July 24, 2020 8 min read

As a mom-to-be, you’ve likely done your research about what to expect when expecting. And with the potential for many sleepless nights and uncomfortable days ahead, it’s understandable you would want to find something that helps you minimize these inconveniences head-on. Among the many things on your list to prepare for a comfortable pregnancy should be a pregnancy pillow. 


From their special design that helps you achieve the most comfortable sleeping position, to the added support they provide, maternity pillows can help alleviate many of the undesirable side effects of pregnancy. But how do you find the perfect pregnancy pillow when there are virtually endless options? 


In this guide to picking the best pregnancy body pillow, we’ll help you sift through the different types of maternity pillows and the qualities you should look for before making your selection. If you’re new to the concept of a pregnancy pillow, we encourage you to read the post from start to finish. However, if you’re trying to narrow down your options based on specifics, use these links to navigate to the section you need:

What Is a Pregnancy Pillow?

A pregnancy pillow is a cushion that is specifically designed around the needs of the pregnant body to provide support for optimal comfort. Generally speaking, pregnancy pillows are oversized and well-cushioned to fit around the body. However, just like any other type of pillow, there are many different types of pregnancy pillows available. 

pregnant woman sleeping on body pillow


Types of Pregnancy Pillows

Pregnancy pillows are available in several shapes and sizes to best accommodate the users’ needs. Here are some popular options that can help you get more comfortable:


  • C-shaped pregnancy pillows:This full-length pregnancy pillow is shaped like a “C.” C-shaped pregnancy pillows are designed to wrap around your back, with the front section open, but still providing support to your head, knees, and hips. 
  • U-shaped pregnancy pillows:Pregnancy pillows that are u-shaped are also full-length, but they provide more support for side-sleepers, as they run the length of both the front and back of your body. That way, you are able to drape your leg over the front side of the pillow. 
  • Wedge-shaped pregnancy pillows:These wedge-shaped pregnancy pillows rest beneath your stomach or behind your back to provide support. However, they are fairly small, so their usefulness is limited.

While you can choose one of these body pillow styles, MedCline has combined all the best qualities of these classic body pillow shapes to create our supportive, comfortable, Reflux Relief System that can be used as a pregnancy pillow. Unlike other pregnancy sleeping pillows, this system is J-shaped and optimized to provide relief from the biggest culprits of sleeping discomfort, help with gestational acid reflux, prevent strain on your back, and help you sleep better. Our Therapeutic Body Pillow can also be used on its own for those who do not suffer from gestational reflux.



pregnancy pillow parts diagram

Let’s take a closer look at the many benefits of using a pregnancy pillow.

Benefits of a Pregnancy Pillow

If you feel like buying a special pillow for pregnant moms might be an unnecessary indulgence, think again. Using a pregnancy pillow offers many benefits that can make your pregnancy more enjoyable, including:


  • Proper sleeping position 
  • Improved comfort
  • Relieve pressure on shoulder, back, knees, and hips
  • Heartburn relief
  • Prevents you from rolling onto your stomach

benefits of pregnancy pillow infographic


Maternity pillows can also become a useful tool after the baby is born. They can provide a protective barrier when laying or playing with your baby, or can be used to help provide support while nursing.

How to Use a Pregnancy Pillow

While you can pretty much use a pregnancy pillow however you want, there are some guidelines that can help you reap the most reward. If you’re going to use our full-length Therapeutic Body Pillow, here is how to position it for maximum benefit:


  1. For sleeping:The Therapeutic Body Pillow is built to provide the best position for comfort and support for side-sleeping. The long portion of the pregnancy pillow should wrap around the front of your body, providing support to your hips and belly, while the back portion wraps around the other side to provide cushioning for your back. If you suffer from gestational reflux, you can use our Reflux Relief System, allowing you to comfortably sleep on your side without experiencing the uncomfortable systems associated with gestational reflux such as heartburn and nausea. 
  2. For nursing: If you want to use your maternity pillow for support when breastfeeding, you can simply sit in the center of the pillow, wrap the front part around your waist, and lean back onto the Reflux Relief System, which will prop you and the baby up for easy feeding.

However you choose to position yourself, you want to make sure that your neck, back, and stomach are supported as much as possible when using a maternity pillow. 

infographic of multiple uses of pregnancy pillows


When Do I Need to Get a Pregnancy Pillow? 

There’s no set time that you need to start using a pregnancy pillow, but there may be a point where you feel you can’t function without one. For many pregnant women, at about 20 weeks—when the stomach starts to protrude—discomfort becomes more noticeable and harder to deal with.

pregnant woman suffering from back pain sitting on a bed



Every mom-to-be should consider investing in a pregnancy pillow because it provides added support for your hard-working body and can help with the many uncomfortable side effects of pregnancy. Who doesn’t want to have the most comfortable pregnancy possible? 


That said, there are certain individuals who can most benefit from using a pregnancy pillow, including those who are experiencing:


  • Back, knee, and neck pain (carrying extra weight can lead to pain and strain)
  • Difficulty adjusting to a pregnancy-safe sleeping position (sleeping on your stomach is virtually impossible, and sleeping on your back can cut off vital nutrients to your baby)
  • Interrupted sleep through the night (without the right support it can be difficult to remain comfortable throughout the night)
  • Heartburn (this is one of the most common pregnancy symptoms—our Reflux Relief System is specifically designed to alleviate heartburn and other gestational reflux symptoms)1
  • Circulation problems (pressure from your growing baby or simply putting additional weight on limbs, can interfere with proper circulation)

For many of these issues—especially if you’re going to have to endure them for nine months—adding a basic pillow between your legs simply won’t do the trick. Don’t settle for a quick-fix that only addresses one problem at a time. Instead, invest in a pregnancy pillow that provides you with the support you need to alleviate all these problems at once.  

infographic of how to use pregnancy pillow for pain relief



If you are also suffering from nighttime acid reflux (GERD) or laryngopharyngeal reflux (LPR)—which is a very common side effect of pregnancy (approximately 51%2 of women experience acid reflux during their third trimester)—you may want to try our acid reflux pillow.

