Best Pregnancy Pillows
If you want an excellent C-shaped pillow, the INSEN Pillow is the one for you. This pillow offers thick padding that molds somewhat under pressure while still providing firm support. It has a jersey fabric cover that wicks moisture and doesn't create or hold heat, keeping hormone-fueled moms cooler than some of the competition. We like that this option can fold and stack for upright support, and the thinner zipper has an end cover to prevent 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 option for many needs.
This pillow doesn't offer much in the way of back support for every user. However, using it with the pillow ends in the front can provide some back support, but with less belly assistance. Depending on your back 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 other contenders. It is comfortable, stays fairly cool, and has a soft, washable cover great for moms to be.
The Chilling Home Pillow is a unique U that is almost an O shaped pillow, something we didn't see in the competition. At first blush, you may think it is a standard U, but one leg curves around the bottom to meet the other leg, somewhat completing the O. 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 the trapped feeling some users experience with a standard U. This pillow has the thickest padding in our review that bounced back and was firm but supportive during use. You can position this pillow to create support for sitting, snuggling, reading, or nursing.
This pillow has a soft velvety cover that retained heat in our tests, making it hotter than the competition. It is also larger than much of the competition and takes up a lot of space on the bed, which you should consider if you share your bed or it is smaller. Last, some users feel the U shape is confining, and support turns into discomfort in the middle of the night. Depending on how well you fit in the pillow gap can influence how well this pillow works for you. Overall, we love the padding on this pillow. It provided superior back support compared to the competitors, making it an excellent choice for those looking for full-body support or struggling with back pain.
The QUEEN ROSE U-Shape Pillow is a traditional U-shaped pillow with a favorable price tag. This pillow provides full-body support with midway bump-outs that dip to support burgeoning bellies. It has a soft cover with zipper end covers and adequate padding that is thicker than most pillows.
While the cover is uber skin-friendly and soft, it retained heat during testing and could result in unnecessary sweating or over-heating. The shape can also cause some to feel trapped as the U's legs only spread so wide at the U bend. This width limit is a problem for almost every U-shape pillow and is not unique to this option. In the end, we think moms who are searching for the most support possible will like a U-shape pillow, and this product seems high-quality for a budget-friendly price.
The PharMeDoc U-Shape Detachable is one of the most versatile pillows in the review with a zippered removable leg. The detached leg can then work as additional support wherever you need it. This U pillow turns into an L with one zip and can help users avoid the trapped feeling some feel when using the U shape selections. It has a jersey cover you can remove with a hidden zipper track for increased comfort. It has front and back support with the leg in place, 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. 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 does with the removable leg that could potentially increase the versatility and potential for customized support where you need it.
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. It also isn't as thick as some users will need, so if you know you have average or broader shoulders that will require higher side support, then 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 kind of 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 car travel pillow for support and comfort in the car or on travel, this might be the right choice, but for most sleeping needs, we think this pillow is one that won't fit the bill.
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 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 position for sleeping and other sedentary activities can feel almost impossible, making a great pregnancy pillow almost 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 they are sleeping, snuggling, reading, or later, breastfeeding.
Essential pregnancy pillow factors for comfort are the thickness of the pillow, its ability to provide support where it is 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 pillow that is too thin 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 you can tuck the side under your belly or push it out if you don't need the height. This option also includes one longer leg that curves around for ankle support (something missing on 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 leg ends, which can provide middle support for longer legs, but it isn't as thick as some of the competition, so you may need an additional pillow for neck alignment. 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 depending on your goals, it may best suit your needs. 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 the legs can be bent 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 then use as a pillow or support precisely where you need it as it isn't limited by an attachment to the larger pillow. 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