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How to Use a Pregnancy Pillow For Better Sleep and Comfort

Pregnancy can feel like a long and isolating time filled with fatigue, discomfort and poor sleep, but it doesn’t have to! Finding the best pregnancy pillow for you can be a game-changer for your comfort, sleep, and overall mood. 

Pregnancy products in general can be daunting to shop for with hundreds of options at your fingertips. Our goal is to remove some of that burden by providing some education and tips when shopping to ensure you select the best pregnancy pillow for you. We’ll cover some common sleep challenges, types of pregnancy pillows available, and how to sleep with a pregnancy pillow while you are pregnant and postpartum.

Cuddle Pillow with Removable Pillow CoverPregnancy PillowBoppy

Use our Baby Registry Guide so you don’t miss any essentials on the list like a pregnancy pillow to meet your needs.

Sleep Challenges During Pregnancy

With all of the changes your body is going through during pregnancy, sleep can feel somewhat elusive at times. Finding the right sleep position during pregnancy can be challenging, especially if you are a stomach sleeper while pregnant. Luckily, using pillows during pregnancy can provide some relief by promoting proper alignment of your muscles and joints. Let’s explore the main culprits of poor sleep during pregnancy, disrupting your normal sleep patterns in their own unique way. 

    • Changes in Hormones: In addition to growing a belly, your body’s endocrine system is preparing too. Spikes in estrogen and progesterone can result in mood swings, stress, anxiety, depression, and even nausea. 
    • Physical Discomfort: As you progress in your pregnancy, it’s common to experience pain or aches in your back, pelvic area, and abdomen from your growing belly. Heartburn is also normal, especially during the third trimester when the pressure on your stomach is the greatest.
    • Insomnia and Sleep Disturbances: Pregnancy insomnia is real and due in large part to the previous two bullet points. Your changing body (both internally and externally), physical discomfort, and added stress and anxiety can result in trouble sleeping. 
    • Leg Cramps or Restless Legs: About a third of pregnant women will experience leg cramping or restless legs throughout the night, affecting sleep. Although the exact cause is not known, experts believe that hormonal changes, along with genetic factors, could be the cause. 
    • Frequent Urination: In the third trimester when your growing belly puts the most pressure on your bladder and bowel, you might find yourself making more and more frequent trips to the bathroom, which means your sleep is disrupted multiple times per night.

Types of Pregnancy Pillows to Help Sleep

You’ve probably seen a full body pillow, a u-shaped body pillow, and maybe even some of the less common pregnancy pillows like the c-shaped pillow or wedge pillow. Designers have created many sizes and shapes on the market to address specific sleep concerns faced by pregnant women. In this section, we'll explore each option in detail, covering the benefits and the best pregnancy pillow positions for a better night's sleep. 

Full Body Side Sleeper PillowPregnancy PillowBoppy

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Full Body Side Sleeper

A full-body pregnancy pillow is just like a regular pillow, but longer to support the hips, neck, shoulders, and baby bump when sleeping on your side. The simple design allows for multiple positioning options without taking up the entire bed.

Try placing it behind you and curling it through your legs if you need extra back support, or use it to prop yourself up while reading in bed. Our version of the full-body side sleeper pillow has a detachable side pillow for added neck and upper back support when you are hugging it in front of you or added belly support if you use it the opposite way. 

Bowtie Shaped Side Sleeper

Designed for those who are not naturally side sleepers, the side sleeper pregnancy pillow provides back and bump support in a compact and thoughtful bowtie design. The signature stretch panel in the middle ensures the pillows stay put while allowing stretch as your body continues to grow.

Despite its small size, the side sleeper pillow packs a punch with a number of positioning options. Place it between your legs for knee and hip support, under your midsection to support your belly and back, or use it to prop yourself up while lounging on the couch. 

C-Shaped Total Body Pillow

The largest option, the c-shaped pillow for pregnancy is designed for full body support from head to toe. Although it’s large in size, it simplifies your bed setup by eliminating the need for other pillows and provides comfort all night long. Just like other pregnancy pillows, there are numerous ways to use it.

Either hug it in front of you between your legs with your head resting at the top, reverse it so it’s behind you, or utilize it as a prop when sitting up in bed or on the couch. Our version of the c-shape pregnancy pillow has custom contouring for ultimate comfort, whether you are lying down or sitting upright. 

