space than C or U pillows, but they don’t support both your back and belly at the same time.
As for the long section of the pillow, use it to support either your back or belly, then choose whether to put the curved part under your head or between your legs.
When choosing a pregnancy pillow, don’t neglect to consider the fabric on the outside. Ask:
- Is it breathable?
- Does it feel good against your skin?
- Is it easy to wash?
- Is it easy to dry?
- Is it warm enough?
- Is it cool enough?
- How does it smell?
- Do you like the color?
If you buy a pillow early on in your pregnancy, you’ll be spending a lot of time with it, so it’s important to choose the one that feels, smells, and looks the best to you.
The filling inside your pregnancy pillow can mean the difference between a bad night’s sleep and a good night’s sleep.
Common fillings include:
- Memory foam
- Polyester fibers
- Styrofoam balls
- Natural filling
When choosing the filling for your pregnancy pillow, it all comes down to comfort. Which one feels the best to you? Which one provides the comfort you’re looking for?
Selecting a filling is a very personal decision, so don’t be afraid to experiment with different options.
If you’re like most first-time (or maybe even long-time) moms, you’ve probably never thought about noise as it applies to a pillow. But some pregnancy pillows are definitely noisier than others.
Those filled with seeds tend to crinkle when you move. Similarly, the fabric on the outside may rustle loudly when you turn. The filling and the fabric may even interact in a way that’s noisier than you’d like.
A noisy pillow may wake you up in the middle of the night or keep you from falling asleep in the first place. Avoid noisy pillows of any kind to sleep better during your pregnancy!
When taking into account the size, shape, fabric, filling, and noise level of your pillow, there’s one more factor to consider — whether or not you want it to be organic.
Since many people have questions about this, we’d like to talk about some of the reasons why moms are going with organic options.
First of all, what makes organic fabrics different from run-of-the-mill fabric? Certified organic fabrics are free of harmful chemicals and toxic dyes while non-organic fabrics can be made with toxic, synthetic blends.
This is important for fabrics that come into regular contact with your (or your baby’s) skin. So, look for fabrics that are GOTS (Global Organic Textile Standards) certified.
Another way to do away with harmful chemicals in your home is to make sure that the products you buy are GREENGUARD Certified. If you’re unfamiliar with this certification, here’s the lowdown.
The Greenguard Environmental Institute is an industry-independent, non-profit organization that tests for chemical emissions in products and buildings to reduce pollutants in the environment, improve indoor air quality, and protect the individuals who use the products they test.
GREENGUARD Certified products are free of over 10,000 chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), meaning low emission levels and better air quality in your home.
The most stringent certification is the GREENGUARD Gold Certification, which includes criteria for even more chemicals and requires lower total VOC emission levels to ensure that products are acceptable for use in environments like schools, nurseries, and healthcare facilities.
When possible, we recommend filling your home with organic and GREENGUARD Gold Certified fabric — whether it’s for you or your baby.
If you’re hopping on the organic train for your family, here are two organic baby products that you can add to your nursery.
Organic Crib Sheets
Made with supremely soft organic muslin cotton, our Organic Cotton Sheets are GOTS certified and 100% breathable. That means they provide superior airflow to keep your baby comfy while they sleep and pair perfectly with our breathable Crib Mattress.
With all-around elastic, these sheets provide a safe, snug fit for any crib mattress and are machine washable for the most hygienic sleep surface. Choose from various colors and patterns to match your nursery decor.
Our Organic Swaddle Blankets are also made with organic, muslin cotton and GOTS certified. And since they’re completely breathe-through, these swaddles help keep your baby at the perfect temperature to avoid overheating.
Keep plenty of swaddles on hand since they can double as a changing pad, stroller cover, nursing cover, tummy time mat, or burp cloth.
Unsure about how to go about swaddling your baby? Learn more about perfecting your technique here.
Sleeping With A Pregnancy Pillow: Expert Advice
When shopping for and sleeping with a pregnancy pillow, keep in mind that there’s no universally perfect option for everyone. What works for your friend may not work for you. That’s OK!
Comfort is personal, so always go with what feels best rather than what someone says. Take their advice as a starting point, but always do what’s right for you.
Remember that trick we mentioned at the beginning of this article that can make choosing a pregnancy pillow super easy? Here it is!
One of the best ways to find out what you need from a pregnancy pillow before you buy is to arrange loose pillows on the bed around you until you feel the most comfortable.
What general size and shape do those pillows take?
Experiment with the loose pillows for a few nights — and a few naps! — and then start shopping for a cushion that meets your needs.
As you’re looking around at all the options, remember the advice of the National Sleep Foundation: sleep on your left side during the second and third trimesters of your pregnancy.
Even if you feel good sleeping on your back at the moment, eventually, the weight of your belly will compromise your circulation and make it unsafe to sleep in that position any longer.
That’s when it’s time to sleep on your side. What type of pillow do you need to make this transition easy and comfortable?
If you’re still early in your pregnancy, think ahead to the changes to come — the weight of your bump, sore breasts, loose joints, tight muscles — and choose a pregnancy pillow that addresses those issues.
And don’t be afraid to ask for advice or, better yet, try your friend’s pregnancy pillow before you buy one of your own!
Help Your Baby Sleep Comfortably After They’re Born
Good sleep — it’s both a luxury and essential to everyday life! A pregnancy pillow can help you get the comfortable sleep that you need as you wait for your little one. And after your baby arrives, you’ll want them to sleep as comfortably as possible, too!
For newborns, that means a crib or bassinet with a soft, supportive, breathable mattress and a fitted sheet — like those from Newton Baby — and nothing else. Not even bumpers, blankets, pillows, or a top sheet!
Placing your little one in an empty crib for their nap or at night helps eliminate the risk that they’ll roll onto their stomach while sleeping and not be able to breathe.
With Newton Baby’s Wovenaire® and Breathe-Thru technologies built into every mattress, you can rest easy, secure in the fact that your baby will get the best, safest night’s sleep possible.
If you’re worried about keeping your baby warm and secure while they sleep since it’s not safe to use a blanket, we recommend wrapping them in a Newton Baby Swaddle as we mentioned earlier. They’re super simple and mimic the feeling of being in the womb.
That, in combination with a properly sized breathable and supportive mattress from Newton Baby, will keep your precious little one comfortable all night long!
For more information on helping your baby sleep through the night and to check out our crib mattresses, sheets, pads, and swaddles, visit NewtonBaby.com today.
The Right Pregnancy Pillow For Comfy Sleep
We’ve covered a lot of ground in this article! Now that you know the benefits that using a pregnancy pillow can provide, you’re ready to use the tips in this article to choose the pregnancy pillow that will be perfect for you and your needs.
Test out some different options by arranging loose pillows on the bed to see what configuration is most comfortable. Think about factors such as the size, shape, fabric, filling, and whether or not you want to opt for organic.
Then, full steam ahead with finding the right pregnancy pillow to help you stay comfortable and get the sleep you need!