After more than 30 hours of research and testing, including a session evaluating eight pregnancy pillows with a prenatal physical therapist, the Bluestone Full Body Contour U Pillow is the pillow we’d recommend to help you sleep comfortably and keep your body well-supported during pregnancy.
Though neither the fluffiest nor the fanciest pillow, the Bluestone did a better job at providing all-in-one neck, belly, and back support than any other pillow we tested. The relatively flat, sloped sides wedge more comfortably under a pregnant belly than thicker, poufier pillows—this lower density was really what set the Bluestone apart from the excessively thick fluff of almost every other competitor. The symmetrical Bluestone lets you change positions during the night without having to move or rearrange the pillow, which wasn’t the case with most other pillows we tested. The horseshoe-like profile hugs and supports the lower back better than other shapes, and it can also be flipped around so you can use your own head pillow, which many pregnancy pillows can’t accommodate. It’s also one of the most affordable pregnancy pillows we tested, which is nice because you’ll use it only for a few months. It’s huge, though, like most of its type, and the cover is slightly noisy.
If your bed would be too crowded with the Bluestone, or if you simply prefer a narrower pillow, we recommend the Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Body Pillow. This is a long, straight pillow, so it won’t simultaneously support as many areas as our U-shaped pick. But the Snuggle-Pedic’s malleable memory-foam fill molded to our bodies better than the down-alternative fill of the other popular body pillows we tried. The Snuggle-Pedic was also much more flexible than other body pillows we tested, so it’ll bend and curve with your body, letting you change positions easily during sleep. It felt cool at night with a knit bamboo cover, similar to those on our favorite bed pillows. And though it was the most expensive body pillow we tried, the Snuggle-Pedic comes with a 20-year warranty, and if it’s not firm enough or soft enough for you, you can send it back and the company will add or remove fill, at no extra cost.
Table of contents
- Why you should trust us
- Who should get this
- How we picked
- How we tested
- The best pregnancy pillow
- Flaws but not dealbreakers
Why you should trust us
To learn about sleep concerns during pregnancy, I spoke with Dr. Audrey Merriam, a faculty member in the Department of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Yale School of Medicine, as well as Mavis Schorn, PhD, a certified nurse-midwife and professor at Vanderbilt University School of Nursing. I also corresponded with the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists to learn about the guidelines they’ve published on the topic.
To understand more about optimal sleep positioning for comfort and joint and spinal alignment during pregnancy, I spoke with Susan Giglio, a physical therapist specializing in pelvic health at Baton Rouge General Hospital and an instructor in prenatal and postpartum physical therapy for the American Physical Therapy Association and also interviewed Marianne Ryan, a specialist in prenatal and postpartum physical therapy and author of Baby Bod, a book about prenatal and postpartum fitness and physical therapy. (Ryan also helped us test and evaluate the body pillows in this guide.)
I’m the research editor for The Wirecutter, assisting our writers and editors with product research and reporting for more than 100 guides to date. As a mom of three, I’ve also been pregnant three times, and I was actually in my third trimester while researching this guide. I know firsthand how hard it can be to get a comfortable night’s sleep toward the end of pregnancy—and how badly you need it then.
Who should get this
A 2015 study of nearly 2,500 women across all stages of pregnancy found that “being unable to find a comfortable position became almost universal by the end of pregnancy (94.1%).” If you’re pregnant or have been pregnant, you probably don’t need a study to tell you this. Between your growing belly, looser ligaments, back and muscle aches, leg cramps, and other possible sleep disruptors—like heartburn, frequent bathroom trips, and a kicking baby—sleep is increasingly hard to come by.
Doctors typically advise pregnant women to sleep on their sides during the later stages of pregnancy (due to the weight of your growing uterus, you’ll likely find it uncomfortable to sleep on your back and stomach by a certain point, anyway). Many pregnant women need extra support under their belly and along their back to keep from rolling forward and backward while side sleeping. Additionally, during pregnancy, “the joints are not as well-supported by the ligaments, due to the [relaxin] hormone,” Giglio told me, meaning women may need additional support for their hips, knees, and ankles.
