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Bed-rest During Pregnancy – What, Why And How To Cope?

4 min read

Okay frankly, bed-rest might initially sound like just the thing you want. Who hasn’t dreamt of curling up on the best whole day reading books, watching movies or just sleeping? However, when bed-rest is “prescribed” by your gynecologist during your pregnancy, it is not as easy and dream-like as it sounds. It will impact your job, your household chores, your interaction with rest of your family, your equation with your spouse, your emotions, and your relationship with other children! One of the major reasons for these impacts is the fact that the bed rest would likely last for few months and is not going to end in a day or two.
Bed rest in pregnancy
So here is a guide to help you understand better why you have been asked to bed-rest and how to survive it!

What Does Bed-rest During Pregnancy Mean?

The answer to this really depends on your pregnancy.
In some cases, bed-rest could mean only a decrease in your activity. Your doctor might ask you not to do any heavy household work or lift weights. You might be allowed to walk around inside the house for some time.
In other cases, bed-rest could mean literally that. Your doctor might ask you to remain in a reclining or horizontal position for most of the time during the day. You are not allowed to do even light household work in this case. You can still get up to go to washroom, shower and eat.
And in extreme cases, bed-rest could be much stricter and your doctor might ask you to even eat while lying down. You might even have to substitute shower to sponge baths.

Why Have I Been Asked To Bed-rest During Pregnancy?

Your doctor might ask you to bed-rest in any of the following cases. All of them would mean you have a high risk pregnancy. How strictly you need to follow bed-rest would depend on the magnitude of the risk involved.

  • There are problems related to your placenta (for instance, in placenta previa, the placenta is lying low in the uterus, increasing the risk of bleeding if you remain physically active)
  • You are experiencing vaginal bleeding
  • Your cervix has some issues that might result in premature dilation
  • You are having twins or multiple pregnancy
  • You are showing signs of preterm labor
  • Your baby is showing signs of fetal growth issues

You need to remember that bed-rest is not a solution or remedy to any of these problems. It is just a precaution or safeguard to ensure things do not get worse.
Coping with bedrest

10 Tips To Cope Bed-rest During Pregnancy

  1. Understand clearly what is allowed and what is not: The first thing required to plan a bed-rest is to understand very clearly – with no ambiguity – what you can and cannot do
  2. Ensure you have a healthy diet: This is true for all pregnant women, but more so if you are on bed-rest. This is to ensure that in the lack of physical activities, you do not put on an unhealthy amount of weight
  3. Move what you can: Check with your doctor if you can do some light exercises. You can perhaps do Kegels to strengthen your cervix, or use light weights while lying down to strengthen your upper body
  4. Be comfortable: If you are going to be confined to bed for the better part of the day, might as well ensure you are comfortable. You should change sides every hour or so to make sure you get no body aches. Invest in a good pregnancy pillow to support your belly. Use comfortable pillows for your head
  5. Make arrangements at work: If you are working and your work requires being physically present in the office, then you might need to plan a long break/sabbaticals after discussion with your manager and company HR. If you are allowed to work from home, then discuss with your doctor a comfortable reclined position that will work for you
  6. Prepare your spouse: Even if you have a maid, your husband will end up doing most of the chores if your help is not 24×7. Prepare your partner for this. Writing to-do notes and detailed instructions on chores is a good idea, especially if your husband is the forgetful kind (wink wink!)
  7. Get help from friends and family: Line up people to help. Get a bigger group so that no one person feels overloaded. You could have your friends take turns in watching any other kids you might have. You could have a neighbor or two come in to give you meals when your spouse is in hospital. You could have your mom or mom-in-law over to take some pressure off your husband’s shoulders
  8. Organize the side table: Keep things you often need – your mobile, charger, laptop, books, water-bottle etc. – within reach so that you do not have to call out for help often
  9. Seek online support: Often times you get lot of support and motivation from other moms-to-be who are also on bed-rest. You might be able to share and relate with them the emotional challenges you face better than even your spouse
  10. Buy some book and DVD: Well, you gotta do what you gotta do. If you are on bed most of the time, then it is an excellent chance to binge watch your favorite shows and catch up on reading
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