Best Pregnancy Pillows
If you want an excellent C-shaped pillow, the INSEN Pillow is the one. This pillow provides thick padding that somewhat conforms to your body under pressure while still offering firm support. It has a jersey cover that wicks moisture and doesn't create or hold heat, keeping hormone-fueled moms cooler than some of the competition. We like that it can fold and stack for upright support, and the thinner zipper has an end cover to prevent accidental face rubbing. This pillow is long, running to the toe on our side-sleeping 5'7" tester. You can use it with the ends of the C in the front or behind, depending on where you need support, making it a versatile choice.
This pillow doesn't have much back support for all users. However, using it with the pillow ends in the front can provide some back support but this sacrifices belly assistance. Depending on your needs, this may not be the one for you. Overall, this option is a tester favorite, with some users even swapping back to it mid-sleep when testing the competition. It is comfortable, stays relatively cool, and has a soft, washable cover.
The Chilling Home Pillow is a unique U that is almost an O-shaped pillow. At first look, you may think it is a standard U, but it isn't. One leg curves around the bottom to meet the other leg, completing the almost O shape. This means you can flip the pillow and sleep with your head on the bottom of the O, which could provide all-around support without creating the trapped feeling some users dislike about the standard U-shape. This pillow has the thickest padding in our review. It offers firm support and bounces back during use. You can position this pillow to create support for sitting, snuggling, reading, or nursing which means you might be using it well after pregnancy.
This pillow has a soft velvety cover that retained heat in our tests, making it hotter than some of the competition. It is also larger than most contenders, taking up a significant amount of space on the bed; something to consider if your space is limited. Last, some users find the U shape confining, and support can shift to trapped discomfort over time. Overall, we love the padding on this pillow. It provided superior back support, making it an excellent choice for those moms looking for full-body support or struggling with back pain.
The QUEEN ROSE U-Shape Pillow is a traditional U-shaped pillow with a budget-friendly price. This pillow provides full-body support with midway bump-outs that dip to cradle burgeoning bellies. It has a soft cover with zipper end covers and adequate padding that is thicker than most of the pillows in our tests.
While the cover is uber skin-friendly and soft, it retained heat during testing and could result in unnecessary sweating or overheating if your hormones are on an upswing. The shape can also cause some to feel trapped as the U's legs only spread so wide at the U bend. However, this width limit is a problem for almost every U-shape pillow and is not unique to the Queen Rose. In the end, we think moms who are searching for the most all-around support will like a U-shape pillow, and this product feels high-quality for a wallet-loving price.
The PharMeDoc U-Shape Detachable is one of the most versatile pillows in the review sporting a removable zippered leg. The detached leg can then work as added support wherever you need it. This U pillow turns into an L with one zip and can help pregnant moms avoid feeling trapped. It has a jersey cover you can remove with a hidden zipper track for increased comfort. The PharMeDoc offers front and back support with the leg on, and the padding is adequate for most testers.
This pillow's detachable leg is awkward, and when in place, there is a gap of over 8 inches where there is no padding at all. This design choice means there is no support in the front or back, depending on how you use it, and this could be a deal-breaker depending on your needs. The fabric isn't very soft and not on par with the jersey-style competition for comfort or temperature control. While not our absolute favorite, this pillow does offer something no competitor in this review has with the removable leg. This feature alone potentially increases the versatility and customized support where you need it, making it a possible choice if you're struggling with changing needs.
Smaller women looking for a C pillow might be interested in the PharMeDoc C Shaped Pillow. This pillow is thinner than the INSEN and could be a better fit for those side-sleepers with narrower shoulders or hips. It has a nice shape that doesn't change under pressure, and it gives support where you position the pillow. It has a jersey cover that spot cleans well and is removable for washing.
This pillow isn't as soft as the competition jersey covers, but it doesn't trap heat, and that's a win as any pregnant woman will tell you. It also isn't as thick as some users might need, so if you know you have average or broader shoulders that require higher support, this may not be the best fit for you. However, we like the shape and size of this pillow and think petite users will as well, making it a great contender for some moms to be.
