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How to Choose the Best Pregnancy Pillow And Other Pregnancy Essentials

Maybe it's your body's way of getting prepared for those first sleepless weeks with a newborn or your excitement about what's to come. But the fact is, being pregnant can take a toll on your sleep, just when you feel like you need it the most. After all, carrying a developing baby around takes a lot of energy!

Most likely, the difficulty sleeping is due to the fact that your body is changing, making it hard for you to get in a comfortable position at night. As your uterus grows, and your abdominal wall and ligaments stretch to support it, you may start to feel some unfamiliar aches and pains. The extra baby weight might add strain to your back and legs. The onset of acid reflux can make it hard to sleep without propping your head up. (Did you know that as your uterus expands, your stomach gets pushed up to chest level? That can worsen the feeling of heartburn for some women.) And during the second half of your pregnancy, there's the whole can't-sleep-on-your-back-anymore situation. Not to mention the pressure on your bladder that's making you get up multiple times in the night to go to the bathroom.

So what's a tired mom-to-be to do? Luckily, some very smart (and sympathetic) people invented pregnancy pillows that can provide softness and support to your changing body.

Here's a look at the different types of pregnancy pillows out there, and how they work. Trust us, a comfy pillow that provides support in all the right places is worth the investment. You'll soon be waking up well-rested and feeling like new.

Wedge Pillows

Wedge pillows are small and can easily slip under any part of your body that needs more support. Placed under your stomach, they help take pressure off your back and hips. (The weight of your belly can pull at the ligaments, causing strain.) It can also be placed behind your back, making it more comfortable while side sleeping. Finally, a wedge is a perfect size to put under your regular pillow. For those with indigestion, sleeping slightly propped up can ease heartburn.

Wedges are small enough that it won't take up much space in bed. Boppy (the same company that makes the popular nursing pillows) and Baby Works offer slightly different shapes that you can try out to see which works better for you.

Because these pillows are so compact, they are easily transportable. So whether you're going to your living room couch or a babymoon destination, you can easily take the comforts of this pillow with you.

Full-Length Pillows

Many of us have seen the full-length pillows, and maybe even used them pre-pregnancy. Their larger size means more head-to-toe support. You can use the top part of the pillow to rest your head, hug it in close to take pressure off your shoulders, and put your leg over it to relieve stress on your joints and back. The shape allows for easy alignment of your body and hips.

These full-length pillows come in the standard straight shape or a tubular shape, which are easier to contort to a position that maximizes your comfort. The best part about the full-length option is that one pillow takes care of it all—you won't have to deal with using a combination of several smaller pillows in search of the perfect positioning.

Total Body Pillows

Total body pillows are the mother of all pregnancy pillows, in size (up to five to six feet long) and luxury. We're talking complete coverage: head to toe and front to back. No part of your body will be left unsupported. How can you not get a good night's sleep with these pillows fully enveloping you?

Total body pillows are generally described as U- or C-shaped pillows. The Snoogle is the original pregnancy pillow with an elongated C-shape that you can wrap around your aching body. They are soft and pliable, making it simple to experiment with positioning until you find your comfort zone.

The company that makes the Snoogle, Leachco, now offers other models such as the Back 'N Belly Chic pillow, which is U-shaped with inner contours that match the shape of your body and a Grow to Sleep Self-Adjusting body pillow that's designed for women who are pregnant with twins.

Snoozer makes a Dreamweaver pregnancy pillow with a candy-cane shape at the top, which gives you a place to rest your head while you are curled around the bottom of the pillow. And better yet, they have a version that is filled with the softest goose down.

An added bonus: These pillows will still see use after you give birth. Many women find that they come in handy for breastfeeding, especially those early days, when having extra support with positioning can come in handy.

  1. Mom Tip: While these pillows may seem big and bulky, tell your partner not to worry. First of all, there will still be plenty of room for them on the bed. And second, they will appreciate you not tossing and turning throughout the night. Customer Lilia Esposito found that the Snoogle was a pillow that the whole family could get on board with.

    I have horrible back pain even when I'm not pregnant. The chiropractor recommended sleeping with a pillow between my legs, but it always felt awkward. When I was pregnant the first time, my back pain was 10-times worse. I didn't really think these maternity pillows would work.

    Now that I'm pregnant again I don't want to suffer through the back pain. There were times when it would take me 15 minutes to get out of bed, the first time I was pregnant. I decided to get a maternity pillow this time because the back pain was already starting in the first trimester.

    It comes with a sheet that shows additional ways to use it during pregnancy and after. I like my head to be propped up and I usually use three pillows to achieve that when I'm sleeping. I don't have to do that anymore. Plus that always gave me a crick in my neck and this way doesn't.

    It's not that bulky in bed. What I do is I put it on the outside so that I can either face it or have my back to it. It doesn't push my husband out of the bed so that works out for him. He never has to deal with it.

    The bonus of this pillow is that my 2 1/2 year old son loves it. You can do a swirl position with it (the card you get with it shows you) and I put my son in the middle. It's like a pillow beanbag chair for him. He likes it so much he falls asleep in it. I wouldn't recommend it for a smaller child and there is a warning label that says not for younger children.

Now that you're equipped to sleep a little better at night, let's take a look at some other ways to keep you comfortable and pampered for the rest of your pregnancy.