We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
Little one on the way? While parents-to-be will know to expect a few sleepless nights on the horizon, what the experts don’t warn you about is insomnia before the baby arrives.
From back pain to discomfort, temperature control and an overactive mind, a number of factors can impact your sleep during pregnancy. And when you’re trying to bank some prenatal kip and you just can’t switch off, it can feel grossly unfair – not to mention stressful.
If you’re tossing and turning every night, try not to worry. ‘It's normal to struggle to sleep during pregnancy,’ says Rachel FitzD, Parenting Expert at The Baby Show. ‘It’s natural and helps you get used to sleeping differently once the baby arrives.’This doesn't make it any less frustrating though!
Fortunately, pregnancy pillows can help. From the comfiest full body bolsters for side sleepers to the snuggliest U-shaped cushions that help you maintain a safe sleeping position, keep scrolling for our pick of the best pregnancy pillows on the market.
Best pregnancy pillows to shop now
In a rush? Here are the best pregnancy pillows at a glance. Keep scrolling for the full list...
Do you need a pregnancy pillow?
If you're wrestling with insomnia, starting to feel uncomfortable, or struggling to sleep on your left side (as recommended by the NHS), now is a good time to invest in a pregnancy pillow. Also known as orthopaedic or body pillows, they are designed specifically to combat your sleep woes and support you as your body changes – especially during the second and third trimester.
‘Some pregnancy pillows are long, so you can move it to support your back and your bump at the same time,’ says Rachel. ‘Used correctly, then it can help with pelvic girdle pain.’ But the benefits of a comfy pillow extend beyond prenatal support. Many of them double up as a nursing pillow for bottle or breastfeeding once the baby arrives, and can eventually help your little one learn how to sit up unaided too.
What type of pregnancy pillow should you buy?
There are a number of products on the market designed with keeping mums-to-be comfortable in mind. To help you choose your ideal pregnancy pillow, it helps to match it to your natural sleeping position:
Prefer to nod off curled up on your side? The best pregnancy pillow for side sleeping mamas is a full body pillow, which will support all your aching limbs alongside your growing bump.
'With a full body pillow, it’s important to choose one long enough to support your shoulders, bump, pelvis, and knees,' says Pip Davies, Midwifery Sister and speaker at The Baby Show. 'This can be a nice way of sleeping in a good postural alignment, helping to reduce those morning aches and pains when you wake up.'
As mentioned above, the NHS recommend that you sleep on your side during pregnancy. ‘Most women get to a point when they feel uncomfortable because when you lie on your back in later pregnancy, your uterus falls backwards and compresses one of the large blood vessels running down your body,’ explains Rachel. ‘It can make you feel sick and it can reduce blood flow to the placenta. Not enough to be dangerous but enough to want to avoid.’
If you're a natural back-sleeper it can be tricky to adjust to side sleeping but try not to worry. To stay off your back, invest in a U-shaped or E-shaped pregnancy pillow that will keep you supported and gently remind you to snooze on your side. Alternatively, pop a bolster under your mattress at night to prevent you from rolling over in your sleep.
If you prefer to sleep on your belly we have bad news for you mamas, soon you’re going to struggle to find space! While pregnancy pillows with belly-shaped holes do exist, it’s still recommended that you sleep on your side for the health of your baby, so opt for a wedge or U-shaped pillow to encourage side snoozing.
Which type of pillow material is best?
Pregnancy pillow materials can vary from polyester fibrefill to memory foam, microbeads or polyfoam, so it's also worth thinking about the firmness and level of support you require before you shop.
'Fibrefill will likely be softer while a foam pillow will be firmer and more supportive,' says Pip. 'Memory foam can offer great contouring support but is less breathable. Plus, some pillows have adjustable ends allowing you to adjust the firmness.'
How to use your pregnancy pillow
Comfort is key when it comes to making the most of your pregnancy pillow, but it's also worth considering alignment. Make sure your legs are a hip width apart and parallel all the way down, explains FitzD. ‘You want to put a pillow the full length from the top of your thighs all the way past your knees and down to your ankles,’ she explains.
‘Your legs should be one on top of the other, but don’t loop one leg over on to the bed as this can impact hip alignment and make you more uncomfortable.' But if in doubt, 'the best way to sleep is whichever way is most comfortable,' she adds.
22 best pregnancy pillows to shop now
To help you get some sleep, ease aches and pains or simply feel more comfortable at home, we've rounded up 23 of the best pregnancy pillows currently in stock and ready to ship.