The experts we spoke to all agreed that no one needs a special pregnancy pillow; in fact, the physical therapists we interviewed all said they use standard hospital pillows when they teach women how to position themselves for comfortable sleep. A pregnancy pillow’s main advantage is the convenience of a single pillow to support multiple areas of the body, instead of tucking, arranging, and rearranging lots of pillows throughout the night.
“It’s really about comfort,” Schorn told me. “Using pillows, whether a [pregnancy] pillow or lots of smaller pillows, and tucking pillows in all those different places to have that support, is nice for many women. The challenge is with a lot of small pillows, as soon as you get comfortable, you have to get up and go to the bathroom.” A dedicated pregnancy pillow is quicker and easier to get tucked back in with.
How we picked
We started by making a list of every pregnancy pillow we could find on sites like Amazon, Bed Bath & Beyond and BuyBuy Baby, as well as reading through dozens of message board discussions on BabyCenter, What To Expect and other pregnancy websites to learn which shapes and sizes of pillows are popular. We found over 30 pillows with at least nine unique shapes, including C-shaped pillows, J-shaped, and U-shaped.
Giglio explained that whether you sleep with multiple regular pillows or a pregnancy pillow, the goal is to maintain your spine’s natural alignment. “The spine has three normal curves. We try to get them in alignment: we don’t want an undue side bend through the spine, or one leg pulled up more or lopped over so there’s a big twist in the spine.” Giglio and Ryan both told us that pregnant sleepers typically need extra support in the following areas to achieve optimal alignment, and to sleep comfortably:
- Neck: Like any good bed pillow, the part of the pregnancy pillow where you rest your head should maintain the natural curve of your spine, so that the neck muscles aren’t strained.
- Shoulders: The pillow should support your shoulders to reduce pressure on them while side-sleeping.
- Belly: It should support your belly, keeping the weight of your uterus from pulling on your abdominal and back muscles, and filling in the gap between your waist and ribs, preventing a side bend (your pelvis and ribcage moving closer together).
- Lower back: The pillow should support the natural curve of your spine, and keep you from feeling like you’ll roll backward.
- Knees and (optionally) ankles: The pillow should keep the top and bottom leg relatively aligned, preventing the pelvis from tilting forward or backward, which could twist the spine and overstretch the hip muscles. Not all pregnancy pillows are long enough to support the ankles, but keeping the ankles at an even height to the knees can help reduce swelling.
Using the criteria defined by Ryan and Giglio as a starting point, we determined a good pregnancy pillow should offer:
- All-around support. Because the point of using a dedicated pregnancy pillow is to avoid having to build a pillow fort to get comfortable, we narrowed our list of pillows to shapes that offer support for most or all of the target areas our experts identified.
- Multiple sleeping positions. Ryan told us that when sleeping, “A good position is your next position—we’re not meant to be in the same position for a long period of time.” We identified pillows that looked like they would let you change position—turning from left to right, or bending and unbending your legs—without having to flip or rearrange the pillow entirely. It’s hard enough to flip your body around by the second and third trimesters, let alone wrestle with a pillow.
- Cool and comfortable materials. Many women tend to feel hotter during pregnancy due to their increased blood supply. We looked for pillows that have outer cases made from cotton or bamboo, which our experience testing sheets and bed pillows has shown tend to feel cooler and wick away moisture better than polyester and polyester/cotton blends. We tried to determine what type of fill we preferred, but almost all the pregnancy pillows we came across were stuffed with polyester down-alternative fill—similar to what you find in most bed pillows. There were differences in the amount and thickness of the fill, though, and after evaluating them in person we came to prefer thinner designs more than the overstuffed pillows. Less fill made the pillows softer, more flexible, easier to wedge beneath and between body parts, and overall more comfortable for more people.
- Removable, washable covers. Because stuffing a big, wiggly pillow into a sham can be tough, we preferred pillows that come with zippered covers.
Next, we made a list of pillows with the highest ratings and user reviews on Amazon that also met the above criteria, ending up with eight that we decided to test:
- Leachco Snoogle Chic
- Leachco Back ’N Belly Chic
- Leachco Body Bumper
- Leachco All Nighter Chic
- Leachco Snoogle Mini Chic
- Bluestone Full Body Contour U Pillow
- Malouf Z Wrap-Around
- Moonlight Slumber Comfort-U Maternity Pillow
Though we initially focused on specialty pillows designed for pregnancy, we quickly realized that most pregnancy pillows are really big—so big they can easily take over most of a double or queen-size bed. A common complaint across Amazon reviews, message boards posts, and polls of our own staff members who have used pregnancy pillows (or shared a bed with a partner who used one) is that they hog too much bed space.
