Bed Rest During Pregnancy
What to Expect When You're on Bed Rest continued...
Sometimes, doctors recommend modified bed rest. This means you should spend most of your time lying or sitting up on the couch or bed, but you should not exercise, lift, or have sexual intercourse. At other times, doctors may restrict almost all activity, telling a patient to sit up only for meals or stand for quick showers. Sometimes doctors prescribe bed rest with close monitoring in the hospital.
It's important to know how much -- and what -- you should or should not do during bed rest. Following are some questions you should ask your doctor:
- Can you get up to use the bathroom?
- How long is bed rest required?
- Must you stay in bed all the time or can you move around the house if necessary?
- Is it OK to work from home?
- Is it OK to do light chores?
- How can you take care of your children?
- Can you take baths or showers? Should you lie on one side or stay in a certain position?
- Is sexual activity OK? If so, what kinds and how much?
Bed Rest Complications
Although your doctor may prescribe bed rest for pregnancy complications, restricting activity may itself lead to problems. Here are some of the more common ones:
- Muscle and joint pain
- Blood clots in the deep veins of the legs
- Back pain
- Muscle weakness and a lack of energy
It's important to exercise your leg muscles to keep blood moving when you're on bed rest. Your doctor can recommend some safe exercises to practice in bed.
There are also things you can do to manage other complications of bed rest. For example, eating a well-balanced diet can help prevent constipation. If constipation becomes a problem, your doctor may recommend a laxative or stool softener. A physical therapist or massage therapist may be able to help you deal with musculoskeletal pain or weakness. Be sure to check with your health care provider before taking any medication or undergoing any therapy.
How to Cope With Bed Rest During Pregnancy
The prospect of bed rest may sound like a welcome reprieve from your busy life at first, but if it lasts long, you can feel isolated, frustrated, and bored. Fortunately, there are things you can do to make your days, weeks, or months of bed rest more pleasant and productive.
Stay on schedule. Days and nights can easily run together if you spend both in bed. Make it a point to maintain some type of schedule. Get dressed in the morning. Keep a to-do list and plan "activities" for the day, such as calling a few friends, scheduling a doctor's appointment, or ordering baby items online.
Read up. Catch up on reading -- something you won't likely have time for once the baby comes. Good picks include parenting books, magazines, and web sites; baby name books; newspapers; magazines; novels; or even children's books that you may want to read to your little one later.