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Does Bed Rest During Pregnancy Really Help?

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What Should I Do if My Doctor Prescribes Bed Rest? continued...

Things to ask your doctor include:

  • Why are you recommending bed rest?
  • How do you define bed rest? Lying in bed all day? Occasional breaks?
  • Is bed rest really necessary? Are there other options?
  • What are the specific benefits my baby and I will get from bed rest?
  • Do those benefits outweigh the risks?
  • What do the medical studies show?
  • What are some potential problems from bed rest? For my baby? For me?
  • Is there a maternal-fetal medicine specialist we could talk with?

If you have concerns afterward, get a second opinion or talk to a specialist. Your doctor should give you a clear reason for bed rest.

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.

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