The Top of Mind Newsletter by New Modern Mom is your guide to a fulfilling life, packed with wisdom on motherhood, travel, career, style and self care. Get the latest resources, news and musings right to your inbox.


How to Use a Pregnancy Pillow to Get Your Best Sleep

woman in white tank top sleeping




Written by:

Barbara Mighdoll

They say to take the opportunity before baby comes to really rest up. But moms… how much of a joke is that? Between the watermelon attached to your belly, the long to-do lists to prepare for baby, and insomnia it’s hard to feel rested. To aid in the effort of getting a full night’s sleep, meet the pregnancy pillow. A quality pregnancy pillow can help provide the support you need while helping you lounge comfortably, even when you’re not catching those ZZZs on your favorite mattress.

But with so many options on the market, what is the best one? And really… do you need a pregnancy pillow? And most importantly, how to use a pregnancy pillow?

A pregnancy pillow (or body pillow or maternity cushion), is designed to support your entire body, including your growing belly, provide back support and alleviate the strain on your back and hips. Choosing the best one depends on your sleeping habits. If you're a side sleeper, a C-shaped pillow will support your back, belly, and knees. Or a wedge shape, which is a triangular type of pillow, can be useful for relieving strain from your belly when sleeping on your side. For those who prefer to sleep on their back or switch positions throughout the night, a U-shaped cushion is a versatile choice.

To fully enjoy the benefits of a pregnancy pillow, start by aligning the gentle curve of the pillow with the natural curve of your body. This optimal alignment ensures maximum support and comfort. The pillow's ends should be strategically positioned to cradle your head and provide support between your knees, promoting a neutral spinal position. With this perfect setup, you can now drift off into dreamland, cocooned in a blissful embrace of unparalleled comfort and relaxation.

How to use a pregnancy pillow

How to Use a Pregnancy Pillow to Get Your Best Sleep

The Importance of Adequate Sleep During Pregnancy

Did you know that sleep isn't just about resting your tired eyes? When you’re growing a new life, sleep plays an even more significant role in hormone regulation, emotional well-being, and baby’s growth.

During pregnancy, your body works tirelessly, day and night, to create a cozy and nurturing home for your little one. It's a full-time job and then some, as every system and organ adapts and adjusts to accommodate the growing life within you. From the delicate balance of hormones to the increased blood volume and the expansion of your uterus, there's a remarkable transformation happening inside you.

And amidst all these changes, one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your baby is to prioritize rest. I understand that it's easier said than done, especially when you have a belly that seems to have a mind of its own, making it challenging to find a comfortable position to sleep in. But taking the time to relax, unwind, and get sufficient rest is crucial for your well-being and the healthy development of your little one.

So, remember to listen to your body's cues, take breaks when needed, and create a peaceful environment that promotes relaxation. Whether it's indulging in a warm bath, practicing yoga, or simply finding a comfortable spot to put your feet up, every little effort counts. Your body is working hard, and you deserve all the support and rest you can get during this incredible journey of pregnancy.

How a Pregnancy Pillow Improves Your Sleep Quality

Here's where these products can swoop in to save the day (or rather, the night). Not only does it provide comfort, but according to a study by the National Sleep Foundation it can also help manage sleep disorders common while pregnant. Yes, you heard that right! A simple pillow could be your ticket to dreamland. But how does it achieve this? Let's break it down:

  • Aligning your spine: It works by providing support to your belly, which in turn eases the strain on your back and hips, easing aches and round ligament pain.
  • Improving blood circulation: When placed between your knees, it can improve circulation, which is necessary for delivering nutrients to your developing baby.
  • Reducing heartburn and shortness of breath: Heartburn and shortness of breath are common pregnancy symptoms that can be eased by propping your upper body up a cushion.

A pregnancy pillow isn't just about comfort but also about promoting better sleep and, ultimately, a healthier pregnancy. 

How to use a pregnancy pillow

Pregnancy Pillows Shapes and Benefits

Okay, you've decided to invest in a body pillow. Great move! But with so many types on the market (I know, I was shocked by the selection too), which one should you choose? Here are the unique benefits of each type to help you make an informed decision. Personally, I preferred the F-shaped cushion to support my back and belly while not overheating.

How to use a pregnancy pillow


Ever dreamed of cuddling a fluffy cloud? Well, a C-shaped pregnancy pillow might be the closest thing to it. Designed to match the natural contour of your body, this pillow provides full body support from your head to your toes. And here's a bonus – it's also perfect for nursing once your baby arrives.

