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Does Bed Rest During Pregnancy Really Help?

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Tips for Getting Through Bed Rest

If you and your doctor agree that you should give bed rest a try, ask more questions. The term "bed rest" is vague. You need to know exactly what your doctor expects. Ask questions like:

  • How long will I need bed rest?
  • Do I have to stay in bed all the time? Can I go to work?
  • Can I get up to shower or use the bathroom?
  • Can I do normal household chores and take care of my other kids?
  • Should I avoid lifting anything heavy?
  • Should I lie on one side or stay in a certain position?
  • Is sexual activity OK? If so, what kinds and how much?

Bed rest can be tough, physically and mentally. It's boring and stressful. You need to focus on making it as bearable as you can. These tips may help:

Schedule your day. Staying on schedule will break up the day and fight boredom. Get dressed in the morning. Keep a to-do list and plan activities for the day, such a reading, watching a movie, or doing word games. 

Do the exercises your doctor recommends. You need to keep up your muscle strength. Moving your legs will lower the risk of blood clots.

Have a support system. You need the help of family and friends to get through this. Have visitors. Keep in touch by phone, email, and text.

Eat well. Aim for a well-balanced diet with lots of fiber, and drink plenty of water. You'll lower the risk of constipation.

Let people help. It may be hard to ask for help, but you must. If friends or family members ask how they can help, offer specifics. Have them pick up groceries or take your turn in carpool.

Learn something new.  Start learning a new language, take a correspondence class, or watch YouTube videos on how to draw.

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD, FACOG on February 02, 2013
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