Pregnant woman researching pregnancy pillows online

How to Choose the Best Pregnancy Pillow

With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to narrow down your choices if you’ve never shopped for a maternity pillow before. When selecting the optimal pregnancy pillow, you should consider the following qualities: 


  • Size: Typically, you want your pregnancy pillow to be large enough to wrap around your body. That way, you can use this single pillow to provide all the support you need for your head, back, stomach, and legs. Our Therapeutic Body Pillow is available in two sizes small (45” x 18”)  and medium/large (50” x 22”). 
  • Shape: As mentioned, adequate support for your stomach and back are essential when looking for a pregnancy sleeping pillow. Shape is also important for keeping you in the right position, which might be difficult for former stomach-sleepers, but J-shaped and U-shaped pregnancy pillows make the side-sleeping transition easier. Our J-shaped Therapeutic Body Pillow curves in slightly so it can be pulled between your knees for lower back support (which is essential during pregnancy). 
  • Flexibility:You want to be able to use your pregnancy pillow to create the most comfortable position whether you’re in bed or trying to get comfortable on the couch, so having flexibility is important. Fortunately, our Reflux Relief System includes the body pillow, to create the most comfortable position wherever you’re laying.
  • Material:Using a full-body maternity pillow means you’re surrounded by more fabric, which can cause you to get hot throughout the night if you don’t choose the right material. That’s why you need to choose a comfortable, breathable fabric. MedCline pillow cases are made from premium velour, and the pillow itself is filled with shredded memory foam to provide comfort and support. Our Therapeutic Body Pillow also has a patented seamless design—there are no seams on the inner curvature of the pillow, so it won't cut into your neck—making it soft and smooth. 
  • Removable Pillow Cover: During pregnancy, women tend to sweat more, meaning being able to properly clean your pregnancy pillow is essential. However, many pregnancy sleeping pillows do not come with a cover. As you may know, washing an entire pillow, especially a large pregnancy body pillow, is not ideal because it is difficult to dry. MedCline pillows have removable cases for easy washing. 

These factors and many others make our Reflux Relief System with our therapeutic body pillow an exceptional choice for your pregnancy body pillow. To learn more about the benefits of our Reflux Relief System and how it works, refer to our MedCline FAQs.

pregnancy pillow shopping checklist


Where to Buy a Pregnancy Pillow

You can purchase maternity pillows in-store or online. However, because of their large size, it’s usually easier to have one delivered. When you order online, you can also more easily compare specs of your different options, search for the specific qualities you want your pregnancy sleeping pillow to have, and read reviews from other people who have purchased that specific pregnancy pillow before. 


MedCline makes it easy to order our Reflux Relief System (which comes with our Therapeutic Body Pillow) online, so you can have your pregnancy pillow shipped straight to your door. Plus, you can enjoy peace of mind with your purchase because you can try the pillow for 100 nights, during which our Sleep Specialists will work with you to adjust to your new sleeping companion, so you can get the best night’s rest.

Other Sleeping Tips for Moms-to-be

As your baby grows inside you, you may find that you are sleepier than usual and have a harder time getting the quality sleep you need. This combination can be distressing, but you’re not doomed to suffer from poor sleep throughout your pregnancy. There are a few tips moms-to-be should follow for quality sleep while pregnant:


  • Avoid drinking water at least two hours before bed (this can help cut down on how many times you need to wake up to use the restroom at night)
  • Try to sleep on your left side3 (this can improve circulation, prevent your uterus from putting pressure on your liver, and help with snoring)
  • Allow yourself to take short naps (while you’re pregnant allow yourself to take short naps during the day when you feel especially tired)

According to the American Pregnancy Association 4, 78% of pregnant women are affected by insomnia, but you may be able to limit how much it affects you by following these tips and using your pregnancy pillow.

You Deserve to Sleep Peacefully While Pregnant

Buying a pregnancy pillow is one of the best investments for moms-to-be. Improve your chances of getting a good night’s sleep, minimize your pain and discomfort, and feel more prepared to take on your motherly duties once your baby arrives. Stop wrestling with inferior alternatives and find the right maternity pillow that will help you sleep peacefully throughout your pregnancy.


References

  • Vasquez, John C., “Heartburn in Pregnancy,” U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4562453/#, 1 Jul. 2020
  • M.D. Horsager-Boehrer, Robyn, “Feeling the Burn? Tips to Manage Heartburn, GERD in Pregnancy,” UT Southwestern Medical Center,https://utswmed.org/medblog/heartburn-gerd-pregnancy/#, 1 Jul. 2020
  • “Which Sleep Position is Best?,” National Sleep Foundation,https://www.sleep.org/articles/best-sleep-position/, 1 Jul. 2020
  • “Pregnancy Insomnia: Snooze or Lose!,” American Pregnancy Association,https://americanpregnancy.org/pregnancy-health/insomnia-during-pregnancy/, 1 Jul. 2020