So we widened our net to consider a dozen body pillows, which are much smaller and shaped like standard bed pillows but about twice as long. A body pillow won’t support all the areas mentioned above, but can support you along one side: your belly, knees, and ankles, or your back, knees, and ankles. We decided to test three body pillows that are highly rated on Amazon and have a number of user reviews that mentioned positive experiences using them for pregnancy, along with one extra-long pillow made by The Company Store. The finalists were:
- Snuggle-Pedic Body Pillow
- Pinzon Hypoallergenic Down-Alternative Body Pillow
- Sleep Innovations Embrace Memory Foam Body Pillow
- The Company Store Down-Free Fill Body Pillow
How we tested
Physical therapist Ryan (in purple) helped us to examine the eight pregnancy pillows and test them for support and comfort with a volunteer who was 35 weeks pregnant at the time.
Ryan showed us how to best position our volunteer with each pillow, and she evaluated how well the pillows supported and aligned the target body areas: neck, shoulders, back, belly, knees, and ankles. We recorded Ryan’s assessment of how each pillow worked for the different body areas and our volunteer’s feedback about how comfortable each pillow felt. We paid close attention to whether the fill felt too firm or too soft to offer adequate support and whether the pillow allowed our volunteer to change positions easily without having to rearrange it too much.
We also tried to gauge how well the pillows would work for women of different heights. Our pregnant volunteer was 5-foot-6 (around the 60th percentile for US women aged 20 to 39). Two Wirecutter staff editors also joined our testing: one was 5-foot-1 (approximately the 10th percentile) and the other was 5-foot-9 (in the 90th percentile). We evaluated whether the pillows extended far enough to support their knees and ankles and whether the proportions would be comfortable for tall as well as shorter sleepers.
We then sent the two best-performing pillows home with pregnant volunteers to sleep with overnight.
We later applied what we learned from our session testing pregnancy pillows with Ryan to test body pillows (the oversized rectangular pillows). Two staff editors (both new moms who slept with pregnancy pillows during their pregnancies) evaluated the four body pillows in our office. We checked for firmness and malleability (whether the pillow could support the shoulders, wedge under the belly or prop behind the back, and separate the knees and ankles). We noted how flexible each pillow was and whether it could move and bend, allowing you to change your leg position easily. We evaluated the quality of the fill (was it lumpy, clumpy, or smooth), and the cover material (did it feel soft, cool, and breathable) We sent the finalist home with another pregnant volunteer, who slept with it for four nights.
Finally, we laundered the finalists’ covers according to their care instructions, checked for shrinking, fraying, and other damage, and evaluated how difficult it was to get the case back on the pillow.
The best pregnancy pillow
The Bluestone Full Body Contour U Pillow provides better simultaneous neck, belly, back, and knee support than any other pregnancy pillow we could find. The Bluestone is softer and more malleable than similarly shaped pillows, so it wedges more comfortably under the back and belly. Unlike other pillows, you won’t have to adjust or fiddle with the Bluestone to achieve a comfortable position, and because it’s symmetrical, you can easily change positions without having to flip it over. It’s also one of the most affordable pregnancy pillows we tested, at about half the cost of similar models.
The Bluestone has an hourglass-shaped cutout, with a wider surface area at the top for the head and shoulders, a graduated slope in the middle that can wedge under the belly and lower back, and a wider part at the leg area. This shape, paired with the malleable fill, makes it easier to tuck the edges of the pillow under the belly when side-lying than with thicker, firmer pillows of a similar shape, like the Leachco Back ’N Belly Chic. The Bluestone is flatter than the other pillows we tested, but Ryan said it’s better to have less pillow than more, because you can always add a thinner pillow under the neck and knee areas to dial in your optimal support. You can’t do that with the thicker pillows we tested, which crooked our volunteers’ necks uncomfortably.
