Why would I need bed rest?
Bed rest is a pretty general term, usually used to address a need for limiting activities. It can mean different things for different people, but is often categorized into moderate bed rest, strict bed rest and hospital bed rest. Bed rest is not a proven form of prevention for pregnancy complications or preterm birth, but if your doctor has recommended it for you, it can be used as an added layer of safety and protection in some situations. Bed rest is often prescribed for varying periods of time in cases of high blood pressure in pregnancy, pregnancy with multiples, cervical changes or vaginal bleeding in pregnancy and sometimes even for pain in pregnancy.
Does bed rest in pregnancy have risks?
Side effects of bed rest can range from just the annoying boredom and inability to get comfortable in bed to the more serious, like muscle and joint pain, blood clots and depression from feelings of isolation and loneliness. If your doctor has prescribed bed rest, they have done so because the benefits for you outweigh the risks. They will often give you tips for preventing blood clots during bed rest and can guide in gentle stretches and exercises that are appropriate and safe for your unique situation.
What can I do to beat boredom during bed rest?
· Do the things that make you happy. Take naps whenever you want to. Poll your friends on Facebook for the latest shows and movies to binge watch on Netflix. Catch up on fun reading or any baby books you bought and never opened. Knit, play mindless games on your phone, cuddle with other children for slumber parties and books in the big bed. Be gentle with yourself and don’t feel obligated to keep busy preparing for the baby. This is the perfect time to delegate baby planning tasks.
· Catch up on work and things you can do around the house. You can stay up to date on emails for work, video conference with colleagues, and pay bills. Depending on your restrictions, you can do light housekeeping and cook some easy freezer meals for after the baby arrives. Be sure to clear all chores with your doctor and rest often.
· Accept help. When your friends and family say, “let me know if there is anything I can do for you”, let them. Have them come over and fold laundry while you catch up on your favorite shows together. Let them take your older children on outings so you can get some one-on-one time with your partner. If you want professional help from someone who will take instructions and cater to you, our doulas can meet whatever needs you have while you’re on bed rest, either in your home or in the hospital. We can help you finalize your baby registry, write thank-you notes, put together the endless boxes of baby furniture, toys and equipment and organize the nursery. If you just want some company, we can make you a cup of tea and just sit and talk with you. We don’t mind running errands so you can have your family home with you for a little while and we are fast learners if you want things done the way you would do them.
Bed rest isn’t as fun as it sounds and it can be hard when there are so many things that still need to be done, but it will be over before you know it. Your baby will be here in no time and it will have been so worth it!