6 Tips for Surviving Bed Rest During Pregnancy

Image adapted via Flickr/ jafsegal

When you hear the term “bed rest” your first thought is probably “Wow, laying in bed as a doctor orders sounds awesome,” but the reality of it is usually far different. For women in pregnancy, bed rest is a fight for their child and usually far less glamorous than we all think. Bed rest can be prescribed to aid the health of the mother or baby and some reasons, according to the American Pregnancy Association, may include: high blood pressure, multiples, vaginal bleeding, poor fetal growth, and other issues as well. Some women are on very strict rest where they're only allowed to be upright for a few minutes a day while other women may be allowed a little more mobility and freedom. Some are hospital-bound, while others make their home the bed rest zone, but it can be a difficult time whatever the circumstance.

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I was only placed on bed rest for a short time during each of my pregnancies and it was still challenging for me. Due to my history of miscarriage and vaginal bleeding, I spent some time on “modified bed rest” during the early parts of my pregnancy. I was still allowed to be up and moving, but I was restricted to pelvic rest, no heavy lifting, and to rest with my feet up for as much of the day as I could. It was not that difficult during my first pregnancy, but when I had other children to care for and a house that I felt needed to be in spotless order, the bed rest became more difficult.

If you find yourself being recommended bed rest during your pregnancy, you're likely being flooded with a million questions and wondering just how it's going to be for you. Whatever the reason for your bed rest, and how ever restricted you will be, there are some ways to help make both the time and boredom pass while doing what you can to help keep you and your baby safe during pregnancy.

I asked women who have been through bed rest during pregnancy — for various reasons and some more restricted than others — how they coped during their pregnancy. Their answers may prove to be helpful for you if you're faced with bed rest orders from your doctor.

Image via Flickr/ karine*imagine

Rachel Rosenthal Strisik, founder of Organizing Guru, was placed on bed rest due to early contractions when she was about 20 weeks pregnant with her twins. She was told she could either make it work at home or she'd have to be admitted to the hospital. Her advice on how to cope with the bed rest is to make things fun, saying “I tried to do fun activities that used my brain vs. watching television — like crafting, writing cards to friends, and doing things that did take time because I knew I wouldn't have this luxury when they arrived.”

Image via Flickr/ Reinis Traidas

Mary Connor, Owner and designer of Capturing Magical Memories, started her bed rest orders at 23 weeks pregnant when she went into premature labor. Her advice for others facing bed rest is to change up your venue, even when you're stuck at home: “You can't spend your time looking at the same four walls. Have a secondary location set up in your house so that you can move from time to time.”


Image via Flickr/ DIBP Images

Nicole Neal, mom to 21 month old Audrey Harmony, was placed on bed rest at home when she was diagnosed with Vasa Previa at 23 weeks, and was eventually placed on hospital-supervised bed rest at 30 weeks. She passed the time at home on rest by working from home, but when she was admitted to the hospital she turned to things like meditation, pet visits, and lots of family and friend support. Another important tip Nicole has to share is to seek help from the professionals, “I cannot stress enough how important it is to remain open to, and receptive of social services and programs that hospitals offer.”

Image via Flickr/ danoxster

Jennifer Harrison, from Folsom CA, was placed on bed rest during her pregnancy and remained on rest orders for 7 weeks. Her advice on how to cope through bed rest in pregnancy is “to set a schedule for how your day operates. Otherwise you go crazy waiting for the moments to pass by.” She also stressed to be careful how you're sitting and laying so you don't get a pinched nerves or neck cramps, both which affected her.

Image via Flickr/ flash.pro

Moschel Kadokura, from TimelyMatters.com, was placed on bed rest for 4 months during her triplet pregnancy and she said for the most part she loved being on bed rest: “The high risk pregnancy was no fun, but given medical orders to stay off my feet and watch TV all day was heaven! So I think the number one tip is to have the right frame of mind; for me, doing what I had to do to deliver healthy babies.”

Image via Flickr/ Daquella manera

Harmony Evans, author and single mother, started her bed rest orders when her water broke prematurely at 19 weeks pregnant. She spent 7 weeks on hospital-supervised bed rest and delivered her baby at 26 weeks pregnant. Her advice for coping during bed rest is to “do whatever you can to stay excited about your baby. My mother or the nurses would bring me parenting books to keep me motivated. Read books and talk to your unborn child. I am convinced that the close relationship with my now 13-year old daughter started right there while I was lying in the hospital bed, talking, singing and reading to her. ”

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Whatever the reason for your bed rest, you may love the down time or you may be stressed out about the health of your pregnancy or your baby. Keeping positive and using some simple tools to help pass the time can make a real difference in your experience.


:: Do you have any tips on coping with bed rest to share? Let us know in the comments! ::

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6 Tips for Surviving Bed Rest During Pregnancy

Devan McGuinness is the founder of the online resource Unspoken Grief, which is dedicated to breaking the silence of perinatal grief for those directly and indirectly affected by miscarriage, stillbirth and neonatal death. Using her own experience of surviving 12 miscarriages, Devan has been actively supporting and encouraging others who are wading through the challenges associated with perinatal and neonatal loss. Winner of the 2012 Bloganthropy Award and named one of Babble's “25 bloggers wh ... More

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