Which Pillow Shape is Best During Pregnancy?

So, you've discovered the wonderful world of pregnancy pillows, but it's a little overwhelming.

A Google search quickly reveals that there are thousands of different pillows to choose from. U-Shape pillows, full-body pillows, circle pillows – the list goes on and on.

With so many options on the market, it can be a little overwhelming, and it's tricky to know where to start or when you even need to think about buying one.

While that's a great problem to have, you don't want to make an impulsive and un-researched purchase. Ultimately, it might not be what's best for your comfort and support during your pregnancy.

Keep reading to find the best pregnancy pillow for you and your needs.

This guide will delve into why there are so many different types of pillows, what options you have to choose from, the pros and cons of each, and which option will be best for you.

 Pregnant woman lying in bed showing her belly

Why Are There Different Pillow Types?

Pregnancy pillows are made in many different shapes and sizes to properly contour and support different bodies and needs - read more about the best pregnancy pillows for back sleepers here.

Some designs are for people who feel a lot of pressure on their tummy, and others are made for people who usually sleep on their back. Side sleeping is the doctor-recommended way to sleep to protect your health and your baby's, with studies suggesting it can help minimize all types of serious risks, especially in the second and third trimesters.

Different pregnancy pillows support different areas of the body. For example, some shaped pillows will support your entire back, with others made to ease the pressure on your legs, tummy, hips, and lower back. 

What To Consider When Buying A Pregnancy or Maternity Pillow

Online shopping can become a bit of a maze when you're looking for the ideal for you. We'll break it down, so you know what you're looking for.


Do you want a pillow just for sleeping, or do you want one to use in an armchair, too? Is it just for pregnancy, or do you want one you'll still use once your little one arrives? These are all things to consider when picking your pillow. There's something for everything, so there's no need to settle for anything less than perfect.


The shape is one of the most important factors to keep in mind. Some pillows are made for you to spoon, while others are designed to go behind your back or between your legs. The shape will determine your sleeping position and how secure and cosy you are while sleeping.

Sleeping Position

When you're in your second and third trimesters, sleeping on your stomach becomes an obvious no-go, and sleeping on your back can decrease your circulation.

So, sleeping on your side will put the least amount of stress on your body. That's why most pregnancy pillows, such as the popular C-Shaped and U-Shaped pillows, are made to keep you secure and comfortable on your side.


A firm pillow will often be better at keeping you in place throughout the night. But you also want something that adjusts to your body as you grow and change.

If you want extra cushioning, go for a polyester fibre fill. But if you need something firm and secure, a foam-based option will be the best maternity pillow for you.

Quality of materials

Different materials can impact the durability, breathability, hygiene, support, and firmness of a pillow. For example, polyester and latex fillings tend to be the more durable material.


Your body will change throughout your pregnancy, and you need a pillow that can change with you. This means you need a material that adjusts with the contours of your body, such as polyester and latex. While foam can mould well, it traps heat and isn't as breathable, which can be uncomfortable during hotter months.

It's also helpful to have a pillow you can manually adjust throughout your pregnancy as your needs change. So, if you start getting back troubles or the pressure in your hips increases, it's handy if you can change your pillow's size or shape to suit you.

For a fantastic adjustable option that focuses on back support, comfortable sleeping, and keeping you on your back - check out the Sleepybelly three-piece pillow set.

Ease of washing

Like all pillows, you need something hygienic and easy to wash regularly. Make sure the pillow you choose has a breathable, removable, and washable cover, so you're always sleeping on something squeaky clean.

Which Shaped Pregnancy Pillow Should I Purchase?

Now into the nitty-gritty. Here are the best pregnancy pillows to use during pregnancy and why they're such a hit with mums-to-be.

Women sleeping on C shape and U shape pregnancy pillows



Pros: The I-Shape is the perfect full-body "spooning pillow." It's a long, simple and straight design that is excellent for anyone that likes to sleep with a pillow between their legs for spinal alignment. It's one of the more low-maintenance pillows that you can easily take on trips, and many will continue using it as a sleeping pillow or maternity pillow, too.

This shape is designed for people who suffer from back pain and like to sleep on their side. It's simple and incredibly comfortable for those who already want to sleep on their side – chances are you'll never look back!

Cons: The downside of these pillows is that they leave room for movement and aren't going to stop you from rolling onto your back while you sleep.

O-Shape (Circle shape)

Pros: Sometimes called a circle or donut pillow, the smallish shape is great to tuck under your tummy for extra cushioning while side sleeping. You can also pop it between your legs to keep your spine aligned on your side. This is an excellent option for anyone who wants something cushiony and versatile.

A huge bonus of these pillows is how useful they are as a maternity pillow once your baby is born. It's a fantastic hybrid option – helpful for tummy support while pregnancy, breastfeeding, or propping your baby up once they're born.

Cons: While very flexible and your best bud for mum duty, these pillows aren't going to give you the same level of support and sleeping security as others. If you wake up with a lot of aches and pains, or you have a lot of trouble not rolling onto your back, this might not be the best pillow for you.


Pros: This is one of the most supportive, full-body options for sleeping on your side, which is the recommended position for pregnancy. It will keep you cosy, and supports your legs, hips, and tummy to help ease the pressure.

The cushioning on each side leaves little room for tossing and turning and is great if you have any back issues. Many women say this is the most supportive pillow for the entire body.

Cons: This pillow will take up a lot of space and isn't the easiest to cart from place to place. It's bulky and might not leave a lot of room for others in the bed!


Pros: These pillows are great at easing pressure and aches in the back, hips, and legs. Basically, it works by wrapping around your back, going under your head, and between your legs. They're flexible and small enough for you to use sleeping, sitting, or breastfeeding, so you can be comfy almost anywhere.

Cons: While this is great for the lower body, it won't offer the same full-body support as a U-Shape. If you need something to keep you super-secure across your upper and lower, the U-shape might be better.

Adjustable/flexible sets

An increasingly popular pillow style is adjustable pillow sets that act as a hybrid of the different shapes.

Traditionally, a pregnancy pillow will work for a while but might lose its charm and convenience as your pregnancy progresses. With these, you have a pillow that changes with you as needed.

We suggest: Our best-selling Sleepybelly is a set of three high-quality pillows (a long straight pillow for back support with two wedges). Find out more about the Sleepybelly here.

So, Which Pregnancy Pillow is Best During Pregnancy?

We think these options are the best, but what you choose depends you, what you need for your body, and what you want to use your pillow for. There are a few non-negotiables, such as great materials and ease of washing, but things like the shape, size, and firmness are all about you and your needs.

Use this guide as a checklist and make sure you find a pillow that makes you sleep like a baby (hopefully better).

Sleepybelly makes top-quality pregnancy pillows (Australia-based) to ease your body and mind. For more about sleeping while pregnant and choosing the best pregnancy pillow or best maternity pillow for you, check out our blogs.


Woman on her bed with the Sleepybelly pregnancy pillow


Leave a Comment

Read More