Because the Bluestone is a symmetrical U shape, you can easily turn your body from one side to the other without having to readjust or entirely flip the pillow—as you’d need to do with the C-shaped and J-shaped pillows we tried. Our pregnant overnight tester commented that she loved being able to change positions during the night: “You can turn over in your sleep or semi-sleep and not need to do a whole re-jiggering of pillows. You can just curl up with the other side.” The Bluestone was one of three U-shaped pillows we tested, and it did a better job of wedging under the belly, hugging the lower back, and supporting the neck than the other two.
If you prefer sleeping with your own head pillow, you can flip the Bluestone upside down. (Our tester told us she opted to sleep this way; the position also gives extra ankle and foot support for taller people). This capability sets a pillow like the Bluestone apart from most competitors—other shapes, like the C-shaped Snoogle, don’t allow this flexibility, as there’s no way to position them so you can sleep with your own head pillow.
Most of the pillows we tested came with 100 percent cotton covers, but many of those covers felt scratchy against the skin—a common complaint with pregnancy pillows. The Bluestone’s simple white cover felt nicer than most, akin to a smooth, crisp percale sheet.
The Bluestone is one of the least expensive pillows we tried, selling for about half the price of other popular pillows with all-cotton covers.
Flaws but not dealbreakers
The Bluestone is a monster of a pillow—at 38 inches wide and 60 inches long, it will take up nearly two-thirds the width of a queen-size bed. If you share a bed with a partner, they will need to be on board with ceding some of their territory to the new bedfellow. (We don’t think two people could sleep comfortably with the Bluestone in a double bed, and the pillow alone would barely fit on a twin.) This is a flaw with all U-shaped pillows, which are universally enormous; you will feel like you’re sleeping in a pillow boat. If you don’t have the space for the Bluestone, we recommend our body pillow pick.
Our overnight tester said being surrounded by the pillow made her feel a bit hot. This is another flaw with all big, U-shaped pillows, but at least the Bluestone’s all-cotton, percale cover should feel cooler and more breathable than those made from polyester or poly-cotton blends. If you sleep especially hot (many pregnant women do, because the increased blood volume can raise body temperature), you may be comfier with our body pillow recommendation.
Despite its girth, the Bluestone is too short to provide ankle support for taller-than-average women; it didn’t reach the ankles of either our 5-foot-6 or 5-foot-9 testers. But almost all the pillows we tested were too short in this regard. If you want ankle support and the pillow doesn’t reach, you can either add a pillow between your ankles, or rotate the pillow upside down, scooch it down the bed so it starts at your shoulder level and reaches to your feet, and sleep with your head on a regular bed pillow instead.
The Bluestone has a lower star rating and fewer total reviews on Amazon than some other popular pillows, like the Leachco Snoogle and Back ’N Belly. Most of the one-star Amazon reviews complain that the pillow is flatter than desired. We think the Bluestone’s lower profile is a benefit, because it supported the neck, wedged under the belly, and hugged the lower back better than thicker pillows. Other than that, we don’t see any negative patterns, but we will keep an eye on user reviews over time and will continue to test the Bluestone with more pregnant volunteers.
If you don’t want or don’t have space for a full-size, all-in-one pregnancy pillow like the Bluestone, we think you’ll be happy with the Snuggle-Pedic Memory Foam Body Pillow. It’s not our pick because it can’t simultaneously support all the target areas (neck, shoulders, belly, back, knees, ankles) that a dedicated pregnancy pillow can. But it worked better for supporting a person along one side than other body pillows we tested, with a thin, flexible shape that you can supplement with extra pillows if you need to.
The Snuggle-Pedic is extremely similar to our pick for best bed pillows, and our experience testing those revealed that shredded memory foam is flexible and malleable enough to accommodate a variety of sleep positions and firmness preferences. We found that the shredded memory foam fill in the Snuggle-Pedic molded to the body better than the fill in any other body pillow we tried. You can manipulate the fill of the Snuggle-Pedic to make some areas thicker and others flatter, customizing support for areas like the lower back, belly, or between the knees and ankles. This pillow comfortably molds to your body, unlike other pillows we tried that were either too soft—flattening and sinking when we put our body weight on them—or too springy and lofty, offering too much resistance.
