Maximise your chance of a good night's sleep with a pregnancy pillow, supporting you where it counts
Choosing the best pregnancy pillow can be the difference between falling to sleep with ease and an uncomfortable, restless night.
You could prop a regular pillow under your bump, but the best pregnancy pillows are purposefully designed to give you extra support for your back, hips and bum. They come in various sizes – some are so large they may mean relegating your partner to the spare room or sofa – and many are shaped in such a way to offer a couple of different sleeping positions.
Here you’ll find a straightforward explanation of the different types of pregnancy pillows you can buy, followed by our pick of the best pregnancy pillows around.
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How to choose the best pregnancy pillow for you
There are four basic shapes of pregnancy pillow, which have their own specific pros and cons:
1. The Wedge
The smallest pregnancy pillow, this sits under your tummy when you’re lying on your side, taking the strain off your back and gluteals.
Pros: Cheap, portable, and can be used as an anti-reflux cushion for your newborn. This pregnancy pillow’s small size minimises grumbles from your partner.
Cons: Designed just for bump support and every time you turn over you’ll have to reposition it.
2. The V or C shape
These pregnancy pillows are combined with a wedge and take the pressure off your neck, upper back and shoulders.
Pros: Doubles up as a breastfeeding pillow after birth.
Cons: Designed just for upper body support, you will also need a wedge. Plus, they take up more room than a normal pillow, which is tricky if you’re in a double bed.
3. The L shape/kidney bean
This pregnancy pillow combines the features of all the above pregnancy pillows in a large L-shaped version. The idea is to rest your head on the top and place the long bit between your legs, so your head, neck, bump, back and bottom are all supported.
Pros: Supports the whole body.
Cons: Decreases physical contact with your partner and repositioning it is more of a pain than a simple wedge.
4. The U shape
An extension of the L shape, this pregnancy pillow goes all the way down your front side and up the back side, offering support to the head, neck, shoulders, bump, gluteals, back and spine.
Pros: All-over body support that you don’t have to reposition when you turn over.
Cons: Takes up the space of an extra person in bed.
How we test pregnancy pillows
To discover the very best pregnancy pillows, all the products that feature in our list were put to the test in our reviewer’s homes for a full experience. Available in a range of different shapes and sizes, we review a broad cross-section of pregnancy pillows to suit a multitude of needs. These include U-shaped pillows that are ideal for conditions such as pelvic girdle pain, as well as flexible V- and C-shaped pillows that can be moulded around different parts of the body; the best pregnancy pillows are also useful once baby arrives, for extra support when feeding. Finally, we consider wedge pillows, too, which make side-sleeping when pregnant more comfortable.
As well as weighing up the pros and cons of each shape of pillow, at the end of the reviews you’ll find the key specifications of products, detailing the type of cover, filling and washing instructions.
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The best pregnancy pillow you can buy in 2023
1. SleepyNights Bolster Pregnancy Pillow: Best pregnancy pillow on a budget
Price when reviewed: £7.95 | Check price at Amazon
The SleepyNights Bolster pregnancy pillow is basic, but it’s incredibly cheap and comfortable. Measuring the length of a double bed, this large pillow is perfect to cuddle up to at night without taking up so much room that your partner doesn’t get a look in. You can place it under your bump, between your legs and under your head, while its non-allergenic hollowfibre filling gives a decent amount of support and comfort. You can also buy different coloured pillowcases so that your oversized pillow matches the rest of your bedspread.
Key specs – Cover: Removable, Filling: Non-allergenic; Washing instructions: Pillowcase and cover are machine-washable
2. Dreamgenii Pregnancy and Nursing Pillow: Best pregnancy pillow for classic comfort
Price when reviewed: £54 | Check price at John Lewis
Shaped like a giant comma, the Dreamgenii pregnancy pillow is a variation on the L shape. The flat section goes under your back so you’ve got support front and behind, while the long bit goes under your bump and down through your knees. It’s set up for you to lie on your left side – recommended by midwives to maximise bloodflow between mother and baby – and prevents you rolling onto your back in the night. It’s stuffed with polyester hollow fibre, which means it’s springy but plump, and it can be used as a breastfeeding cushion. Its polyester cotton cover comes in plain white or floral print and can be chucked in the washing machine.
Key specs – Cover: Removable, cotton-polyester mix; Filling: Polyester hollow fibre filling; Washing instructions: Cover is machine-washable
3. Niimo Pregnancy Pillow: Best pregnancy pillow for flexibility
Price when reviewed: £28 | Check price at Amazon
The Niimo Pregnancy Pillow is shaped like a giant squishy sausage. Filled with silicone polyester fibre, it can be used to support the whole body by placing it under the head and gripping it between the knees when lying in a side position. It also fastens together via a loop to provide a chunky cushion for back support or when breastfeeding. Both the pillow insert and cover are machine-washable and to extend its shelf life post-pregnancy (and breastfeeding), it’s large enough to provide a soft support loop for baby to sit up in on the floor.
Key features – Cover: Removable, 100% cotton; Washing instructions: Whole pillow and cover is machine-washable