Sure, you expected morning sickness and swollen feet, but you may not have factored in the toll pregnancy can take on your sleep. “The weight of your growing baby makes it difficult to find a comfortable position and puts pressure on your bladder,” says Christy LeBlanc, a Calgary-based midwife. The further along you are, the harder it can be to get comfortable when you hit the sheets.
But before you resign yourself to months of sleepless nights—there will be enough of those when baby arrives—you might want to try taking a pregnancy pillow to bed. Specially designed to provide extra support for your growing body, they can be especially helpful in the third trimester.
The main types of pregnancy pillows include wedges, body pillows and the huge C- or U-shaped varieties. The wedge is inexpensive and small (so your partner won’t be relegated to the sofa), but it can only support one part of you—say, your bump—at a time. Body pillows are the mid-range option. They usually span the length of your body and are designed to provide support for your head, belly and even knees at the same time. If you’re really struggling to get comfortable, a C- or U-shaped pillow may be worth the splurge (they run up to $150). These pillows surround your entire body, providing support for your head, back, belly and knees all at once.
There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re buying. Skip soft pillows in favour of firm versions, which will provide more support. And look for one with a removable, washable cover, especially if you’re one of the lucky expectant moms who get night sweats. However, don’t feel like you have to shell out tons of money. “Women can often just use a soft pillow to make a wedge under their backs or bellies,” LeBlanc says.