With my first pregnancy, towards the beginning of the second trimester, I was worried that I wasn't staying on my left side when I slept. Being on your left side is supposed to be optimal for blood flow to the placenta (you basically need to be off your back to prevent squishing the vena cava that is supplying oxygen and nutrients to baby) and so I started looking for pregnancy pillow options. I tried several (the hubbs can tell you how his spot on the bed was basically usurped by pregnancy pillows!) and by far, my favorite is the U-shaped pillow.
It not only helped me get a good night's rest with all the support in all the right places, it also helped me stay on my side while supporting my growing belly. By the time I was well into my third trimester, I don't know what I would have done if I didn't have this pillow!
I loved my U-shaped pregnancy pillow SO much that I actually traveled with it - several times and even overseas for work. I stuffed it into one of those Ziplock Space Saver vacuum bags and slid it into my suitcase. I was not going anywhere without that thing.
When I was pregnant again, I didn't wait and immediately broke out the pillow that I had been carefully and diligently saving for this moment. This time I also had heart-burn almost immediately and also needed a large wedge pillow that I used in conjunction with my U-shaped pregnancy pillow and, by the time I was pregnant the second time, Boppy had come out with their Boppy Side Sleeper Pillow! I whole-heartedly recommend these pillows but here is the breakdown of some of the pros and cons of all three pillows.
U-shaped pregnancy pillow pros:
The pillow is malleable enough to place support wherever you need it. Whether it's your belly, behind your back while are on your side (to keep you from laying on your back), under your knees...you name it and it can be there for you.
This pillow helped me find sleep when I started getting really uncomfortable from my size and weight of being pregnant (I gained like 70 lbs!) which was amazing.
It's packable. Not easily packable but definitely packable - I used a space saver bag, but doable for those who are traveling while pregnant.
U-shaped pregnancy pillow cons:
It's big. If you have a queen-size bed or smaller, your partner will feel like it's taken over.
Unless you have large washing machine, it's difficult to wash. So...just don't eat or spill on it.
If you get hot while pregnant like I sure did, this may not help your heat dissipation. Both of my pregnancies were throughout the summer (fall babies) and so I slept with my two pillow configurations, no covers, and a fan directly on me. It was glorious.
Wedge pillow pros:
Consistent elevation so you don't need to reset and reposition a bunch of pillows each night or throughout the night
Alleviates acid reflux that causes heart burn.
Alleviates snoring (I totally started snoring as my pregnancies progressed!)
Alleviates back or tailbone pain if you are experiencing that during pregnancy
Wedge pillow cons:
Large. It's really large.
Not packable so if you need one, there are inflatable ones that I traveled with.
I occasionally slid down and ended up positioning my U-shaped pillow with a curve at the bottom (see video up top) to keep me from sliding to the bottom.
Boppy side-sleeper pros:
Once I was in my third trimester, this felt like a big hug supporting my belly. It was wonderful.
Boppy side-sleeper cons:
Only truly needed it for about a month, but when I got there this was awesome to use.
I did find myself repositioning throughout the night to be comfortable, but that could be user issues.