The Meiz Pregnancy Pillow has a different fabric on each side of this U-shape pillow, which gives you options if one side is too hot or not soft enough. The cover is removable and washable. We like the side bump-outs for the belly and back support, and the end has knee support if you need it for additional comfort. The padding is thick compared to some of the competition and provides proper neck alignment for side sleeping for most users in our tests.
This pillow is smaller and has a narrow opening that could leave some users feeling trapped. However, others might find it supportive and comforting to be wrapped in support. It is also somewhat shorter, which makes it a less than ideal choice for taller users. Last, the zipper is large and exposed like that on a sleeping bag, and it feels like overkill and is not skin-friendly. Overall, we like this option and its two-sided fabric choices. It is a simple and straightforward U pillow shorter users may like.
This QUEEN ROSE U-Shaped Long Pillow is a perfect solution for taller users who want leg support and can't get it without an additional pillow. This pillow is U-shaped giving front and back support with extra long legs in sizes up to 65 inches! It has a smooth but soft removable cover you can wash that didn't retain heat in our tests and was easy to spot clean.
This pillow isn't as thick as the competition, offering less support than some other contenders. This thinness means it might not give the right support where you need it, especially if you hope to side sleep and have broader shoulders or hips. It also doesn't have a zipper pull cover, which isn't a deal-breaker, but most of the competition did, and we got spoiled, not rubbing our faces on a metal zipper end. Overall, we like the cover and the extra length this pillow brings to the table, and taller moms will appreciate the size variations that provide support for the full length of their longer appendages.
The Boppy Total Body Pregnancy Pillow has a unique C or S shape we didn't see in the competition. It is the smallest pillow in the group, making it easier to stow when not in use or to take in the car. This pillow is of better quality than some of the competition, and the cover has a modern, stylish pattern that will go nicely with most nursery decor.
This pillow's shape is not the best for back support and has little to no belly support compared to the competition (below left). In our tests, the ends were too thick, causing misalignment of testers' necks and strange gapping in the legs when we tried to put the lower end between them (below right). Last, the cover is rough and super itchy for all testers, many feeling it was not face-friendly, making it the last choice in our lineup. Overall, if you need a travel pillow for support and comfort in the car or on a plane, this might be the right choice. However, for most sleeping needs, we think this pillow lacks the size to be truly useful.
Why You Should Trust Us
We specialize in baby gear and testing all things related to pregnancy, babyhood, and beyond. This pillow review is led by Wendy Schmitz, Senior Review Editor, and previous preggers gal of two boys. During pregnancy, Wendy tried various pregnancy pillows, which gave her keen insight into what makes one better than the other. She researched over 20 potential contenders before choosing 8 top choices for hands-on testing. In this review, she used each pillow, comparing it side-by-side with the others to see what the differences are and which options are better than the rest and why. We also had feedback from pregnant testers on their views and experiences using the top-ranked pillows.
Analysis and Test Results
The final trimester of pregnancy comes with sleeping challenges as your size and shape change, and your ligaments relax. Finding a comfortable sleeping or sitting position when pregnant can sometimes feel impossible, making a great pregnancy pillow a must-have piece of gear. We assessed each pillow for overall comfort and versatility to help moms-to-be find a comfortable position, whether sleeping, snuggling, reading, or later, breastfeeding.
Essential pregnancy pillow factors for comfort are the thickness of the pillow, its ability to provide support where needed, and how the cover feels at first and during prolonged use.
Pregnancy pillows should be thick enough to support your body without being too thick and causing discomfort. A too-thin pillow is also a problem as it can't provide the support you'll likely need. The most common areas that need help are often the low back and the baby belly. The Chilling Home pillow has the best thickness in the bunch with the support that feels like heaven on your back and supports your head in alignment with your shoulder for side sleeping. We like that the side can tuck under your belly or push out if you don't need the height. This option also includes one longer leg that curves around for ankle support (something missing in the competition). The INSEN is a C-shaped pillow that provides adequate thickness for neck alignment (for most moms) and supports a natural spacing between legs to keep knees and ankles from feeling uncomfortable. As your ligaments relax in preparation for pregnancy, support between your legs can be a must-have necessity for comfort and alignment. Alternatively, the QUEEN ROSE U-Shaped Long Pillow has longer legs, which can provide middle support for longer legs, but it isn't as thick as some of the competition, which may result in the need for an additional neck pillow. The PharMeDoc U-Shape Detachable has a leg that zips off, and there is a weird gap in the top part of the leg with no padding at all. This design means you don't have support in this location, which is strange because you'll need to decide if this is the space you put your belly or back. It might be better to skip this "zip-apart" option and add a second standard pillow to the mix instead.
