Is it worth purchasing a pregnancy pillow? How they help you sleep better, alleviate pain, support your back
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Being pregnant can be an exciting time, full of wonder - but it’s exhausting too. Whether you’re being plagued by insomnia, night-time cramps or you simply can’t find a comfortable sleeping position, many pregnant women find that their sleep suffers immensely during the nine months of expecting a baby.
One of the best solutions is to invest in an excellent pregnancy pillow. A great pregnancy pillow should support your bump, as well as your pelvis, ankles, knees, neck and back.
These can come in all shapes and sizes, and the one you’ll find most comfortable will typically depend on what position you like to sleep in and how firm you like your pillows, as well as how much space in your bed you have to play with.
What is the point of using a pregnancy pillow?
It’s recommended by the NHS that after 28 weeks, you should sleep on your side rather than your back, and ideally the left side: and a pregnancy pillow can help you get comfortable in the optimal position.
Wedging a pillow between your legs as you sleep can help to maintain the natural alignment of your hips and pelvis at a time when everything feels disjointed and uncomfortable.
When should you start using a pregnancy pillow?
As soon as you want to! In the first trimester, a pregnancy pillow can really help alleviate the typical back pains that can plague your sleep, while as you get bigger, you’ll appreciate the extra support for your bump.
Our tester is a diehard fan of a pregnancy pillow and always uses one to sleep even when she’s not pregnant: a really supportive extra pillow in bed can be the difference between a patchy night of sleep and an excellent one.
Before buying a pregnancy pillow, consider the many options on the market out there. If you’ve never had one before, you might consider twisting your existing pillows into various shapes to see what you find most comfortable: a long, sausage-shaped pillow you can spoon, a U-shaped pillow that will support both your bump and your back, a curved pillow that will meet the shape of your bump, or a simple back support pillow you can use to prop yourself up on?
There are so many options out there, with many designs offering one-off perks. These, for example, could include being able to adjust the firmness of your pillow, a special design to make sure you sleep on your left side, or a dip in the middle to allow you to sleep on your front.
What should I spend on a pregnancy pillow?
Take into account how much you want to spend: while some pillows cost less than £10, others can be over £100. Many of them can be used well into the future, whether for nursing or bottle-feeding, or simply as back support while you watch TV and read books well into the future. You may want to pay extra for a pillow’s ergonomic design, beautiful appearance or promise of longevity.
Whichever pregnancy pillow you’ve contemplated investing in, you’ll find an option for you in our roundup. We’ve included a range of shapes, sizes and budgets to suit all stages of pregnancy and beyond - and had many an excellent night of sleep while rigorously testing them out.
Best pregnancy pillows at a glance
- Best for all-encompassing comfort: Kally U-Shaped Pregnancy Pillow
- Best for a smaller pillow that works a treat: Mamas & Papas Pregnancy & Nursing Pillow
- Best for front sleepers: Natal Comfort Anna Pregnancy Pillow
- Best for luxurious comfort and adjustability: bbhugme Pregnancy Body Pillow
- Best for ensuring you sleep on your left side: Dreamgenii Maternity and Nursing Pillow, White
- Best for gorgeous design: Purflo breath pregnancy pillow
- Best for affordability: For Your Little One 12 FT Maternity Pillow
- Best for lightweight, portable option: ClevaMama ClevaFoam Therapeutic Maternity Pillow
- Best for price: Linens Limited Pregnancy And Breast Feeding V-Shaped Support Pillow
- Best for full body support on a budget: Slumberdown Body Support Pillow
Looking for a good night sleep? Keep them cosy in a baby or toddler sleeping bag.
Key specs: Weight: 3kg Dimensions: 150cm x 33cm
If your sleep has been destroyed by the aches and pains of pregnancy, this fabulous U-shaped pregnancy pillow by UK sleep brand Kally will restore the former glory of your slumber.
Created by experts including doctors and osteopaths, the pillow offers an ergonomic design, a soft cotton cover and anti-allergy fibres to help you find a comfortable position to sleep in every night, regardless of how big your bump is.
We were really impressed by how supported our back and legs felt, not to mention our bump. Plus, when we weren’t sleeping, the pillow made a super comfy base on which to prop ourselves up with a book: a use that will no doubt come in handy well beyond pregnancy.
Key specs: Weight: 1.115kg Dimensions: H19 x W19 x D143cm
If you’re on the lookout for a smaller pillow that won’t take over your bed, we were really impressed by the pregnancy and nursing pillow from trusted brand Mamas & Papas.
It’s compact and affordable, but that doesn’t mean it’s a compromise: we found it super comfortable, and really supportive for our back, bump and knees despite its narrow size.
It’s a great option if you’re planning weekends or trips away, as it comes with a reusable zip-up bag to make packing it in the suitcase simple and fuss-free.
Once the baby’s born, it can also be used as a bottle-feeding and breastfeeding companion too, meaning it represents great value for money.
Key specs: Weight: 1.5kg Dimensions: 550mm x 700mm x 200mm
Pregnancy brings with it many joys, but many irritations too, one of the main ones being that if you previously loved sleeping or resting on your front, the giant bump you’re now sporting will prevent that.