Cuddle Pillow

Almost like a miniature version of a c-shaped pregnancy pillow, the cuddle pillow is our unique compact pregnancy sleeping pillow. Tuck it between your legs for better hip alignment or under your head and belly for neck and bump support, the cuddle pillow gives you support where you need it most.

The cuddle pillow is thoughtfully contoured to match your natural leg line or the curve of your neck when sleeping on your side, providing targeted support. This versatile option doesn’t take up half of the bed and is especially useful in the later stages of pregnancy when finding a comfortable sleeping position becomes even more challenging. 

Pregnancy Support Wedge

A simple design and small enough for taking on the go, a pregnancy wedge pillow is a compact option that offers firm, targeted support. Use it alone to relieve discomfort in a single area, or use it in combination with another pregnancy pillow to enhance overall comfort and support.

Place the pregnancy wedge between your legs, under your belly, against your back, or underneath your pillow to prop your head slightly as you sleep. That last option is especially beneficial if you are suffering from the all-too-common third-trimester heartburn.

Pregnancy Support WedgePregnancy PillowBoppy

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Choosing the Right Pregnancy Pillow for Better Sleep

Given the number of body pillows for pregnancy out there, it can be overwhelming to decide which supportive pillow is right for you. Your body size, unique sleep challenges, aches and pains, and personal comfort preferences will all play into which pregnancy pillow is right for you. The best pregnancy pillow for stomach sleepers will not be the best pregnancy pillow for sciatic nerve pain or hip pain, for example.

Consider your preferred pillow size, shape, material, and more below to ensure optimal support and comfort during your pregnancy and beyond.

  • Size and Shape of the Pillow: Consider which areas of your body you need the most support, and select the shape of your pillow from there. You’ll also want to think through the size of your bed and whether you need to leave space for your partner.
  • Fabric and Cover: There are so many options out there when it comes to fabric for pregnancy pillows. Select a pillow made of high-quality, breathable fabric like cotton with a removable zipper cover to make washing a breeze. 
  • Flexibility and Usability: You’ll want a pregnancy pillow that is firm enough to provide support but flexible enough to move around easily as needed throughout the night. 
  • Personal Sleeping Habits: Do you tend to sleep warm? Are you a natural side sleeper? Do you like being surrounded by pillows and blankets, or not so much? All of these answers about your personal sleeping habits will inform your decision on which pregnancy pillow is right for you.

Full Body Side Sleeper PillowPregnancy PillowBoppy

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Using Your Pregnancy Pillow After Baby Arrives

The beauty of pregnancy pillows is that they aren’t just for pregnancy! One of the many pregnancy pillow benefits is that their versatility means you can take it with you for postpartum and beyond. While sleeping remains most challenging for the majority of women during the second half of pregnancy, you might have new sleep challenges and body aches to address postpartum. In this section, we’ll explore the endless ways to use the pregnancy pillow for recovery, nursing, and more. 

Postpartum Recovery

The postpartum period typically lasts six to eight weeks and can be a long and exhausting journey. Discomfort, fatigue, incontinence, hair loss, and depression are just a handful of the many symptoms women face after giving birth.

To relieve those physical aches and pains, utilize your handy pregnancy pillow. Place the pillow anywhere you need extra support or need to relieve sore muscles. If you had a c-section, pregnancy pillows can prevent strain and relieve pressure on your incision area. 

Restful Sleep for New Parents

While there’s really no such thing as being fully rested as a parent caring for a newborn, you can take steps to ensure the sleep you do get is high quality. If you find comfort using pregnancy pillows for sleeping while pregnant, continue to use them postpartum to soothe any pain and maintain a consistent sleep environment. Pregnancy pillows can help you fall asleep faster and minimize tossing and turning from aches and pains. Your partner might even want one too! 

Explore Boppy Pregnancy Pillows to Transform Your Sleep

We know that pregnancy can be a lot to manage. From sciatic pain during pregnancy to the seemingly never-ending pregnancy fatigue, you are going through so much.

Pregnancy pillows are just one small way to help relieve discomfort and improve your sleep. Whether you choose a full body, bowtie, or u-shaped pillow, your joints and muscles will thank you. Unlike many pregnancy purchases, this one is meant to grow with you throughout your entire pregnancy, postpartum, and beyond. Our pregnancy pillow collection offers a shape and size for all moms and sleep preferences.

Here at Boppy, we’re committed to supporting moms and babies at every stage of pregnancy. Whether you’re shopping for pregnancy pillows or just looking for general pregnancy advice, we’re here for you. Join us and other new parents in the pledge to use products correctly and safely.


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