Stay in bed all day? That might sound like a dream come true – but what if you’ve been ordered bed rest by your doctor? What does it mean to be on bed rest and how can you actually do so during pregnancy? Should you stay at home or in the hospital? Let’s go into the details of how bed rest affects your everyday life.
Bed rest during pregnancy
Bed rest during pregnancy – unlike its name – doesn’t mean you have to be in bed all day. What it means is that you will be asked to reduce the intensity of your activities and rest as much as your body requires you to. Bed rest, depending on the severity, doesn’t mean you can’t work or move about either – you just need to schedule time to rest and avoid being on your feet for extended periods of time.
Bed rest during pregnancy is usually prescribed to expectant mothers who have the following conditions: a threatened miscarriage, preeclampsia (or the less severe form, pregnancy-induced hypertension), carrying multiples, have an incompetent cervix (or other cervical changes), or have a history of pregnancy complications that resulted in a miscarriage. The type of bed rest you’re asked to go on will differ depending on whether you’re at a high or low risk of a miscarriage.
Bed rest during pregnancy in the hospital
You will be ordered to go on bed rest at the hospital if you are at high risk of a miscarriage (threatened miscarriage) or a preterm labor. If there are abnormalities in the fetal heartbeat or your body, there will be a need for constant monitoring. Medicine might be administered to you to stop bleeding, abdominal pains and contractions in order to bring the pregnancy to term.
When you’re hospitalized, you might be put on complete bed rest. You won’t be allowed to move much, and you should obey your doctor’s every instruction. Apart from meals and going to the toilet, you might even be ordered to lie down the whole day. Consult your doctor on what you have to do.
Bed rest during pregnancy: At home/after being discharged from the hospital
Bed rest at home or resting at home after being hospitalized means you’re still not ready for a very active lifestyle yet. Let’s see what you might want to do while at home.
Doing housework like cooking, washing and cleaning is a burden to your belly and the baby. You should get support from a partner or family during bed rest or after a discharge. Avoid caffeine and foods that might make your body cold or slow down blood circulation in your body. Stay away from food that could possibly give you diarrhea or constipation. Also, you might want to shower about once every 2 days or simply use a towel to clean yourself up.
You might not be able to work as you usually did when you’re ordered to be on bed rest. Talk to your employer and come to an agreement with regards to how long your break will be, whether your work hours can be reduced, or if you’re allowed to work from home. If your condition is serious, then your practitioner will ask you to stop going to work for the time being. Should that happen, take your practitioner’s advice and take things easy.
Will I have a healthy baby if I was ordered bed rest during pregnancy?
Even if you have been told to go on bed rest, you will be able to give birth to a healthy baby. If you rest properly, your baby will be able to grow like any other baby. Rest quietly at home, and do your best to carry your pregnancy to term.
End of bed rest during pregnancy: Point to be noted
When your bed rest is over, you might want to return to your past lifestyle slowly. Move the muscles you haven’t been using for a long time bit by bit. You don’t want to push yourself too hard. Remember to put your baby first.
Going back to work is harder, and you might feel the pressure to do all you can. However, before you get back your physical and mental stamina back, remember to take things easy and take on projects and responsibilities that don’t give you too much stress.
Sufficient rest even while you keep yourself occupied
If you are ordered bed rest during pregnancy, channel all your energy into resting. You might not be used to such a lifestyle, but there is no sacrifice too big for you if it’s in the best interests of your baby. There might not be a second chance for your baby, and it’s most crucial that you see your baby through this tough period of time. It’s not all that bad either; use the time to read, watch all the shows you’ve been wanting to, catch up with friends online – the list goes on, but put “sufficient rest” at the top of the list!