Step in the Anna pregnancy pillow from pregnancy brand Natal Comfort.
The pillow allows pregnant women, to - hooray! - lie on their fronts thanks to its clever, bump-down design, and it can also be used as a reflux-relieving hangout pod for babies to safely rest in once they are born.
The brand says that stomach sleeping while pregnant can help with everything from heartburn and blood circulation to placenta performance and even improve the oxygen flow between mum and baby.
Not only did we love being able to lie on our front again, but we also found that the position the pillow offered really helped to relieve the soreness in our hips, pelvis and back that comes part and parcel with pregnancy.
Key specs: Weight: 75 ounces Dimensions: 59 inches x height 7.5 inches
The coolest pregnancy pillow out there, the bbhugme is beloved by influencers and celebrities and is ubiquitous on social media.
Founded by three Norwegian chiropractors and mothers, the long, squashy pregnancy pillow offers pregnant women support for the belly, lower back, pelvis, knees and ankle.
It doesn’t come with the cheapest price tag, but once you try it - or more accurately, fall in love with it - you’ll be more than happy to splash out for it.
Cleverly, the pillow comes with “pebbles” to help you adjust its firmness and shape, making it adaptable as your body changes throughout pregnancy and beyond.
It’s not just heavenly to hold while sleeping and resting, but looks great too, with a range of colourful or neutral jersey pillow covers available to buy so you can switch up your look.
We predict we’ll be using this long after pregnancy: sleeping will never be the same without it, bump or not.
Key Specs: Weight: 1.16kg Dimensions: 47cm x 15cm x 35cm
Sleeping on your left side when pregnant is medically advised to be the optical snoozing position - except if you’re not used to it, it can feel unnatural and uncomfortable.
The Dreamgenii Pregnancy, Support and Feeding Pillow, made in the UK, helps expectant mums to feel super-supported while sleeping on the left.
We loved how comfy the pillow felt on our bump, back and knees, and it made sleeping on the left a pleasure rather than a chore we had to remember in the middle of the night.
It can also be used as a feeding pillow after birth, making it a well-priced option that will last into the future.
Key specs: Weight: 1.47kg Dimensions: 43cm x 116cm
Looking for a pregnancy pillow that looks as good as it feels? We loved this Breathe pregnancy pillow from baby sleep experts Purflo with its cute yet chic botanical design.
The ergonomically-designed pillow is super-supportive to cuddle at bedtime, with its central mesh panel curving to meet the shape of your bump, and the top and bottom of the pillow providing a perfect support for the head, hips, knees and ankles.
It comes with a zip-up bag for storage, making it a great one to travel with too.
We loved the longevity it offers, with its curved design meaning it’ll last well into the future either as a feeding cushion, a tummy time support space or even just as extra back support while you’re watching TV or reading a book - not to mention it will look gorgeous on your bed.
Key specs: Weight: 1.5kg Dimensions: 60 x 24.8 x 7 inches
If you like the look and feel of a full body pillow but you’re on a budget, you’ll love this affordable option from baby brand For Your Little One.
The enormous, 12-foot hollow fibre pillow allows for real flexibility when sleeping, whether you want a giant long pillow to hug or would rather use it as a U-shaped companion.
Considering its gigantic size, the fact it’s anti-allergenic and how comfortable it is on the back, pelvis and legs, we think this is a fantastic bargain.
It’s also neutral-looking enough to stay on your bed for years to come.
Key specs: Weight: 1.5kg Dimensions: 135cm x 65cm x15cm.
If you want a really supportive pillow that’s lightweight and easy to transport, a fantastic option is the therapeutic maternity pillow from baby and maternity brand ClevaMama.
Made from the brand’s own ClevaFoam technology, which is hypoallergenic and toxin-free, we found this pillow provided a great combination of firmness, size and shape to offer support for our bump, knees, head, neck and back.
We liked the fact that despite being long enough to support our knees and head at the same time, it was lightweight enough to pack into its included carry case for easy transportation.
The cute, neutral design looks good too. It also offers longevity, as it can be used for nursing and back support after pregnancy.
Key specs: Weight: 500g Dimensions: 38 x 76m
Looking for a supportive pregnancy pillow for just over a tenner? Step in the Linens Limited Pregnancy And Breast Feeding V-Shaped Support Pillow.
A fabulously-priced option, the pillow can be used as a support while sleeping pregnant, and then later on while breast or bottle feeding too. We found it comfiest when propped behind our back to alleviate the pesky lower back pain typical of pregnancy, but it’s supportive to sleep with too.
A great option for those on a budget.
Key specs: Weight: Dimensions: L48cm X W74cm
Another reasonably-priced option for a full-body support pillow that doesn’t cost the earth is the Slumberdown Body Support Pillow.
We found this really supportive to sleep with in a spooning position, providing comfort not just to our bump, but to our pelvis, back and knees too.
The hypoallergenic hollow fibre filling and 100% cotton pillowcase feel soft and secure, while its neutral appearance will mean it’ll no doubt be a welcome fixture on your bed for years to come.