You’re swollen, nauseous, sore, and achy — just the right combination for a good night’s sleep, right? Not. That’s when you should ditch your regular pillows and invest in a pregnancy pillow that can actually provide back and belly support, and depending on the shape, cuddle your entire body in comfort. The truth is, your body is going through massive change as it grows a little human, and it can experience a whole host of physical discomforts even before you have the weight of a baby bump to worry about. One word to blame for that: hormones.
According to Washington D.C.-based board-certified OB/GYN Stephanie Hack, MD, pregnancy hormones relax the ligaments throughout the body (including the pelvis), which can lead to hip and back pain. As you move further along in your pregnancy and your uterus grows, this can also contribute to pain, as this causes stretching and pulling on the ligaments in your pelvis. And of course, as you enter the second and third trimesters, you have the baby’s weight to consider, which can put a strain on your back muscles and pressure on the pelvic floor, says Georgia-based board-certified OB/GYN and medical director at Pediatrix Medical Group Jill Purdie, MD.
There’s no magic wand that can erase all pregnancy aches and pains (wouldn’t that be nice?), so the next best thing is to consider using a pregnancy pillow for extra support. “Pregnancy pillows are designed to cradle the abdomen and offer additional support for the growing uterus,” says Dr. Purdie. “A pregnancy pillow may be used during any trimester but is the most helpful after 20 weeks when the uterus comes out of the pelvis and becomes part of the abdomen.”
Comfort is the number one priority when it comes to these nifty pillows, which are ideal for taking pressure off of the hips and back since they help keep your spine in a neutral position. (Note: If you find that you’re not getting relief from a pregnancy pillow or your symptoms worsen, it’s best to contact your doctor.)
Choosing the right pregnancy pillow isn’t always intuitive — size, shape, and firmness are all important factors to consider. Here are the 11 best pregnancy pillows to help pregnant people get that much-needed (and well-deserved) rest. Happy snuggling.
If you’re looking for full body support, Dr. Hack recommends a C- or U-shaped pregnancy pillow like Newton Baby’s, which is adjustable to U, C, and J configurations. Its filling is made up of a memory foam and fiber cluster blend (a.k.a. it’s super comfortable) and the hypoallergenic cover features temperature-regulating organic cotton that makes night sweats a thing of the past.