The Best Pregnancy Pillows That 5 Stylish Parents Swear By
Get some support and a full night’s rest.
Published Apr 20, 2022 1:10 AM
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Every pregnancy is different, but there comes a point in the nine-month journey when things start feeling a bit (or a lot) more uncomfortable. You’ll notice that it’s getting harder to settle in for your nightly Netflix show or a midday nap, and that’s where the best pregnancy pillows come in. Not to be confused with its cousin, the body pillow, the pregnancy pillow has a specific purpose. Alex Rosen, a Connecticut-based postpartum doula, sheds some light: “As the belly grows (and grows), our bodies can become rather uncomfortable and foreign to us. In order to be able to lay down in a position that is cozy and allows for rest, the use of a pregnancy pillow can sometimes help.” She adds that this type of pillow is specifically designed for an expecting person’s body, so it can create comfort as well as relief from back pain, leg pain, swollen feet, and a feeling of heaviness when lying down.
But can a pregnancy pillow provide support if all pregnancies and all bodies are different? As it turns out, there’s no one right answer, and what you need for one pregnancy might be different from what you need for another. To help you navigate the world of maternity comfort, we asked five inspiring moms (plus yours truly!) to share what they used to catch those nightly z’s.
- Best overall: Leachco Snoogle
- Best value: PharMeDoc Organic Pregnancy Pillow
- Best for small spaces: Boppy Jersey Wedge
- Best for longevity: Snuggle Me Organic Feeding + Support Pillow
- Best splurge: BEABA Big Flopsy Pregnancy + Nursing Pillow
Best Overall: Leachco Snoogle
Cover material: Jersey | Fill material: Polyester | Weight: 5.5 pounds
What we like:
- Machine washable slipcover
- Versatile design
- 58.75 inches in length
- Can be tricky to get the slipcover back on after washing
Why we chose it: An abstract shape that can conform to different positions and bodies.
If your favorite vintage tee became a full-body pillow, it might feel something like this. A fan favorite among moms, the Leachco Snoogle is our best overall pick for its flexible design, availability, and moderate price. It features an unusual abstract shape that allows you to maneuver it for your specific comfort. Katie Roach, the founder of maternity-friendly apparel brand Sister Katie, loved it so much that she used it for both her pregnancies. “It was pretty tough to get comfortable at the end with both, but the pillow did help—I definitely started sleeping with it earlier in my second pregnancy,” she shares. The asymmetrical design isn’t the most intuitive to use, but Katie has a helpful suggestion. “I used it in a few different ways, but mostly with the long part behind my back (almost feels like a big hug) and then an additional pillow between my ankles.”
Writer’s note: This pregnancy pillow also carried me through both of my pregnancies. Echoing Roach, my favorite position was using the long side for my back, which let me position the bottom end on the other side as needed underneath my growing belly. If you’re petite like me, the pillow can be a little cumbersome to stuff back into the jersey slipcover after you’ve given it a wash, and it did take up a substantial amount of room when we had a queen-size bed. Ten out of ten would use it again, though, and don’t be surprised if you find your partner borrowing it for a catnap either—it’s that big and that comfortable.
Best Value: PharMeDoc Organic Pregnancy Pillow
Cover material: Organic cotton | Fill material: Recycled polyester | Weight: 8 pounds
What we like:
- Organic cotton slipcover
- 100 percent recycled polyester filling
- 53 inches in length
- Comes in 2 styles: detachable and solid body
Why we chose it: Good for your wallet, skin, and the earth.
For Taylr Anne Castro, founder of Etto Oil (a great option to slather on your stretching and tight belly), material and aesthetics carried weight when it came to choosing the best pregnancy pillow for her. “My favorite part was this pillow is made with organic cotton, so I felt good about sleeping with it!” she says. “I also loved that it is a neutral color, as it looked beautiful on my bed, even when I wasn’t using it.” The PharMeDoc also clocks in as the best value at just a little more than $40, and its 100 percent recycled polyester filling means it’s environmentally friendly. How does it fare when it comes to supporting (yes, pun intended) a good night’s rest? Castro, a preferred stomach sleeper, shares that “this pillow felt super-supportive for my belly, back, and underneath my shoulder to support my neck and head. I slept so well with this pillow, and as a stomach sleeper, it allowed me to be comfortable while I couldn’t sleep on my belly.”
