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Things To Know About Bed Rest During Pregnancy

By Subodini Menon

Most women are advised to remain active during their pregnancy. But under some circumstances, the doctor may advise you to be on bed rest. There are many reasons for being asked to be on bed rest when pregnant.

The reasons may be as simple as fatigue or be as serious as a risk of premature labor. If the doctor asks you to be on bed rest, what does it really mean?

important things to know about bed rest during pregnancy

Are you supposed to just lie on the bed and do absolutely nothing? In reality, bed rest can have a very different meaning depending on the seriousness of the trouble you may be dealing with during your pregnancy.

Sometimes, you really are required to lie down for the rest of your pregnancy, but usually, the doctor just means to tell you to take it easy on yourself. The word also takes a different meaning when used by a different doctor. While one doctor may want you to really be on the bed taking rest, others may just want you to wind down on the strenuous activities.

Today, we shall discuss about bed rest and what it actually means. We shall take a look at the conditions that warrant a bed rest. Towards the end, we will give out a few tips that will help you cope with the restrictions that come with bed rest during pregnancy.

What Does Bed Rest Mean?

Bed rest is basically the restrictions applied on you during pregnancy from performing activities that you would normally be able to do. Most doctors will advise you short stretches of lying down and then walking around for a few minutes.

A couple of decades earlier, pregnant women had to be in the bed for most of their pregnancy if bed rest had been advised. But today, the doctors prefer to have the pregnant women as active as their condition would let them be.

This not only contributes to their physical well-being, but also is a great practice to keep them mentally fit.

Conditions that require bed rest during pregnancy are,

Preeclampsia

This condition is also called toxemia. The most common symptom is high blood pressure. Other signs are the presence of protein in the urine and the swelling up of the hands, feet and the face. Bed rest is advised to the mother suffering from preeclampsia if the case is very serious and is kept under regular monitoring.

Problems with the cervix

If the mother-to-be has a cervical effacement (softening, shortening and thinning of the cervix) or an incompetent cervix (opening up of cervix before the time for birth), the doctor will advise bed rest.

Bleeding

Bleeding during pregnancy can be a sign of abruption placenta or placenta pervia. If this happens in the first three months, you may have a miscarriage. If it is noticed in the other two trimesters, you will be asked to be on bed rest.

Premature labour

Premature labour or preterm labour are more common than you think. If you are in the risk category for preterm labour, you will be put on bed rest.

Carrying multiple babies

If you are going to be the mother of twins or multiple babies, you may be asked to be on bed rest. This is to prevent any possible complication or premature birth.

If you have a history of complications

If you have had a baby previously and had to undergo complications like miscarriages, still birth and premature births, you will be asked to have bed rest as a precaution.

Gestational diabetes

Pregnant women who have gestational diabetes will be put on bed rest. With a combination of good diet and rest, they can have an uneventful child birth.

Placenta pervia

This is a condition where the placenta is attached to the lower part of the uterus in a way that it blocks the cervix and the way for natural birth. In this case, women are to be in bed rest to prevent strain on the placenta till the child is ready for birth.

Less amniotic fluid

In certain cases, the levels of amniotic fluid in the womb go down. This can be fatal to your baby, as the amniotic fluid is the only way that your baby is protected and can move. In such a case, you will need to be on bed rest.

Weak foetus

If your baby is weak and underdeveloped, the doctor will ask you to consume more nutritious food and to be on bed rest.

The Risks Of Bed Rest

Being on bed rest comes with its own set of risks and complications. It usually is prescribed because the risks of bed rest far surpass that of the pregnancy itself. Often, the risks increase as you follow a strict bed rest. The various risks that you may have to face with bed rest are:

  • Blood clots
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Problems regarding finance if you take time off of work.
  • The newborn having a low birth weight
  • Slow post-natal recovery
  • Weak muscles and bones

Questions You May Ask Your Doctor

Bed rest and the risks that come with it are very much dependent on the particular pregnancy and the pregnant woman. We cannot predict what to expect with your particular pregnancy if you are on a bed rest. Make sure to talk to your doctor about any doubts you may have. Some questions you may need to ask are as follows:

  • What position should you lie in?
  • Are you restricted from lifting heavy objects?
  • Should you abstain from sex?
  • Can you go to work?
  • Are household chores fine to do?
  • How to take care of any children you may already have?
  • Should you be in the bed all the time?
  • Is it okay to use the bathroom and shower?
  • How long is the bed rest?
  • How many hours of rest should you get at a time?

Tips To Deal With The Bed Rest

Bed rest can be hard on you, both mentally and physically. Use the following tips when on bed rest while pregnant to be physically healthy and mentally sharp.

Learn new things

you can use the time in bed rest to acquire new skills. Take up a correspondence course or learn a new language online. Use sites like you tube to learn skills like playing an instrument or knitting and such.

Exercise

Even while in the bed, you can do some exercises. Ask your doctor to tell you simple and safe exercises that you can do from the comfort of your bed.

Keep a schedule

You may not have much to do when on a bed rest. But you must still keep a schedule. This is for your sanity as much as for the people who are around to help you. Add things like waking up, breakfast, dressing up, watching a picture and reading as activities on your schedule.

Get help

It might be hard but by asking for help you are not only helping yourself but also are making sure that your baby is healthy. Take any help offered and ask for more if required.

Eat good, nutritious food

You should eat good food during a bed rest. You should avoid junk food no matter how much you crave for it. A balanced diet will help you be healthy and will avoid unnecessary weight gain. It will also prevent constipation.

Talk to people

Bed rest does not mean that you isolate yourself from the world. If you keep to yourself, you are only risking the development of depression. Talk to someone about your fears and doubts. It can be your spouse, friends, parents or a doctor.

Try to keep yourself happy

Do things that you enjoy, meet people you like. Watch comedies and good movies. Read interesting books. Choose activities that lift your spirits. Being happy is important for the well-being of both the baby and yourself.

Read more about: pregnancy prenatal
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