How to Use A Pregnancy Pillow?

How to Use A Pregnancy Pillow

Is pregnancy interrupting your sleep patterns? With a host of changes happening to you during this period, the struggle to take a shut-eye can make things worse. 

Insomnia can hit expecting women even if they did not suffer from sleep disorder before. Those who did are likely to experience more. Unfortunately, it can trigger or become a part of other problems. 

Every case is different. But fewer solutions have had a wide positive impact on pregnant women than the pregnancy pillow. In this article, you will read about how to use pregnancy pillow types and which type suits you. 

But first, let’s establish a baseline of the status of your sleep (or the lack of). Understanding your situation can shed light on how you can adjust to it. And when it comes to pregnancy-related insomnia, the common culprits have been identified. Find out in the next section about the possible causes for your snooze issues.

What Makes Sleep Hard for Pregnant Women

When you are having trouble falling or staying asleep, the cause might be one of the following:


In the first trimester, your body releases the hormone progesterone, which regulates various stages of the reproductive cycle. It can trigger early bedtime during this phase. This can lead to daytime drowsiness and nighttime disruptions. 

The latter is called sleep maintenance insomnia. If you’re having difficulty falling asleep during normal bedtime, you’re having sleep-onset insomnia. This can also be caused by progesterone.

Either condition can occur less within the second trimester when your body has adjusted to the progesterone level surges. However, sleep can be affected by other causes.


Heartburn can be common when the second trimester starts. This can be caused by progesterone as well. This hormone can relax the smooth muscles in the lower esophagus, which is keeping digestive acids down. 

Progesterone and the pressure put by the baby on the stomach can bring these fluids up, which can lead to the pain shooting through the chest, throat, and neck. Heartburn is known for keeping moms-to-be up at night. Even those who did not experience it before can be affected by it during pregnancy.


Pregnancy can raise many women’s anxiety levels. It is fueled by worries about labor, preparations (“Am I doing enough?), and perhaps negative experiences in the past (e.g. miscarriage). The stressors vary per individual, whose perception of their environment can determine what stresses and calms them.

This situation may heighten during the third trimester. While drifting off, some may end up having nightmares. But the most common manifestation of stress, once again, is the inability to fall or stay asleep. Mindfulness meditation can help. And so is the right pregnancy pillow.

Types of Pregnancy Pillow

Choosing the right pillow can help you achieve a good night’s sleep, especially when you are expecting. Here are the pillow types available for pregnant women.

Full-Length Pregnancy Pillow

The right pregnancy pillow can support specific areas that hurt or cause discomfort. For your head, stomach, and knees, full-length pillows are a perfect solution. Their size can actually support your full body as their name suggests. They are almost as long as your limbs, so you can hug and cuddle with them as you sleep.

Full-length maternity pillows are also referred to as body pillows. So make sure you are getting the specialized one. General body pillows are best for certain sleepers, particularly stomach and side sleepers. Meanwhile, pregnancy body pillows come in different shapes. 

In this guide, we will look at the C-shaped, U-shaped, and J-shaped pregnancy pillows.

C-Shaped Full Body Pregnancy Pillow

This pillow is easy to spot and shop for. It’s shaped like a big C. When you lay on it, you can feel the cushioning support from head to feet. The top part provides comfort to your head, neck, and shoulders. Your back and hips are cradled in the gap inside the C. This should allow you to snooze on your side and belly with ease.

The lower section, on the other hand, can be straddled. You can place it between your legs for lower body relief. Overall, the C-shaped pillow lets you sleep in a position that is comfortable for you. You can customize it to your preference. But it is optimized for sleeping on the left side.

U-Shaped Full Body Pregnancy Pillow

The U-shaped maternity pillow looks like just what its name says. It’s similar to a horseshoe, only padded and large. It can easily cover the surface of your bed, so shop for a smaller one if you have limited space. Also, this shape is more expensive than others. But the benefits it brings do not disappoint.

Women who snooze on their back will find themselves supported from top to toe. Side sleepers can also rest their head on the curve while straddling one side of the pillow. It stays in place, so expecting moms can toss and turn freely within this one.

J-Shaped Full Body Pregnancy Pillow

Another letter-shaped version uses J. As you’ll notice, this resembles a half-side of a U-shaped pillow. It works for side and back sleepers just like the U-shaped one. However, you can be supported on only one side at a time.