Our pregnant tester said she used the Snuggle-Pedic along her front, and though it had the right amount of puffiness for hip support, she needed to add an extra pillow to achieve the right amount of support for her belly, along with a pillow behind her lower back. Because of its simple shape, the Snuggle-Pedic will support only one side of your body—either belly or back—so you may have to supplement with at least one other bed pillow or wedge pillow for counter support.
The Snuggle-Pedic was also the only body pillow we tested that was flexible enough to bend enough to allow you to angle your legs in different positions. It’s shaped like a flexible tube, and our pregnant tester reported she could keep it wedged between her knees and ankles while still being able to bend and unbend her legs throughout the night. At 54 inches long, the pillow will reach the knees and ankles of average-height women; if you’re taller and need ankle support, you’ll need either to scooch the pillow down farther (so it may not support your shoulders) or use an extra pillow between your feet.
The Snuggle-Pedic’s outer material is the same bamboo-viscose/polyester knit as our bed pillow pick; testers for that guide found the material kept them cool—a helpful quality if you, like many pregnant women, tend to feel hot at night. Our pregnant volunteer said the Snuggle-Pedic stayed nice and cool all night, unlike another pregnancy pillow she’d tried, which felt “hot and claustrophobic.”
Annoyingly, the Snuggle-Pedic does not come with a removable cover, but you can request a zippered cover—made from the same material as the pillow—from the company for free, and we recommend you do so. (After you purchase the pillow from Amazon, the company sends you an email asking if you want the free cover.) Because it’s a standard-size body pillow, you also won’t have trouble finding shams or zippered cases made by other bedding companies that will fit.
Though the Snuggle-Pedic was the most expensive body pillow we tested, it can be useful post-pregnancy, either as a body pillow for side-sleepers, or as a double-length head pillow. It comes with a 20-year warranty, the longest of any pillow we tested, and you can return the pillow after sleeping with it for 90 days. If you aren’t satisfied with the pillow’s firmness, the company will send you a shipping label to return the pillow and they will add or remove fill to customize the pillow to your exact preference (a free service).
The competition: The Snoogle and others
Leachco Snoogle Chic: If you’ve bought, borrowed, or researched pregnancy pillows, you’ve probably heard of the Leachco Snoogle. This snuggly, serpentine pillow is hugely popular on Amazon, where it has one of the highest star ratings of all the pillows we considered. On message boards discussing pregnancy pillows, the Snoogle is by far the most referenced model, with many women singing its praises. (I slept with a Snoogle over the course of two pregnancies.)
The Snoogle comes in a few different versions, with the main differences being the cover material and style. We opted to test the Snoogle Chic, which has a zippered, cotton cover, though the less expensive Snoogle Original, with a polyester-cotton blend, sham-style cover is the most popular. When evaluating the Snoogle with physical therapist Ryan, we found that the pillow was too thick, overstuffed both for recommended alignment and comfort (it crooked our tester’s neck upward). It was too firm to wedge under the belly, but also offered little back support. Our tester said the Snoogle’s curvy, elongated shape felt like “sleeping with a boa constrictor,” or “floating in an inner tube,” and the pillow was so narrow that her legs slipped off. The C-shape design, with an open area meant for your belly, feels constricting; you have to flip and reposition the squiggly pillow anytime you want to turn to the other side. The Snoogle is relatively smaller than the Bluestone, but still takes up a lot of bed space. On every other concern mentioned above, the Bluestone performs better.
Unlike the Bluestone, the Snoogle does offer a variety of covers in different fabrics, colors, and patterns, which may be appealing if you want something other than the Bluestone’s boring white cover. Some Snoogle models have all-cotton, zippered covers (which feel nicer, sleep cooler, and are easier to put on and take off than the cheaper Snoogles with polyester shams)—but these make a Snoogle significantly more expensive than the Bluestone pick.
The C-shaped Malouf Z Wrap-Around, with a plush, zippered, bamboo/polyester cover, was a favorite in our office testing. The siliconized polyester stuffing seemed noticeably nicer than that of other pillows, feeling squishy but not poufy and offering the perfect amount of support for our pregnant tester’s neck, tummy, lower back, and knees. But all three pregnant testers who tried the pillow at home reported difficulty sleeping a full night with it because the neck area propped their heads up too high, and there’s no way to position it so you can use your own head pillow. The Malouf is also cumbersome to flip over when you want to change positions.