Best for Small Spaces: Boppy Jersey Wedge
Cover material: Jersey cotton | Fill material: Polyurethane foam | Weight: 10 ounces
What we like:
- Small footprint at 14 inches in length
- Firm foam insert
- Machine washable slipcover
- Doesn’t offer full-body support
Why we chose it: Compact in size but versatile in function.
One of the major pain points (pun number two, folks) of pregnancy pillows is the fact that most take up a lot of room. If your partner tends to roll in their sleep or you have a smaller mattress, you might want to opt for a small wedge instead. For Barrett Prendergast, founder of curated gift-box brand Valleybrink Road and cofounder of soon-to-be-launched Mama Moods, it was the babies already around that made her opt for the Boppy Jersey Wedge. “I liked that it was small but effective,” she explains. “With two other kids constantly in and out of our bed, there was zero room for a giant pregnancy pillow!” Small doesn’t mean limiting either; Prendergast found that the wedge was very versatile. “I liked that it was firm and supportive,” she says. “I would put it between my legs or under my belly when I was lying on my side. It definitely helped my body find some relaxation and support, especially once my belly got big.”
While this pillow is the most affordable, it doesn’t offer as much support as our overall favorite. However, its small footprint (the tiniest out of our picks) is perfect for tight spaces.
Best for Longevity: Snuggle Me Organic Feeding + Support Pillow
Cover material: Organic cotton | Fill material: Polyester | Weight: 2.25 pounds
What we like:
- Multipurpose use
- Machine washable
- Made with GOTS-certified organic fabrics
- 20 inches in length
- Slipcovers are sold separately
- Limited body support
Why we chose it: A machine washable pillow that doubles as room decor.
For one mama, the best pregnancy pillow isn’t labeled as a pregnancy pillow at all. It’s actually a nursing pillow. Taylor Kitto, a nutrition health coach and the founder of Whole Nourish, loved the simple design of the Snuggle Me Organic pillow and that its use goes beyond the pregnancy and nursing stages. “For pregnancy, I enjoyed using it to help prop me up in bed and on the couch (hello, heartburn!), and it made nursing very easy thanks to its crescent shape that wraps around your body,” she says. Perhaps the best part of the pillow is its design: “The key factor that sold me is that the design is chic and it can be used as a cute pillow once it’s done with its intended purpose!”
Unlike all our other picks, the Snuggle Me Organic doesn’t come with a slipcover. You can purchase them separately for $42 per cover. But for those who’d rather omit the extra cost, the entire pillow can be thrown in the wash thanks to its size.
Best Splurge: BEABA Big Flopsy Pregnancy + Nursing Pillow
Cover material: French cotton | Fill material: Micro-pearl | Weight: 3 pounds
What we like:
- OEKO-TEX-certified fabric
- Micro-pearl fill instead of polyester
- 67 inches in length
- Currently on preorder
- Less firm than other picks
Why we chose it: A premium pillow that’s soft for you and your baby.
As comedian Allie Wong said: You’re busy making an eyeball, so no expenses should be barred when it comes to your comfort and sleep. Made in France with OEKO-TEX-certified, 100 percent quilted French cotton fabric and scentless, nontoxic micro-pearl fill, this pregnancy pillow is on the softer side, but it’s more pliable than our other picks, allowing you to adjust it into a specific shape that isn’t predetermined. “I loved how this pillow was soft and malleable, allowing you to put it into a variety of positions,” notes Giovanna Campagna, founder of Joaquina Botánica. “And while it is not so long that it takes up the whole bed (my husband was also grateful for this!), it gave me sufficient support.” After pregnancy, Big Flopsy also pulls double duty as a nursing pillow, and you can nurse easy knowing that your baby is resting on OEKO-TEX certified fabric. “You accumulate so much stuff in the baby phase, that I especially value objects that are multipurpose,” Campagna adds. While the Big Flopsy does clock in as our longest pillow at 67 inches, its curved design means it actually takes up less room on your bed.
