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8 best pregnancy pillows that help with back pain and side sleeping

Jenna Farmer
We've considered material type, firmness, pressure and, of course, price when choosing our top picks: The Independent/iStock

While pregnancy is undoubtedly an exciting time, it also brings with it stress, worry, and discomfort. All of which don’t add up to a great night’s sleep. Whichever trimester you are in, you might notice you are tossing and turning more than ever, which is where a pregnancy pillow might help.

“There are a number of features of pregnancy that can disturb sleep; including hormonal shifts, nausea, frequent urination, anxiety and of course the physical limitations experienced at various stages of pregnancy,” explains Lauren Peacock, sleep specialist and founder of Little Sleep Stars consultancy.

“Some mothers-to-be find a pregnancy pillow helps to ease physical aches and pains while lying down. As an example, placing a pillow between the legs when side sleeping may help lower back pain. Pregnant women are advised to sleep on their left side (to maximise blood flow to the placenta) so a pregnancy pillow can also be a useful positional aid, “ she adds.

It might take a little research to find the right pillow for you, since some women love the feeling of being cocooned by oversized full-body pillows, while others prefer to just target specific areas with a smaller V-shaped one.

Another consideration is whether you plan to breastfeed, since many pregnancy pillows can double up as a nursing pillow when your little one arrives. Factoring in things like material type, firmness, pressure and, of course, price is worthwhile too. We recruited a team of new mums to test out a variety of pregnancy pillows to cover every eventuality. Here are our favourites.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

JoJo Maman Bebe microbean maternity pillow and baby nest converter set: £45, JoJo Maman Bebe

This offering from JoJo Maman Bebe is great value for money as it has two uses. The long microbean cushion helps to support your bump and legs when used lengthways and the neck and shoulders when in a V-shape, and also converts into a snug baby pod that can handily be used from birth up until your little one starts rolling. Our tester, who was sixteen weeks pregnant with twins, found this pillow was just the right size for her growing bump and loved how she could easily alter the firmness by changing the arrangement of beads (more beads equals a firmer pillow, while separating them made it softer).

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Mum & b maternity pillow fresh: £37.99, Babymoov

This super simple ergonomically designed pillow is the smallest we tried, its peanut shape works best if you have a specific area you want to target, such as using in between the legs for pelvic pain or propping up swollen feet after a long day at work. The pillow is double sided and made of bamboo viscose – an antibacterial and breathable material – which made this one feel extra soft. This is also useful once your baby arrives as it’s great to have on hand to support your little one’s head when feeding and even to use as a tummy time pillow too. Rather than for sleeping, we think this pillow is best for using on the go or for focusing on specific areas during the daytime.

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Silentnight body support pillow: £38, Argos

This simple body support pillow isn’t designed specifically for pregnancy but is great for supporting multiple pressure points. We loved it for cradling our bump, solving leg cramps and soothing a bad back. Our tester noted this was on the firmer side of things; so it’s great if you’re on the hunt for a pregnancy pillow that offers plenty of pressure and isn’t too soft. Its size spans the length of the body so it’s best suited for those who have plenty of space. A great all-rounder.

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Bbhugme pregnancy pillow: From £128, bbhugme

Bbhugme is known for creating pregnancy pillows that manage to combine both style and comfort. Available in five different colourways, this luxe pregnancy pillow really feels like heaven to touch, our body simply melted into the silky cover and bean bag style design. Interior conscious parents won’t be able to resist the green leaf and marble prints, which will jazz up your bedroom no end.

It’s seriously squishy, so if you aren’t a fan of ultra-firm pillows and want something that feels like it moulds to you as you toss and turn then we definitely recommend this. Unlike most on the market, the design means you can adjust it to fit your shape and sleeping position throughout the night. The cover is really easy to slip off, wash and interchange should you want to buy a few different styles. Once the baby arrives, it comes in handy for supporting with feeding and even with learning to sit, since you can also tie the ends together to form a doughnut-type shape as well as using this lengthways.

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Dreamgenii pregnancy support and feeding pillow: £44.99, Mothercare

This pillow comes with the impressive accolade of being recommended by midwives, but does it live up to the high praise? Our 28 weeks pregnant tester certainly felt so. She loved that it was small enough not to take over the bed but firm enough to offer support in all the right places.

She noted that the padding is supportive without feeling in any way restrictive; meaning the support is perfect around the bump area. This also did a great job of stopping her rolling over onto her back. The 100 per cent cotton cover is breathable so it is perfect for avoiding overheating, while the pillowcase can easily be washed and replaced with covers in a range of colours.

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Slumberdown V-shaped pillow 2 pack: £21.09, Amazon

This compact V-shaped pillow is an affordable alternative to more expensive pillows on the market, yet it still delivers on comfort and support. The shape and soft pressure of the hollow-fibre filling works well to support your bump, back, and legs. Our tester said this non-allergenic pillow was particularly soft and comfortable to lie on and also did a good job of stopping her sleeping on her back during the night.

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Bellamoon full moon 7-in-1 pregnancy pillow: £169, Bellamoon

For mum’s who plan on breastfeeding, this is an investment that will prove its value time and time again. It comes in separate parts that cleverly zip together to provide a variety of different options. First up is the pregnancy pillow which can be used in several ways. You can use one piece of the pillow separately around your bump or between your knees and then zip together to form a longer pregnancy pillow to cover much of your body when you need more support.

Once your baby arrives, the true functionality of this one comes into play. We particularly like how this converts into a full moon daybed. Using this when breastfeeding allows your head and back to be supported and the square side is great for your baby to lie on.

Even if you’re not breastfeeding, we think it’s ideal for mum and baby bonding, especially if you’ve had a C-section and are struggling to carry your baby. Other functions include a pillow for tummy time, a breastfeeding cover and a smaller half-moon breastfeeding pod. It’s pricey but is such a clever product that will last throughout your pregnancy and beyond.

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Kally Sleep Kally body pillow: £49.99, Amazon

This full body pillow is designed with help from Harley Street specialists, with an ergonomic structure that helps reduce back pressure and support your joints. We love how soft the 100 per cent cotton jersey outer is, which comes in five different colours and can easily be washed. It felt incredibly cosy to snuggle up to yet was also really breathable, which we would be especially handy during warmer nights.

The interior is made of a hypoallergenic hollow fibre, meaning this pillow feel super comfortable yet still offers a medium amount of pressure. Some full-body pillows can feel cumbersome in bed but this one seemed to work with us and felt surprisingly lightweight. Once your pregnancy is over, the Kally pillow is useful to support with surgery recovery – such as C-sections – and is also useful to alleviate pain from conditions such as arthritis and fibromyalgia.

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The verdict: Pregnancy pillows

We loved the microbean pillow from Jo Jo Maman Bebe which delivered on comfort, price and practicality – with the pod conversion being a lovely touch. For those who are planning to breastfeed, it’s well worth investing in the multi-functional Bellamoon, which offers maximum comfort for you and your baby. The V-shaped pillow by Slumberdown is also a great budget buy.

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