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Bedrest: Why You May Need it and How to Survive It

Katlyn Joy |27, September 2012


You came home from your last check up with some surprising news; you need to be on bed rest. Most likely you have a lot of questions you wish you had asked, which is to be expected. That's OK, just take some time to digest the information then take out a notepad and jot down some questions and call your health care provider or nurse to ask for clarification on things you didn't have the clarity of mind to ask during your appointment.

Why am I on bedrest?

Chances are you got this much info during your doctor's appointment. Reasons for bedrest vary but typically are one of the following: pre-eclampsia, pregnant with twins or more, cervical problems such as incompetent cervix or cervical effacement, risk of pre-term labor, bleeding problems, gestational diabetes, problems with fetal development, placenta issues such as placenta previa, placental abruption and placenta accreta or a history of placenta problems, and chronic health conditions that compromise your or your baby's health during pregnancy.

What kind of bedrest do I require?

Not all bedrest is the same. Some women can work and drive, but must avoid prolonged standing or walking and are restricted from lifting or exerting themselves. Other pregnant women must stay home and limit their activities to light walking from room to room and mostly staying seated or lying in bed. Still others must remain lying in bed and cannot even shower or get up to use the bathroom. These women often must go to the hospital for their bedrest. You need to get specific info from your doctor on what is meant by bedrest in your case.

What are the timeframes for my bedrest? Do I need to remain in bed 80 percent of the time, or 100?

Will I get to resume normal activity once the issue causing the bedrest restriction has resolved, such as when vaginal bleeding has stopped? Will I have to go to the hospital for the last few weeks of my pregnancy or will I get to remain at home?

What position is best for me and how often should I change?

You might need to spend as much time as possible on your side to aid blood flow to the placenta, or merely need to sit with your legs up most the day. Are you to stay on one side most the time, or should you switch every hour or so? Is it OK to go up the stairs once or twice a day?

What other restrictions do I have?

Can I lift my toddler? A gallon of milk? Can I have intercourse, oral sex, masturbate or are all orgasms off limits? Should I shower, bathe or sponge bathe? Specifics are good here, to be sure you are not doing anything you need to avoid.

Staying Healthy While on Bedrest

The lack of movement and exercise can contribute to muscle weakness and a decline in cardiovascular health so be sure to ask your healthcare provider if there are any movements or exercises that are safe and advisable for you. These might include leg lifts, arm circles, gentle yoga stretches, or squeezing a stress ball.

Do you need to change your diet or caloric intake? Your lack of movement may increase your odds of gaining more weight than is desired so ask your doctor what is best for you to do diet-wise.

How to Pass the Time and Not Lose Your Mind

If hours of crosswords, online shopping, reading novels and playing solitaire sounds fun in the beginning, chances are they will lose their appeal quickly when that's pretty much all you can do. Try these ideas to keep you occupied during your bedrest.

- Read all the parenting books you ever wanted to.
- Ditto on childbirth ones
- Start addressing your birth announcements.
- Decide on names.
- Start baby's memory book.
- Chat online with other moms about your bedrest.
- Invite friends over for lunch and to watch a DVD.
- Write emails to friends or catch up on Facebook.
- Organize your family photos.
- Write up a to-do list for your hubby.
- Learn a simple craft you can do from bed, like scrapbooking, knitting, macrame or needlework and make baby-related projects.
- Write a journal.

How to Handle Offers of Help

Some people are uncomfortable asking for help, but if people offer, don't be foolish and shrug them off. In fact, do one better and be prepared with a list of things you need help with to let people peruse and discover things they'd be willing and able to do for you. Some tasks you may consider:

- Arrange a playdate for your older child.
- Run laundry.
- Bring over a dinner for your family.
- Go to the grocery.
- Do some housekeeping duties like vacuuming, dusting or wiping down the bathroom or kitchen.
- Yard work, especially since Daddy is busy taking such good care of Mommy now.
- Pick up dry cleaning or toiletries from the discount store.

Related Articles

Coping With Bedrest During Pregnancy

Short Cervix: Can the Cervix Improve With Bedrest?

Gestational Diabetes: The Basics of This Not So Sweet Condition

Uterine Rupture Due to Previous Cesarean

Toxoplasmosis Is Dangerous In Pregnant Women


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