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Bed Rest for Preterm Labor - Topic Overview

Expectant management is the close monitoring of a pregnancy for complications. It may involve some bed rest at home or in the hospital. Being on expectant management may mean you are advised to stop working, reduce your activity level, or possibly spend a lot of time resting (partial bed rest).

There is no evidence that long-term bed rest lowers the risk of preterm delivery.1 Studies have shown that strict bed rest for 3 days or more may raise your risk of getting a blood clot in the legs or lungs.2 Strict bed rest is no longer used to prevent preterm labor. But your doctor may recommend expectant management with some bed rest (partial bed rest).

If you are prescribed partial bed rest

If your doctor or nurse-midwife suggests expectant management for preventing preterm labor, discuss the benefits and risks in light of your condition.

When you are resting or sleeping during late pregnancy, try to lie on your side. This is thought to improve blood flow to the uterus and fetus(es).

Dehydration can trigger contractions, so be sure to drink plenty of fluids each day.

When you are lying down, remember to flex your feet, stretch, and move your legs as much as possible.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: January 08, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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