“Get your sleep now” is a common refrain most pregnant women hear. It’s meant as a precursor to the newborn that is to come, but what most people forget is how difficult it is to get a good night's sleep while pregnant. You can’t sleep on your stomach, natch. But after 20 weeks, you’re also not allowed to sleep on your back. And as a further nuisance, it’s preferred that you sleep on your left side only, to help with blood flow.
All these rules get slightly easier with the extra support of the right pillow. I spent my first pregnancy sticking random throw pillows underneath my growing bump, so I was thrilled to test out some maternity pillows in the last—and most uncomfortable—stage of this pregnancy. In my experience, the most comfy and supportive pregnancy pillow was the Queen Rose U-Shape Full Body Pillow(available at Amazon).
Here are the best pregnancy pillows we tested ranked, in order:
Boppy Side Sleeper
Boppy Pregnancy Wedge
LeahCo Best Rest
LeahCo Snoogle Total Body
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Finding the best pillow for me was truly a challenge. I’m a light sleeper as is, and the constant aches and pains from my growing bump made it worse. The Queen Rose Full Body U-Shaped pillow did the best to provide both belly support and head support, but it was also was fantastic comfort on my back. My head felt like it was on a regular pillow which helped me sleep soundly. It was also easy for me to shift my side sleeping position from my left to my right and still feel supported in all the right areas. I seriously even gave it a hug while I slept.
It was also great to prop up and sit in bed with, as it offers neck and arm support when used against a headboard. Even though it was versatile in this way in bed, it did not entice me to move it to the couch. The U shape of it was too much to maneuver in that small of a sitting space.
Lastly, of the full body pillows, the machine washable pillowcase on the Queen Rose was the easiest to remove and put back on. The last thing you want to think about when you’re trying to work around your body is how you’re going to keep a pillow clean. I was so relieved when I saw that the zippers on this pillowcase went almost all the way around.
I want to give this pillow props for being, by far, the most interesting shape: It’s basically two balls of pillow connected by a piece of fabric. The versatility of this pillow was fantastic. It was easy to move from one location to another and could be used for your back/belly, your legs, your arms while lounging on a couch, neck support or as a pillow under your head. Cleaning was easy as well. For me, the downside was not having the full body support like you get from a total body pillow and I could see how the shape may be awkward for some other people.
Hi, I’m Steph Garcia. I’m a comedy writer living in Los Angeles and mom of (newly!) two. I am always looking for products and hacks to make parenting easier on me and make life run a little smoother. Parenting is hard enough so if you can handle the investment in anything that could potentially help, I say do it. Perfection is impossible. Good enough is better.
While my pregnancies have been on the easier side, that doesn’t mean they haven’t come with their own challenges. I was wildly uncomfortable during both and the Braxton Hicks were no joke. Any opportunity to rest and get some support on this belly was welcomed with open arms (that I then wrapped around a pillow).
Over the last three weeks of my pregnancy, I tested several maternity pillows. Some were full body while others were smaller and could only be used on one part of the body at a time. Each pillow was tested for at least two nights and a relaxation period. The pillows were tested for versatility, comfort, aesthetic, storage, fit, and overall experience and each pillowcase was tested for ease of washing and drying.
What to Consider When Buying a Pregnancy Pillow
Room In Your Bed
Full body pillows can make you feel cozy and supported but they will most definitely feel like having a whole other person in bed. If you share your bed with a partner, know that a full body pillow will be an instant barrier between you and them. But hey, maybe this is a plus!
How Hot You Get
I’m perpetually cold. However, there are plenty of people on the opposite side of that spectrum, especially when growing another human being. Full body pillows will up the heat under the covers, and not in the metaphorical way.
Where It Hurts
Some people are natural side sleepers so the pregnancy may only affect one portion of their body. In that case, a total body pillow may be unnecessary. A smaller model would target the areas you specifically need without taking up space on the bed.
Other Pregnancy Pillows We Tested
Pharmedoc U-Shape Pregnancy Pillow
I thought the PharMeDoc was the right amount of squishy for comfort. While the pillow itself is full body and therefore cumbersome to move, the C-shape made it versatile in terms of using it in other locations of my house. I loved wrapping it around myself when lounging. My husband even ended up using it on the couch as neck support. But in testing, I realized I was most comfortable in a total body U-shape. The C-shape is best used in the fetal position which made me feel stiff overnight more quickly than being able to stretch out some in the U-shape..
Whereas the PharMeDoc was great in terms of how cushiony it was, the Comfysure C-shape actually cradled me best. Again, with the C-shape, it was only if my knees were bent into a fetal position, but it did actually make me feel like a lil baby. Same as the PharMeDoc, the C-shape is much more versatile in other areas of the house than the U-shape full body pillows.
The AngQi U-shape pillow had a great firmness to it which I appreciated on my back and in between my legs to align my hips. However, it was tough on my head. I found myself flipping the pillow around so that the head bit sat at my feet and I used my regular pillow up top. It actually worked fine this way since the firmness still supported my legs and my back but obviously this positioning was not the intention of the pillow. The firmness also made it difficult to use in any other position when just lounging. The removable cover was also not the easiest to get on and off making anytime I had to clean it frustrating.
This is one of those things that I feel like people love and it didn’t work well for me. The firmness, shape and overall feel of the wedge pillow were great. I loved having this for placing in between my knees and for some minor back support while lounging, but throughout the night, I just kept losing it, which just made sleep more frustrating. And when I placed it under my very pregnant belly, it pushed up in a way that hurt more than supported.
The firmness of the Best Rest was actually very appealing to me. I preferred the sizes of the Best Rest wedges to the Boppy Wedge pillow. However, it was difficult to get into place and adjust in the night. Also, while you could separate the wedges for support outside of night sleep, they’re held together by Velcro which can snag on other materials. And the cotton cover was nearly impossible to remove and clean. The whole thing bummed me out.
While I really wanted to enjoy this full body pillow, I just couldn’t get comfortable in it. It felt like the firmness of the pillow up top was more than the firmness by my legs and I would’ve liked it to be opposite. The shape also was a bit too small for my body. I’m a little under 5’6” and the top dug into my shoulder, making sleep uncomfortable. Lastly, the pillow cover had only one hole, so it had to be pulled all the way off and through again after washing, which was a pain.
Steph Garcia is a writer in Los Angeles. She was recently a writing fellow in the NHMC's TV Writer's program and a writer for the CBS Diversity Showcase. She has also worked for shows on ABC and performs live sketch comedy at The Ruby LA.
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