Many pregnant women experience back pain, especially during sleep. The changing shape of the body can make it hard for women to find a comfortable position to sleep in. Pressure points, circulation issues, and sciatic pain are all common pregnancy symptoms. A pregnancy pillow can reduce these problems by providing targeted support to improve sleep posture and reduce pressure points.
What Is a Pregnancy Pillow?
A pregnancy body pillow is specially designed to accommodate the unique shape of a pregnant woman’s body and encourage side-sleeping, which is recommended during pregnancy. Most pillows are C-shaped or U-shaped to cushion the shoulders, neck, back, and belly. Some can also go between the knees, keeping the legs parallel to reduce hip pain.
How We Chose the Best Pregnancy Pillows for Back Pain
When choosing pregnancy pillows for this list, we looked at a variety of factors, including consumer reviews, material, style, and price. We focused on pillows that were designed specifically to reduce pregnancy-related back pain, though many of them also help people who experience sciatica and other types of pain.
Our recommendations include pillows from highly-rated brands. We focused on pillows that were easy to wash and care for.
The 4 Best Pregnancy Pillows for Back Pain
Here is our list of the top four pregnancy pillows for back pain. Use it to find the right body pillow for you based on your preferences for materials, size, style, and price.
BODY NEST Cooling Pregnancy Pillow
The BODY NEST Pregnancy Pillow features a versatile U-shape that provides comfortable support for the entire spine, belly, and legs. It’s overstuffed with a soft polyfill material, but you can customize the firmness. The internal zipper allows you to remove some filling for softer support or readjust it to fix bumps or valleys.
This is the only pregnancy pillow on the market with a two-sided cover. One side of the cover is made of cooling jersey fabric, which is perfect for hot sleepers and warm clients. The other side is a soft “minky” material that provides a plush, cozy feel. The cover has a zipper for easy removal and is machine washable.
Bottom Line: This versatile pregnancy body pillow is perfect for those who sleep cold in the winter and warm in the summer. The two-sided washable cover and removable filling make it easy to customize this pillow for the perfect feel.
BATTOP Pregnancy Pillow
Why We Love It
- Soft velvety cover
- Dedicate belly support
- Can remove filling to reduce firmness
- Soft fill is not supportive enough for some users
- Velvet cover can sleep hot
- Not large enough for tall users
The BATTOP Pregnancy Pillow has a nonsymmetrical “C” shape that includes a bump designed to support the belly. The belly pillow rises at a gentle 45-degree angle to add extra cushioning without wedging the belly up and twisting the spine.
This pregnancy pillow comes in a range of different colors, and each one has a removable velvet cover that’s machine-washable. You can customize the firmness of this pillow by removing some of the filling, which is reachable through a zippered inner cover.
Bottom Line: Perfect for someone wanting a plush, warm pillow, this affordable option includes some nice features like a dedicated belly pillow and the ability to remove filling for softer support.
Chilling Home Pregnancy Pillow
The Chilling Home Pregnancy Pillow offers two configurations, making it a versatile choice. You can use it as a traditional U-shaped pregnancy pillow with a side cutout that offers room for the arm to be under or on top of the pillow. You can also remove one “arm” of the pillow to create a J-shaped pregnancy pillow, which can be cooler and less restricting. The removable part can go between the knees or be used as a traditional head pillow. You can remove some filling to reduce firmness.
Bottom Line: If you prefer very soft pillows and don’t need firm support, this versatile pregnancy pillow is a great choice that offers two different configurations.
Boppy Cuddle Pregnancy Pillow
Why We Love It
- Small size for portability and tight spaces
- Doubles as a breastfeeding pillow
- Washable cover
- Pillow itself is machine washable
- No neck and shoulder support
- May be too small for some individuals
- Doesn’t prevent rolling onto the back
The Boppy Cuddle Pregnancy Pillow isn’t U-shaped or C-shaped; its contoured design is similar to a crescent moon. This unique shape is intended to support the belly, back, and hips. Its size makes it a great choice for those with small beds, and it’s easy to move around the house to use on a couch.
This pillow supports the belly and wraps around through the legs to the back. It keeps the hips aligned and tends to be cooler than a total-body pillow that wraps all around the body. The removable slipcover is breathable and machine-washable.
Bottom Line: This compact pregnancy pillow keeps the hips, back, and belly supported and is perfect for those who want to use their own pillow under their head and avoid the heat retention of a full-body pregnancy pillow.
How Do Pregnancy Pillows Work?
Pregnancy pillows provide extra support, especially for a side-sleeping position, which is recommended during pregnancy. The physical changes of pregnancy can cause hip and back pain and pressure points.
Many women find it uncomfortable to sleep on their sides without support for their back, stomach, and legs. A pregnancy pillow wraps around the body to provide that support, reducing pressure points and keeping the spine in proper alignment.
What Causes Back Pain During Pregnancy?
There are many things that can cause back pain during pregnancy. Weight gain can affect posture and place extra stress on joints. The changing shape of the belly can lead to poor posture, which creates pain in the back and hips. Many pregnant women also experience sciatica, which can cause severe pain in the back and legs.
Some women also experience back pain from having to change sleeping positions. If you are used to sleeping on your back or stomach, you may have to transition to a side-sleeping position for the second half of pregnancy. This can cause pressure points and spinal misalignment, especially if you don’t have adequate support for your neck, belly, back, and knees.
How to Use a Pregnancy Pillow for Back Pain
A pregnancy pillow can greatly reduce back pain when used properly. Choose a shape and firmness that’s comfortable for you. You should “cuddle” the pillow when sleeping on your side, using it to support your head. It should wrap around both sides of your body to support the back and belly.