How to use a pregnancy pillow


Are U-shaped full-body pillows worth the hype? The short answer is, absolutely! Imagine being hugged from both sides, comforting, right? That's exactly how a U-shaped feels. It offers full-body support to both your front and back, making it an ideal choice if you're a toss-and-turn-all-night kind of sleeper. But, remember to make room for this one in your bed as it's a bit on the larger side. Additionally, the U-shape provides excellent belly support, which is essential for pregnant women looking for a comfortable sleep position. The U-shape also ensures proper neck support, helping you maintain healthy body alignment during sleep and preventing unnecessary movements.

How to use a pregnancy pillow


If you're dealing with back pain, a wedge pregnancy pillow could be your new best friend. Its ramp-like design helps to elevate your upper body, reducing pressure on your spine. Plus, it's compact and portable, making it perfect for that babymoon you’re planning.

And if you are having a planned c-section or end up with a c-section, I highly recommend equipping your bed with this kind of pillow to help in the first couple of weeks with rest and getting in and out of bed.

How to use a pregnancy pillow


Last, but not least, let's talk about the F-shaped pillow. This one's a game-changer for side sleepers. With its innovative design, it provides support to your belly and knee at the same time, while alleviating back pain, ensuring a comfortable sleeping position.

How to use a pregnancy pillow

Choosing the Right Pillow

When it comes to choosing the best maternity cushion for your needs, several factors come into play. It's much like finding the perfect pair of shoes – it should fit you just right, offer comfort, and of course, not break the bank.

Material and Filling

Just as you wouldn't compromise on the fabric of your maternity dress, the material and filling of your prospective pregnancy pillow are crucial. And, yes, there are options aplenty. You could opt for a memory foam-filled pillow which adapts to your body shape, providing personalized comfort as your body changes. On the other hand, if you run hot, a gel-infused foam pillow could be your cooling haven. When it comes to choosing the best pillows for pregnancy, it is important to consider the fill type and firmness. According to experts, medium-firm pillows are recommended as they are soft enough to be comfortable but sturdy enough to support body weight overnight without flattening out.

Size and Shape

Your body size, preferred sleeping position, and bed size all play a role in determining the best size and shape for your pregnancy pillow. So, if you're a back or stomach sleeper, a smaller wedge-shaped pillow, like a regular pillow, might suffice. But, if you're a side sleeper or someone who tosses and turns, a larger U or F-shaped pillow could be the perfect fit. If you can, try out different shapes to find the right match for your needs.

Finding an Affordable Option

While a pregnancy pillow is likely to be one of your best investments during maternity, it doesn't mean you have to shell out a fortune (I really, I would try not to spend too much on this purchase). You can find many of these across various price ranges. Some higher-end models offer unique features like temperature regulation and even heartbeat sounds (not worth it). But, on a budget? No worries, there are plenty of affordable options that still provide comfort and support.

Making the Most Out of Your Pregnancy Pillow

Here's how can you truly reap all the benefits your new pillow has to offer.

Essential Sleep Tips

Sleeping while pregnant can be quite a challenge. As someone who has experienced this, I understand how frustrating it can be when you're unable to find a comfortable position to get that much-needed rest. That's why I've tried every trick in the book to achieve that sweet slumber. But let me tell you, the real game-changer for me was discovering the wonders of a pregnancy pillow.

  • Position – A pregnancy pillow can truly be your best ally during this time. It's specially designed to provide the support and comfort that your changing body needs. One of the key tips I've found helpful is to position the pregnancy pillow in a way that supports not only your bump but also your back and legs. Trust me, you'll instantly feel the difference it makes in relieving pressure and promoting better sleep.
  • Adjustment – Another great advantage of some pregnancy pillows is that they come with adjustable fills. This means you can customize the firmness and support according to your personal preference. Don't hesitate to experiment and adjust the pillow throughout the night until you find the perfect fit that helps you sleep like a dream.
  • Consistency – Lastly, consistency is key when it comes to using your pregnancy pillow. Making it a nightly routine allows your body to adapt to the support and comfort it provides. Over time, you'll notice how much easier it becomes to find that peaceful and restful sleep you deserve.

Sleeping Positions During Pregnancy

The position you sleep in is equally important. Here's what you need to know:

  • The SOS (Sleep On Side) position is widely recommended for pregnant women. It improves circulation to the heart, benefiting both mom and baby. Your pregnancy pillow can provide the necessary support to comfortably maintain this position.
  • Placing a pregnancy pillow between your knees can help align your hips and prevent lower back pain. This trick worked wonders for me!
  • Remember, it's okay to switch positions. Listen to your body and adjust as needed.

