Getting a few more hours of alone time with your bed may sound like the perfect weekend but when you are ordered to stay in your bed during pregnancy, it may be difficult to adjust and figure out how you can survive the transition. For pregnant women who are at risk of suffering from complications during their pregnancy, bed rest may be required to increase blood flow to the placenta and increase the weight of the baby. Approximately one in five women must undergo bed rest, which is often due to carrying multiples, vaginal bleeding, signs of fetal growth issues, preterm labor contractions and an incompetent cervix. For many women, it can be a challenge to have decreased activity levels and rely on other people to perform daily activities.
Type of Bed Rest and The Reasons For It
There are various types of bed rest that are assigned, which depends on the pregnancy. For some women, it means avoiding strenuous activity or lifting heavy items. Others may need to limit their activity completely and must remain in a sitting or reclining position while in the bed 24 hours a day. This can also require lying on your side at all times and only getting up to use the restroom or to bathe. Some types of pregnancy are more serious and require hospitalization with sponge baths and the use of a bedpan while staying in bed full-time. Other reasons you’ll need to stay in bed will be due to previous miscarriages or stillbirths and due to high blood pressure. Many women who become pregnant are aware that they’ll need to stay in bed at some point during their pregnancy due to their medical history or prior pregnancies. Each situation is different and will have various requirements.
Understand the Rules
When you’ve been ordered to stay in bed for the remainder of your pregnancy, it’s important to understand the rules to ensure that you don’t put your health at risk. Don’t be afraid to ask your OBGYN different questions to get a clear understanding of your new routine. Ask if staying in bed is permanent until the baby is born or only until your symptoms improve, if you’re permitted to perform household chores, if it’s safe to have sex and what position you must remain in. Most people who must stay in bed are not permitted to stand for long periods of time, participate in sexual intercourse, exercise or lift anything that is over 20 pounds.
For many women, the real challenge of being bed ridden is suffering from boredom, which can make it easy to feel depressed or antsy after several weeks. It’s important to stay as busy as possible and create activities for yourself each day to ensure that you have something to look forward to. Make it a point to schedule phone calls with friends or family members, catch up on emails, organize old photos, make a quilt, find books to read and journal. You can also accomplish certain educational goals, which can include taking online courses to further your schooling. Many women find support online through message boards where other bedridden women share advice with one another. Staying mentally active can make it easier to get through the days and remain stimulated instead of sitting in front of the television. Don’t be surprised if you have low points during the week. Be willing to communicate with your partner to express your feelings each day. Being aware of your moods will make it easier to avoid falling into a long-term slump until you can resume your normal activities.
Ask for Help
Staying in bed full-time during your pregnancy is impossible to do without the help of your spouse, friends and family members. Take advantage of the help that is offered, whether it means having a friend go on a grocery run or asking your husband to clean the house on the weekends. Although it may be difficult to feel helpless, it’s important to remember that the situation is only temporary and that you can resume your responsibilities with time. If you’re already a mom, you’ll likely need to solicit the help from grandparents or aunts and uncles who can help care for your children until you’re back on your feet again. You may need help during the day with picking up the children from school, preparing lunches and assisting the children with their homework. All in all, the end of your pregnancy comes closer with each passing day, be it via bed rest or not, and holding a healthy baby in hand is ultimately the greatest reward that makes it all worth it.
Related Content: The Benefits of Delayed Cord Clamping
In the past, the common practice was to pass Dad the surgical scissors and have him perform a quick snip just before the newborn babe was whisked away to be cleaned, measured and dosed with vitamin K. Any delay in cord cutting was viewed as unnecessary in promoting general health for the baby or mother. However, recent research suggests that a delay of even three minutes can have a significant positive impact on infants.