Different Types of Pregnancy Pillows

Published by 
Jess Miller
Last updated: 
December 20, 2021

There are a bunch of different pregnancy pillows, also known as maternity pillows, that you can choose from.

Did you know that?

Different sizes, styles and shapes. Let's take a look at the variety of pregnancy pillows available as well as the pros and cons of each.

Pregnancy wedge pillow

The pregnancy wedge pillow is essentially a wedge (the name was a dead giveaway, wasn’t it?). It slides in under your back or tummy to deliver much needed support throughout the night.

Pregnancy wedges are one of the cheapest pregnancy pillow solutions available. Many mothers like pregnancy wedges because they are still practical after giving birth. Getting comfortable watching television? Yep. Propping your regular pillow up? Yep. You do not have to be pregnant to enjoy a pregnancy wedge pillow.

The wedge design also allows you to use it in a variety of different positions:

  • Under the tummy – The wedge provides support to your tummy, helping keep the weight from straining your back and hips
  • Behind the back – If you are prone to tossing and turning you can use a wedge to keep you sleeping on your side.
  • Under your regular pillow – Elevates your head which may help to relive pregnancy heartburn and reflux.

Some expectant mothers even use the pregnancy wedge to help hold a hot water bottle or heat pack against their side.

Pregnancy wedges are available in two different styles:

Round pregnancy wedge pillow
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The rounded wedge looks like a filled in crescent moon.

Triangular pregnancy pillow
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The triangular wedge resembles a wedge of cheese.

The appeal of pregnancy wedges is that they do not take up much room in your bed. Do you know what that means? Your partner to be will still be able to comfortably sleep in the same bed as you. Wedges are the smallest type of pregnancy pillow available.

Due to the smaller size of pregnancy wedge pillows, you will still require a separate pillow for your head to rest on while you sleep. An advantage of the smaller size is that wedge pregnancy pillows are perfect for traveling while pregnant. One of the downfalls of pregnancy wedge pillows is that they are inconsistent in their design. The steepness of the slope will vary from brand to brand. As a result, many women have different preferences when it comes to wedge shaped pregnancy pillows. I have listed my favorite pregnancy pillow in the buyer guide further down this article.

How to sleep with a pregnancy wedge pillow

As the name hints, the pillow is wedged underneath you. Below you can see a pregnancy wedge in action; propping up a bulging belly.

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Lets take a look at the pros and cons of pregnancy wedge pillows:

ADVANTAGES

  • Inexpensive pregnancy pillow option
  • Does not take up much room

DISADVANTAGES

  • Only supports small section of body
  • Head pillow still required

Full length pregnancy pillow

As the name suggests, full length pregnancy pillows run along the length of your body. Also known as body pillows, this style is always straight. While they are great to cuddle, they do provide less support for your back than other styles of pregnancy pillow.

Full length pregnancy pillows take the place of using multiple regular pillows along the side of your body. The advantage of the full-length pregnancy pillow is that it is a single unit that stays in place. Using multiple regular pillows will see them scatter throughout your bed as you toss and turn through the night.

Full length pregnancy pillows are available in two different styles:

Straight full length pregnancy pillow
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The straight type looks like a regular pillow only much, much longer.

Flexible full length pregnancy pillow
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The flexible type resembles a much larger version of a draft stopper.

The flexible full length pillows actually bend and conform into whatever shape you want. The more expensive flexible pillows will contain microbeads while the cheaper variety contains standard styrofoam balls (similar to a bean bag). Microbeads make for a much more supportive filling than standard styrofoam.

The straight full length body pillows, on the other hand, will not easily bend or twist (similar to the pillow you that your head rests on at night).

How to sleep with a full length pregnancy pillow

Unlike smaller pregnancy pillows, the full length variety is designed to be hugged and cuddled. One way to sleep is to place your legs and arms around it with the center of the pillow supporting your mid section like below.

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ADVANTAGES

  • Supports whole body
  • No head pillow required

DISADVANTAGES

  • Takes up more room in the bed
  • Not ideal for back sleepers

Total body pregnancy and maternity pillows

Total body pillows wrap around the exterior of your pregnant body, resulting in superior support. These pillows are generally around 5 or 6 feet long, big enough for most people to easily curl up inside.

Not only does the body pillow hug your front, but also your back as well. If you awake with a sore back each morning then the extra spinal support offered by a total body pregnancy pillow is just what you need.

Total body pregnancy pillows are available in two different styles:

C-shaped pregnancy pillows
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Resembles the shape of the letter C.

U-shaped pregnancy pillow
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Resembles the shape of the letter U.

As you can see, each style of total body pillow is named after the letter it resembles. Despite both styles being total body pillows, they are both slept in very differently.

How to use a C-shaped body pillow:

The C-shape is designed to be used in a riding position. The base of the C is saddled between your legs while the top of the C is used to rest your head. Your back nestles into the curve of the C, which helps relieve pressure placed upon your spine.

Below is an example of how you would use a C-shaped pregnancy pillow to get comfortable.

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How to use a U shaped body pillow:

A U shaped pillow is designed to be straddled (as if you were a koala in a tree). Since the U shape offers support for both sides, this pillow is suitable for those of you who enjoy sleeping on your back but can no longer do so due to your larger belly.

Like the C shaped pregnancy pillow, the U style offers support for the head, back and legs.

Below is an example of how you would use a U shaped pregnancy pillow to get comfortable.

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ADVANTAGES

  • Most supportive pregnancy pillow
  • No separate head pillow required

DISADVANTAGES

  • Big and bulky
  • Most expensive pregnancy pillow

Knowing the different types of maternity pillows will help you to choose the best pregnancy pillow for your comfort and sleep preferences.

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