Pregnancy Wedges

A wedge-shaped pillow is designed to prop you up while you sleep on your back. It can also be used to support the side or belly of a side sleeper. Further, you can slide it under other parts of your body, such as the legs and knees, for superior comfort. Recline on its cozy slant while reading or watching TV.  

Due to its design, pregnant women with acid reflux can benefit from this. It helps improve blood circulation as well.

This pillow is portable and small enough to fit standard bed sizes, but it requires adding a regular pillow for your head. Two types of pregnancy wedges are available: the crescent-shaped and triangular-shaped. Either way, you get the same set of benefits.

Inflatable Pregnancy Pillows

This type is unlike the rest of the options here. First, it is inflatable. Second, it is like a separate mattress altogether. It looks like a raft with a hole in it. Your baby bump can fit into this hole. Together with the elevated effect, this feature can make you feel supported and comfortable.

The inflatable pillow enables stomach sleepers to lie on their belly. Some may also enjoy the flexibility of motion than a regular sleeping setup does not provide. 

Being cradled in a maternity pillow that fits your needs, you will be able to doze off more naturally and comfortably. So choose the right one for you and learn how to use it properly.

How to Use A Pregnancy Pillow

How to Use Pregnancy Pillow Types 

Choose Between Straight and Flexible

Do you sleep on your side and stay that way throughout the night? 

A full-length body pillow should provide you with the support you need. Also called body pillow, it is I-shaped and does not take up a lot of room. It’s pretty straightforward to use. Just lay it on the bed and embrace it like you would a regular pillow. As you pull it close, look for the most comfortable position for you.

Choose between two different styles, straight and flexible, according to your needs. The former won’t be formed to your position when you switch.

Use A C-Shaped Pillow to Reduce Back Pain

A C-shaped full body pillow is an example of a flexible full-length pillow. It offers back support to side sleepers. This makes it ideal for pregnant women who are suffering from back pain. It’s quite big, so make sure there’s room in your bed to accommodate it.

You will need to climb into your C-shaped pillow to use it. Make sure the C is spread out so you can slip into it easily. The curve should cradle your back, the top should support your head, and the bottom should be placed between your thighs. Don’t straddle it too high as this can strain your knees and hips.

Use A U-Shaped Pillow If You Toss and Turn

If you move frequently in your sleep, a U-shaped pregnancy pillow makes you comfortably shift from one position to another. You can just switch to a different side if you are a side sleeper. Tossing and turning is not a problem for back sleepers as well. With more room left outside the U for your partner, the space inside the U caters to a range of motion.

You can sleep tight in the middle of this pillow type and expect support for your neck, back, and head. It’s also simple to use. Lie down inside the U as you would on your bed.

Use An Inflatable Pillow In Your Third Trimester

Has your baby bump grown really huge? If you’re in your third trimester, you will need a pillow that can support your back without hurting your belly. The inflatable maternity pillow is the answer to this dilemma. 

Setup, however, requires some effort. You will need to pump the pillow with air, similar to how you inflate an airbed until you reach the level that feels right for you. Climb it, put your belly into the hole, and slip into a restful sleep.

To make sure the model has back support, double-check the label it comes with.

Use A Pregnancy Wedge When Traveling

Pregnancy wedges are portable, affordable, and versatile. To beat sleeping woes, get a circular or triangular wedge. You can slip it under the area where you need support. Because the support is localized, it can accommodate the needs of any sleeper type. It can also reach areas that other pillow shapes can’t.

You also get a lot of value from this one. It’s easy to carry so you can bring one while traveling. And since it’s inexpensive, you can set aside a pregnancy wedge for your car. This way, you won’t have to move the only piece you have back and forth. You can just keep the other in your car.

Aside from pillow shopping, you probably have started crib hunting now. Check out our Crib Mattress Buying Guide to learn more.


By now, you’ve probably learned a thing or two about how to use a body pillow. It is straightforward once you know which pillow type is perfect for your situation. A full body pillow is a no-nonsense, space-saving option. A wedge is ideal for traveling moms-to-be. And an inflatable pillow with back support works wonders for women in their third trimester.

If you go for a C-shaped, U-shaped, or J-shaped one, you will have more flexibility to toss and turn. And as you experience support and comfort, you can beat insomnia, another sleep disorder, or body pain with this little step.

Given what you read about the different pillow types, which one are you picking? Tell us about it in the comments section!

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