If you had a penny for every time somebody told you to get as much sleep as possible before your baby arrives, you’d have enough money to employ a host of nannies so that sleep wouldn’t be an issue. But few people tell you that lack of sleep can be a real problem before baby turns up as well as afterwards.
Four out of five women report difficulty sleeping as baby and bump get bigger, and that’s the last thing you need when you’re trying to sleep for two. If the reason for your lack of sleep is discomfort rather than a snoring partner or a crap mattress - something that can become painfully apparent during pregnancy when you previously thought it was just a little lumpy - we’ve got good news: a simple pregnancy pillow can make the difference between sweet dreams and staring at the ceiling.
But simple doesn’t mean ordinary. A specially shaped pillow can really help, and you can use it later to prop up your baby for feeding too. Pregnancy pillows aren’t just for pregnant women, though. They’re really useful for people with aches and pains that aren’t baby-related too - and as we’ll discover, they’re not too pricey either.
The Snuggle Up pillow comes in four different shapes: a V shape, a U shape, a C shape and an L shape. There are also three different models of each, from the £25 Classic to the £35 Premium. If that sounds like a lot of money for a pillow, think about how much you’d pay in the morning to have had a better sleep. Now multiply that by the weeks remaining in your pregnancy. Not so pricey now, eh?The Classic is made from white polycotton with an anti-allergenic filling, while the Original and Premium have softer fabrics on the outside and lavender scent to aid blissful sleep. The Independent voted it as its best buy pregnancy pillow, and it’s won a host of other awards too.
The Cuddle Me Pillow is designed for full body support, it’s won a host of awards and the combination of a cotton outer and polyester filling means it shouldn’t be too hot in the warmer nights. It’s also machine washable at 40 degrees to keep it fresh. It’s longer than some and that means it’s potentially more versatile, enabling you to put it wherever you feel you need some extra support - so unless you’re really tall it can support your head, bump and knee simultaneously. The one we looked at is a cloud design, but there are plenty of other options to fit your bedroom’s existing design.
This one is a bit expensive, but the RRP is even higher at £60 - and there are lots of reviews on Amazon from women who reckon that the Total Body Pillow is a great buy at any price. Created in conjunction with a physiotherapist, the Total Body Pillow is designed to deliver the perfect support for your back, tummy and knees when you sleep on your side. The idea is to fill in all of the “gaps” from head to toe, keeping your spine in the correct shape and alleviating any tensions that might prevent you going up the stairs to Bedfordshire. It’s in three sections that you can combine in whatever fashion feels best for you, and it’s machine washable at 40 degrees.
This one’s a popular choice: it’s absolutely enormous at 190cm by 40cm, and it’s both anti-allergenic and breathable. The jersey covers are very thick, easily removable and machine washable, and you can wash the pillow itself at 60 degrees. It’s worth reading the reviews on this one and hanging onto your receipt: while John Lewis’s customers rave about the Theraline’s comfort, they’re not so keen on the quality of the stitching. It seems that you need to be quite careful when removing the cover: if you split the pillow’s lining you’ll get little beads everywhere. It might not be as robust as others, but there’s no quibble over its comfort: one happy reviewer has been using hers for eight years.
It’s nice to see a Mamas & Papas product that isn’t much more expensive than rivals: we often left our local branch with sad faces after seeing something we loved but couldn’t possibly justify spending so much money on. This 143cm x 19 x 19 pregnancy pillow is good value for money, though, with a removable and washable cover and a filling that moulds to your shape and makes your bump, back and knees more comfortable. It’s big enough to provide the support you need and not so big that you wouldn’t use it for anything else: it doubles as a really good breast- or bottle feeding pillow and as a lower back support too. There are a few different designs but we prefer the grey marl one, which goes with pretty much anything.