My Preferred Pregnancy Pillows

Frida Mom Adjustable Keep-Cool Pregnancy Pillow

Frida Mom

Now, the Frida Mom Adjustable Keep-Cool Pregnancy Pillow… it's like sleeping on a cloud. With this maternity pillow, you can forget about sweltering nights. Its cooling technology saves you from the extra heat (thanks, hormones!). The best part? It's fully adjustable and can be configured into four different shapes (U, C, I, L). You can tweak it, twist it, and turn it to your heart's content to find that sweet, sweet comfort spot. And, let's not forget its chic design—definitely a bonus!

Mom Cozy F-Shaped Pregnancy Pillow


The Momcozy F shaped pregnancy pillow, on the other hand, is a one-stop solution for all your comfort needs, both during pregnancy and postpartum. So, why do I swear by this? Well, its unique F shape design fits your body like a glove, providing support where it matters most. It's like this pillow knows you better than you know yourself! But, the cherry on the cake? This pillow doubles as a nursing pillow, making those midnight feeds a breeze. Moms say they love continuing to use all or part of this pregnancy pillow postpartum for support throughout recovery and while feeding.

Additional Items To Help You Sleep Better During Pregnancy

These little additions to your bedtime routine can make a world of difference. Remember, ladies, during pregnancy, your comfort is paramount. So why not pamper yourself with these sleep-enhancing wonders?

Cooling Sheets

Let's talk about something that can turn your bed into a paradise: cooling sheets. Trust me, these are not your regular bedsheets. These sheets are made with technologically advanced fabrics that feel like a breath of fresh, cool air on your skin. And boy, do they make a difference! Just imagine those hot, muggy nights turning into peaceful slumbers. It's like having a personal breeze right in your bed.

Cooling Pajamas

Now, if we pair these sheets with cooling pajamas, we're in for a treat. These PJs are designed to wick away all that pesky sweat and leave you feeling fresh and dry. But it's not just that – they are also incredibly soft and comfy. So, you don't have to worry about any itchy fabrics ruining your night. And let's be honest, there's nothing like slipping into a cool set of PJs after a long day. It’s like a mini spa retreat right in your bedroom. 

Pregnancy Pillows Frequently Asked Questions

When Should You Buy One? Is It Safe to Use During All Trimesters?

The best time to bring a pregnancy pillow into your life is when you start feeling discomfort or you need extra support during sleep or relaxation. And there's no such thing as “too early” to prioritize comfort and good sleep. So, from the first trimester to the third, a pregnancy pillow remains a safe and beneficial option for expectant mothers. Generally, it’s recommended to introduce a pregnancy pillow into your sleep routine around the second trimester, but some women get one right when they find out they’re pregnant.

How Long Will It Last? Is It Possible to Use After Giving Birth?

On average, a good quality cushion can last for years.

And, the fun doesn’t stop after giving birth. Pregnancy pillows are incredibly versatile. Not only do they offer exceptional support for expectant mothers throughout their pregnancy journey, but they continue to be useful even after your little bundle of joy arrives.

Once your baby has made their grand entrance into the world, you can repurpose your pregnancy pillow for nursing purposes. Its ergonomic design and plush cushioning provide optimal comfort and support, making breastfeeding moments more enjoyable and relaxing for both you and your precious little one.

These cushions can also aid in recovering from a C-section. They are like the gift that keeps on giving.

Care and Cleaning Tips

Most pillows are designed with convenience in mind. They come equipped with removable and washable covers, making the cleaning process a breeze. Simply remove the cover, toss it in the washing machine on a gentle cycle, and let it air dry. As for the pillow itself, spot cleaning is generally recommended to ensure its longevity and freshness. By providing easy-to-clean features, these pillows offer expecting mothers the peace of mind they deserve during this special time. Always be sure to check teh labels for specific care instructions.

How Can It Help Alleviate Back Pain?

Pregnancy is a beautiful journey, but it can come with its fair share of challenges, such as back pain. However, worry not, because your maternity cushion is here to be your ultimate savior. Designed to provide optimal support to your growing belly and relieve the pressure on your back, these pillows work wonders in alleviating back pain. Say goodbye to discomfort and embrace the blissful moments all thanks to the incredible support of your trusted cushion.

What About Snoring and Acid Reflux?

Absolutely, ladies! Pregnancy pillows are not just for comfort, but they also perform some very crucial health functions. They can help in reducing snoring by aligning your body in a way that enhances air circulation. For acid reflux, a little elevation with the help of these pillows can work wonders. 

Featured Image by Andrea Piacquadio


This post may contain affiliate links including the Amazon Associates Program. When you make purchases through links in this post, I may earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.  I only endorse products I believe in.