The pillow's shape and the ability to move or alter the shape is another consideration, as your needs can and will vary throughout your pregnancy and afterward. If a pillow is immovable or lacks versatility, it might work temporarily but could fail in the long run. Alternatively, if it is too versatile, it may not do anything well like many things that try to do everything. The U-shaped pillows are the least adaptable for sleeping, and while they offer full support both front and back, they can also feel somewhat claustrophobic depending on your size or sleep position. No matter how hard you try, you won't be able to kick out a leg of the U to give yourself more space, and if you sleep with your head on the U bend, you could wake up with your shoulders trapped under the legs. However, these pillows can easily be bent, pulling the legs up and folding them for back support for sitting in bed. You can also wrap a leg over your lap to support a nursing little one or a laptop. There are more folding and shaping options with the U shape for awake positioning than sleeping, so it may best suit your needs depending on your goals. Overall, during tests, we prefer the C shape as it is far less confining during sleep, can be wrapped through your legs to support your back, or can be folded in half to offer sitting support. The INSEN Pillow is our favorite C-shape pillow as it offers slightly thicker padding and support than the PharMeDoc C Shaped Pillow.
The cover on your pillow can also influence your comfort depending on whether it retains heat, is soft or scratchy, or easy to clean (hey, accidents happen). Generally speaking, no matter what time of year you find yourself pregnant, you will likely run hot (thanks hormone cocktail). With an increase in blood flow and hormones, many pregnant women find they feel hot most of the time; you are a human incubator, after all. While we understand the draw of a velvety soft cover for comfort against sensitive skin, we think it's important to mention they retain heat and create an environment where sweat procreates. Sweaty velvet isn't a good thing, trust us. They are also harder to spot clean should you spill while eating, drool while sleeping, or later, your baby spits up. We really liked the ISEN Pillow with a soft, somewhat stretchy, jersey knit cover. This cover is silky smooth, breathable, and seems to wick moisture away (what magic is this?). Plus, it helped keep us cool all night. The QUEEN ROSE U-Shaped Long Pillow is also good at limiting heat retention. In our tests, the most disliked cover is on the Boppy Total Body Pregnancy Pillow. This cover feels like a very low thread count cotton that is rough and caused testers' bare skin to itch. In our opinion, it simply wasn't skin-friendly compared to the competition and even seemed to catch on clothing instead of letting it slide across the surface.
While no pillow can "do it all," and in our experience, those that try often fail at everything, we do think it is helpful if a pillow can meet multiple needs. For instance, it should provide support to help you sleep better or longer. It would be nice if it also supports you while you watch tv or nursing after pregnancy. Depending on your needs or goals, there are a few things to consider when choosing a pillow. If you don't care about support when sitting up or nursing, then you have fewer concerns. If you'd like a little more support, then read on.
In our tests, the Chilling Home is one of the most versatile. With a unique broken O or modified U shape, this pillow can be used with your head on either end to help limit the trapped feeling of a traditional U, and you can bend the legs for back or under the knee support or across the lap nursing support. This pillow is thick, conforms to the shape of the user, and is downright snuggle-worthy. The PharMeDoc U-Shape Detachable has a removable leg you can use as a pillow or support precisely where you need it. It prevents the trapped feeling some users get with the U shape pillow by creating a somewhat modified C or an upside-down capital L.
The final trimester of pregnancy often results in a new level of discomfort as your body gets heavier and your hormones change in preparation for labor and delivery. These changes often create unique support needs that require help to ensure that you get the quality sleep and relaxation you and your baby need to thrive. Finding an excellent pregnancy pillow can be a piece of the puzzle to finding better comfort and continued support for any stage of pregnancy and beyond.
— Wendy Schmitz