Why Doctors Are Now Calling Bed Rest “Unethical”
If you've ever experienced any complications during your pregnancy, you may be familiar with the age-old doctor's advice to tuck you and your baby bump straight into the safety of bed rest.
When it comes to protecting your most precious cargo, bed rest just seems to make sense, doesn't it? Sure, it may be a little controversial and, sure, doctors can't say for sure that it will help ensure that a baby makes it longer to full term, but what mother would be out running errands and lifting heavy objects and doing all sorts of other daily activities that seem like they could harm her baby if a doctor tells her not to?
Staying in bed, resting, and avoiding undue stress for the baby's sake just seems safer.
But a doctor who has been an OB specialist for over 20 years says that not only is bed rest not helpful, it can actually be harmful.
Maternal-fetal medicine specialist Anthony J. Sciscione said that bed rest, contrary to what any common sense would tell us, actually does more harm to a pregnant woman and her baby than any kind of normal, daily activity could cause.
He cites study after study that have proven that bed rest does not in any way prevent premature birth, which is why doctors prescribe it in the first place. But not only does it not stop premature birth, but it also can lead to blood clots in a mother who lies in bed for long periods at a time, bring about unnecessary weight gain that adds stress to the mother's and baby's bodies, as well as kick start muscle loss and weakness.
Babies who are born to moms on bed rest also frequently have lower birth weights, and mothers on bed rest also have higher incidences of postpartum depression. And then there's everything from the emotional and financial impact, not to mention the fact that one study even found that bed rest actually coincided with an increased incidence of premature labor.
With all the complications that bed rest can cause–with literally not a shred of evidence that it can be helpful at all to prevent premature labor–it's really no surprise that one doctor called bed rest “unethical.”
What is surprising, however, is the fact that even with all the evidence that proves bed rest does more harm than good and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommendation not to prescribe bed rest, doctors still use it–even though the majority of them know it doesn't work.
Doctors who want to help women and their babies may feel helpless in the face of fighting premature labor because there aren't a lot of options or answers when it comes to why so many babies are born prematurely. Bed rest is something that doctors feel they can “prescribe,” and mothers feel like it's something they can “do” to try to help in what feels like a pretty helpless situation.
Of course, it's understandable why mothers and their doctors would look for a course of action to prevent premature labor, but when it comes to bed rest, know the facts before you resign yourself to weeks in bed–for both your and your baby's sake.
Did you go on bed rest? Why or why not?