It’s best to fit the pillow between your knees as well. This helps keep the legs parallel to one another, which keeps the hips and pelvis in the correct alignment to eliminate back pain and pressure points.
What to Consider When Purchasing a Pregnancy Pillow
Before you choose a pregnancy pillow, you should decide which features are most important to you. Here are some of the factors to consider.
Healthcare providers recommend a side-sleeping position, especially during the second half of pregnancy. This position helps reduce congestion and heartburn, and it avoids constricting some key blood vessels, maintaining healthy circulation.
Most pregnancy pillows are designed to accommodate side sleepers. However, if you prefer to sleep on your back or stomach during the early months of pregnancy, you may want to choose a pregnancy pillow that can be folded or positioned in different shapes.
You can use a folded pillow under your head or knees while sleeping on your back. There are some donut-shaped pillows that allow stomach-sleeping during the first few months of pregnancy.
Like traditional pillows, pregnancy pillows come in a range of firmness. Generally, firm pillows offer more support, but some people prefer softer pillows. There are some pillows that allow you to add or remove filling to customize the level of firmness.
Most pregnancy pillows are either U-shaped or C-shaped. Some C-shaped pillows provide targeted support for the belly. However, U-shaped pillows generally offer better leg support. Choose the one that works best for your body and the size of your bed.
Pregnancy pillows usually cost between $30 and $100, but you can find some above and below this range as well. It’s important to look at user reviews when selecting a pillow. Sometimes, cheaper pillows don’t hold up well and need to be replaced, which can end up costing more than a top-quality pillow with a higher initial price.
What Are the Benefits of Pregnancy Pillows?
Pregnancy pillows make it easy and comfortable to sleep on your side. This position offers many advantages even to people who aren’t pregnant.
Less tossing and turning
The design of a pregnancy pillow makes side-sleeping more comfortable. Additionally, the “arms” of the pillow support your back and reduce your chance of accidentally rolling onto your back or stomach during the night.
Better sleep quality
Sleeping on your side can reduce heartburn, snoring, and congestion. A pregnancy pillow provides support for your head and neck, which can further reduce snoring and other sleep issues.
Better hip alignment
Lower back pain is often caused by poor alignment in the hips and pelvis. This is common for side sleepers because of the position of the legs. Placing a pillow between the knees keeps the legs parallel, improving alignment and reducing pressure in the pelvis and hips.
Where Can I Buy a Pregnancy Pillow?
Maternity stores usually carry pregnancy pillows, as do some department stores. You can also find many online retailers that carry a variety of body pillows.
How to Sleep With Pregnancy Pillow
The exact details of how to sleep with a pregnancy pillow depend on the shape and size of your pillow. It’s best to make sure the pillow is cradling your belly, back, and neck. You can also benefit from placing one arm of the pillow between your knees to keep the legs aligned properly.
When to Start Using a Pregnancy Pillow
There is no right or wrong time to start using a pregnancy pillow. Many women start needing extra support during sleep when their belly starts to grow around the 20th week of pregnancy.
Are Pregnancy Pillows Worth It?
Many people find that pregnancy pillows reduce pain and drastically improve the quality of their sleep. Pregnancy pillows are generally inexpensive, so you don’t have to invest a lot of money even if the style you choose doesn’t work for you.
Frequently Asked Questions About Pregnancy Pillows
It can be overwhelming to figure out which pregnancy pillow to buy. Read on for expert answers to the most commonly asked questions.
How much does a pregnancy pillow cost?
The cost of a pregnancy pillow varies depending on the size, materials, brand, and features. Most of these specialty pillows are between $30 and $100.
Do pregnancy pillows help back pain?
Yes! For many people, sleep-related back pain is caused by poor spinal alignment, lack of support, and/or pressure on the hips. A pregnancy pillow offers targeted support to the back. You can also position it between your knees to keep your legs parallel to reduce hip and back pain.
What shape pregnancy pillow is best?
All types of pregnancy pillows offer good support to keep your spine in proper alignment and reduce pressure points. The best pillow is the one that is most comfortable for you and fits well in your bed. A C-shaped pillow can be more versatile, and a U-shaped pillow can offer more support for the legs.
What size pregnancy pillow should I get?
Pregnancy pillows can be large, especially U-shaped ones. Make sure you choose one that’s big enough to give you the support you need. It’s also a good idea to make sure it will fit comfortably in your bed, especially if you share the space with a partner.
Do pregnancy pillows help with sciatica?
Yes! Many people find that sleeping on their side can reduce sciatic pain, and a pregnancy pillow makes this position more comfortable and sustainable for many people.
Do pregnancy pillows really work?
Everyone is different, but most people find that pregnancy pillows make side-sleeping easier and more comfortable. Sleeping on your side supported by a pregnancy pillow can reduce pressure points, back pain, snoring, and heartburn.
Can you use a pregnancy pillow for breastfeeding?
Many pregnancy pillows work well to provide a supportive surface for breastfeeding. However, some of the largest pillows may be too big for this purpose.
Can you sleep on your stomach with a pregnancy pillow?
Most pregnancy pillows are designed to encourage side-sleeping, which is recommended during pregnancy. There are some donut-shaped pillows that can be used for stomach-sleeping during the first few months of pregnancy.
Can I use a pregnancy pillow if I’m not pregnant?
Yes! Pregnancy pillows can be very helpful for anyone who experiences pain in their back, hips, spine, and legs during sleep.
Can you wash a pregnancy pillow?
You should follow the manufacturer’s care instructions for your pillow. Many models have removable covers that are machine washable.