How to Use a Pregnancy Pillow

Pregnancy can be very exciting but dreadful at the same time. First, there’s the excitement and joy of getting a positive pregnancy test and sharing the news with family and friends. But then comes the nausea, after which mothers usually feel like all the sleep in the world is never enough. And just when everything starts to feel normal again, your bump begins to show and starts to get in the way of sleep.

Most mothers experience interrupted sleep during their pregnancy. The main issue for them is usually finding a comfortable position, especially during the last trimester. While getting quality sleep during the final months of pregnancy can be challenging, the right pregnancy pillow can help.

What’s a Pregnancy Pillow?

Pregnancy pillows or maternity pillows are sleeping aids that support your baby bump, back and bum so that you feel comfortable while sleeping.

They are best used by women who experience difficulty relaxing during their pregnancy. Yes, you can try a normal pillow but they are oftentimes smaller and can shift to a different position while you’re sleeping. The advantage of a pregnancy pillow is that they are specifically made to support your bump and back even if you move around at night.

What’s the Best Sleeping Position While Pregnant?

For obvious reasons, sleeping on your stomach while pregnant is definitely out of the question. According to the American Pregnancy Association (APA), sleeping on the left side is highly recommended. Sleeping on the right side is okay too but it puts extra pressure on your liver. This can make you uncomfortable because the organs in your body are already jostling for position to accommodate your growing baby. Sleeping on the left does not sacrifice your organs and promotes better blood flow for you and your baby.

Since the side sleeping position is recommended, pregnancy pillows can help you stay on your side. These aids will support your bump and back so that you can get a good night’s rest.

What are the Different Types of Pregnancy Pillows?

There are basically 5 different types of pregnancy pillows:

  • C Shape

The C-shaped pregnancy pillow is designed to provide support to the neck, head, back and pelvic regions. They are a favourite among pregnant women because they can prevent pelvic pain and reduce water retention, especially in the leg area.

The downside to using a C-shaped pillow is that they are not ideal for sleepers who constantly shift positions. This pillow is specifically designed for side sleepers though, so it will help you remain in that position. Luckily, it provides good support to the neck and shoulder, so you don’t have to worry about pain in those areas once you get up in the morning.

Thanks to the open-sided design, you can change the shape of the pillow if you get tired of using it the same way.

  • U Shape

U-shaped pillows support the whole body. The head, neck, belly, knees and even your ankles can be supported. This type of pillow is great for women who shift from side to side, and even to their backs, while sleeping. The shape allows for continuous support as you shift so you don’t experience discomfort while lying in either position. Needless to say, fussy sleepers can also use this pillow.

The U-shaped pillow is one of the biggest pillows available; it is also one of the most expensive on the market. The size can be a problem if you sleep in a small bed or if you sleep with your partner.

  • V Shape

If the U-shaped pillow is too big (or too pricey), a good alternative is the V-shaped pillow. This type of pregnancy pillow is smaller and more affordable, compared to the U-shaped one. However, it is just as comfortable and supportive. This pillow supports the head, neck and shoulders as you sleep on your side.

Since it is a smaller version of the U-shaped pillow, it cannot support the bum, back and knees. However, it is still a good choice for women who need neck, back and shoulder support.

  • J Shape

The J-shaped pillow is similar to the U-shaped one, but it’s missing a side. It’s also referred to as the candy cane pillow. This shape provides support to the head, neck, shoulders, bum and knees. This is ideal for women who sleep on smaller beds. The missing side makes it easy for users to shift from side to back sleeping position.

  • Wedge Shape

The wedge pillow is another popular pregnancy pillow. This type allows you to prop yourself up if you need elevation in the torso area. This versatile pillow can be used while sitting or sleeping, and you can even use it to support your bump.

The wedge pillow is a good choice for women who get too hot or too cold while sleeping. That’s because you can place a heating pad or cooling pad between you and the pillow while sleeping. It can also be used to help alleviate heartburn, whether you’re pregnant or not.


Some of these pillows can be a serious investment. That’s why some women forgo the pregnancy pillow. However, you can still use the pillow after pregnancy. These pillows can give you support while breastfeeding or bottle-feeding your baby. Just prop up the pillow under your arm so that it won’t get tired while you nurse. It can also take a while before the baby weight comes off, so many women still need belly and bum support during the post-partum recovery.

Best of all, many of these pillows can be used not just by pregnant women but by most sleepers. People who suffer from GERD, for instance, can use any of these pillows to help alleviate pain. Sleeping on the left side or in an elevated position prevents the release of acid, thereby preventing the burning sensation GERD sufferers feel.

People who snore can also benefit from some of these pillows, especially the wedge-shaped ones. Keeping your upper body elevated prevents the tongue from slipping down the throat and keeps airways open. This means a more peaceful sleep for you and your partner.

We hope pregnant women will be encouraged to check out these different types of pillows for a more comfortable experience.