How We Chose These Products
We know comfort is a subjective term and relative to each person’s circumstances. That’s why we made sure our picks for the best pregnancy pillows would work for a variety of preferences (firm versus plush) and bed sizes (whether you have a humble twin mattress or a California king). We also took into consideration the different types of support you might need during your pregnancy, whether that’s a full-size pillow to support your entire body from head to ankles or just a simple wedge to lift the strain from your belly weight. Plus our picks have been recommended by moms who are business owners—they know a lot about what makes a quality product.
Our Shopping Checklist
Size and Shape
Before you click “add to cart,” take a second to consider what kind of support it is that you need. Do you have more back pain versus pressure on your belly? Opt for a full-body pillow versus a wedge. While your comfort takes precedence, it’s worth considering how much space you have to accommodate an extra pillow. If reuse is important to you, you might find that a nursing pillow is enough to satisfy all your pregnancy needs.
We like opting for safe fabric options where possible, but especially so when you’re growing an adorable little person. Look for pillows and slipcovers that have fabric certifications, like OEKO-TEX (which tests for harmful substances) and GOTS (a worldwide standard that certifies organic textiles). You’ll also want to consider the type of filling your pillow contains. Polyester fill is hypoallergenic but can start to feel lumpy, especially if you’re throwing your inserts into the wash. Micro-pearl fill can move easily, which is both a pro in shape-shifting your pillow and a con in maintaining the shape.
What’s firm for one person is too soft for another. This quality is entirely subjective, so it’s best to test in-store if possible (or hold onto your return receipt if not). It’s worth mentioning that firmer options don’t always allow you to shape your pillow into the supportive position you need. With a growing belly that is continuously changing, that might mean a different position every week.
Q: When should I start using a pregnancy pillow?
The best time to start using a pregnancy pillow is when it feels best, so it’s hard to pinpoint a specific time. “Toward the end of the second trimester/beginning of the third trimester, around week 25 or so, is when a person might need some extra support outside of just bed pillows,” says Rosen.
Q: How big should a pregnancy pillow be?
Size doesn’t matter as much as support here. If you feel like you need firmer support under the belly, opt for the wedge pillow instead of the full-size body pillow, which might feel better if you need more back support.
Q: Is a body pillow the same as a pregnancy pillow?
Body and pregnancy pillows might be conceptually the same—both provide support and even look alike—but you’ll find that most body pillows aren’t as malleable as pregnancy pillows, and aren’t designed with details that allow you to maintain that comfortable position as the night goes on. Better to spring for the pregnancy-specific pillow here; you’re growing a baby, after all!
Q: Can I sleep in my favorite position with a pregnancy pillow?
You might find that it’s just not possible nor comfortable to get into your favorite sleeping position, especially later on in your pregnancy. The best pregnancy pillows aid in helping you sleep on your side, which alleviates pressure on your veins and organs. In fact, the most optimal position is sleeping on your left side. “It takes the pressure off of the inferior vena cava, so blood circulation can stay strong and, in turn, provide consistent oxygen and nutrients to the placenta and baby,” Rosen shares. “A left-side sleep position also keeps weight off the liver, which is on your right side. So left side is an extra win-win.” Better to add stomach sleeping to the list of postpartum indulgences, right after sushi and wine!
The Last Word
If you’re looking for a no-frills pregnancy pillow that does the job, the Leachco Snoogle will get you through your pregnancy (though the PharMeDoc comes in as a close second for its value). For extended use, consider one that can be used for nursing or room decor, though note that you may not be getting full-body support.
One more thing to remember, and Rosen says it beautifully: “If comfort is difficult to come by, even with pregnancy pillows galore, remember the notion of impermanence. This stage—physical, mental, and emotional—is not permanent. Stay strong, reach out if you need help or need to talk, and remind yourself that this is a phase that you are moving through.”