The Leachco Back ’N Belly Chic is a U-shaped pillow with an hourglass cutout, similar to the Bluestone. At 33 by 55 inches, it’s a bit narrower and shorter than our pick. It’s also much taller, at nearly 9 inches thick. Like the Snoogle, we found this pillow too lofty to comfortably support the neck and belly.
We didn’t test the Leachco Back ’N Belly Original, which is similar to the Back ‘N Belly Chic, but has a polyester cover, a somewhat flatter shaped neck area, and is 4 inches shorter. Because it’s the same thickness as the Chic, we think it will have the same issues fitting under the belly as that pillow does.
The Leachco All Nighter Chic is shaped like a giant candy cane. In our testing, it was also too lofty to comfortably support the neck and belly areas.
The Leachco Body Bumper is shaped like a half moon with an attached piece to prop up the belly. We found that this model suffered the same over firmness as other Leachco pillows. You’re also locked into a single position with this pillow.
The Leachco Snoogle Mini Chic is a smaller version of the Snoogle; you can position this pillow under your head, or use it lower on your body (with a separate head pillow). We found that the Snoogle Mini Chic offered decent belly support, but little support for the lower back. It was also too short to reach the knees of our taller testers.
At 42 by 68 inches, the U-shaped Moonlight Slumber Comfort-U Maternity Pillow is almost big enough to fit two people. We found that the stuffing is too thick and firm to fit under the belly and pushed the neck up too high.
The all-cotton cover on The Company Store Down-Free Fill Body Pillow (at top above) feels like high-end bedding and was the softest of those on all the pillows we tested. The pillow’s down-alternative fill felt marshmallowy (in a good way). We liked that this pillow is 72 inches long—most body pillows, including our pick, are only 54 inches—so it offers knee and ankle support for people of all heights. But after the initial compression of the fill, it was too cushy and sinky to offer much support.
The down-alternative fill on the Pinzon Hypoallergenic Down-Alternative Body Pillow (second from top) is too lofty: We felt like we were hugging a pillow log, one that was too thick to squish between our knees. The all-cotton cover is crisp but a bit scratchy.
The Sleep Innovations Embrace Memory Foam Body Pillow (bottom) has a memory-foam core encased in down-alternative fill, supposedly offering the best of both worlds. But the down-alternative fill was noticeably lumpy and clumpy, and the pillow overall was heavy and slumpy.
Sleep and pregnancy
Many women hear that sleeping on your back can be dangerous during pregnancy, or that you should sleep only on your left side. But neither the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists nor the American College of Nurse-Midwives has official medical recommendations about how you should sleep during pregnancy.
As for sleeping on your right vs. left side, it’s a matter of comfort, not medical concern. “There’s really nothing much in the literature to support one side or the other,” Merriam said. “When you’re on your side, the blood flow returning to your heart is improved, and most women are more comfortable.”
Though waking up throughout the night is common during pregnancy, especially in the last few months, both Merriam and Schorn caution that you shouldn’t ignore a sudden disturbance to your sleep, especially if you wake up from snoring or coughing. That could be a sign of sleep apnea, which can be especially dangerous during pregnancy. Of course, consult your doctor about any significant sleep concerns.
Care and maintenance
The Bluestone comes with a removable, zippered cover, which should be washed on cold and air-dried. The pillow itself can be only spot-cleaned.
Relief-Mart, the company that sells the Snuggle-Pedic, told us that its pillow is machine washable and dryable, though it doesn’t recommend regular laundering because the memory-foam fill will take a very long time to dry. If you do wash your pillow, wring out as much water as possible before putting it in the dryer. The company says that a periodic 20-minute cycle in the dryer can re-fluff and refresh the pillow.
You can request a free, zippered cover for your Snuggle-Pedic, which can be washed and dried normally.
(Photos by Michael Hession.)
- Sleep patterns and sleep disturbances across pregnancy, Sleep Medicine, April 2015 ,
- Certified Nurse Midwife, PhD, Vanderbilt University School of Nursing, phone interview, January 20, 2017 ,
- physical therapist, phone interview, January 19, 2017 ,
- physical therapist, phone interview, January 13, 2017 ,
- Department of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Yale School of Medicine, phone interview, February 1, 2017 ,