Your doctor’s orders to stay in bed for a few days or weeks might seem like a welcome break. But you will find that bed rest during pregnancy can be as much work as it is a break.
You might not be able to work, do things around the house, or spend time with other family members the way you normally do. If you're on complete bed rest during pregnancy, you might not even be able to shower or eat when sitting up.
Bed rest means you will need to quickly adjust to doing things differently. You will need to find ways to pass the time and ask for help with all of the things that you normally do.
Your health care provider may order bed rest to help you continue with a healthy pregnancy. If you have any of these problems, you may need bed rest:
Bed rest does not guarantee that problems with your pregnancy will get better. It is just a safeguard.
The best position for bed rest is on your side, with the left side being preferred and the right side as an alternative when the left gets sore. It helps to rest with your knees or hips bent. You may want to use a pillow between your knees to relieve stress on your back.
Bed rest can make your body ache. Switching from side to side every so often will help move your muscles and relieve pressure.
Movement and activity will also help keep your blood flowing. Here are some exercises that may help. Talk to your health care provider before you start any activity:
Try not to use your belly muscles if you are stretching or exercising. Keep in mind that you should talk to your doctor before you do any stretching or exercising while on bed rest.
The dos and don’ts during bed rest will depend on your situation. Most often, bed rest will require that you avoid:
If you should limit yourself from doing any of these:
If you will be on bed rest for a long time, you will need to get enough movement each day to keep your blood circulating. Talk to your doctor about safe activity you can do while on bed rest.
Remember that each day of bed rest brings you one day closer to the birth. In the meantime, try to:
Updated by: Susan Storck, MD, FACOG, Chief, Eastside Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound, Bellevue, Washington; Clinical Teaching Faculty, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.
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