Bed Rest During Pregnancy
September 23, 2011
Your health care provider may prescribe bed rest for you due to complications during your pregnancy. About 1 out of 5 women will be prescribed bed rest at some point in their pregnancy.
Why is Bed Rest Prescribed?
Bed rest is prescribed for a variety of pregnancy complications, including but not limited to the following:
- You are carrying twins or multiples
- You are having preterm labor or are at risk for preterm labor
- You have a weak cervix
- You have intrauterine growth restriction
- You have placenta previa
- You have preeclampsia
What are the Benefits of Bed Rest?
Bed rest can decrease the amount of pressure the baby puts on the cervix and reduce cervical stretching. Stretching on the cervix ma cause preterm contractions and increases the risk of miscarriage.
Bed rest can increase blood flow to the placenta, which can help your baby get the maximum amount of nourishment and oxygen it can receive. This can be important in the case of intrauterine growth restriction.
Bed rest can help improve high blood pressure and help your heart and kidneys to work better.
Will I Have to Stay in Bed 24 Hours a Day?
Health care providers may prescribe full bed rest or partial bed rest. If you are prescribed full bed rest you may be required to stay in bed all day. You may or may not be allowed to get up to go to the bathroom. You may be told to lay on your side as side lying positions take the greatest amount of pressure off of your uterus.
Sometimes you may be prescribed partial bed rest or modified activity. You may be able to get up, shower, walk to the bathroom, and do other activities. Some times you may be able to just take it easy and slow down your normal activities or rest in bed a few additional hours a day.
You should be sure to ask your health care provider detailed questions about your bed rest:
- Exactly what level of activity is allowed?
- What position should I be in while lying down?
- Can I sit up sometimes? If so, how often and for how long?
- Can I take a shower or a bath?
- Is sexual activity allowed?
- Should I do any exercises while I am in bed?
- Please discuss the pros and cons of bedrest.
Can Bed Rest Be Harmful?
Bed rest can be challenging for your body both physically and mentally.
Physical complications of bed rest include the following:
- Increased susceptibility to blood clots
- Feeling weak and tired
- Loss of strength in your muscles, heart and lungs due to
- Aches and Pains
- Bone loss
- Changes in Metabolism
It can take a while to regain your strength after bed rest. This can make it a little more challenging to care for your baby once it is born.
Tips for Bed Rest
Get your bedroom set up so that everything you need is within easy reach.
- Have a television and computer available to you if possible.
- Get some good books, new magazines, or newspaper.
- Get crossword puzzle books
- Try a new hobby such as stitching, knitting, painting, making scrapbooks, etc.
- Get organized–Pay bills, make up a schedule or calendar, set up a menu plan or try to arrange for friends and family to help you by bringing meals.
- Plan for your new baby with books, research, and purchasing things online.
- Get your day organized. Setting up a schedule to do things at specific times can be helpful.
- Learn to meditate.
If you are going to be on an extended bed rest, get yourself prepared emotionally. You may experience a lot of mood swings. This is completely normal!