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StorkNet's Week By Week Guide to Pregnancy

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Personal Issues

Preparing your bedresting area

I had everything close by that I would need during the day. A TV and remote, the laptop, phone, books, magazines, snacks and drinks etc. Pretty flowers and plants helped to liven up the room. ~SpringsGal

I had a laptop, TV, stereo, and lots of good books by the bed. I really didn't watch TV as it made the day drag by. But I did do a lot of cross stitch (I don't do it at all normally) to pass the time and gave the things I made away as Christmas presents. ~Julie

When I had to stay on bedrest because of bleeding, I had my husband bring the computer to the living room and I set it on the coffee table. This way, I could lay down while using it. I did this while soap operas were on. My day consisted of good morning TV shows, breakfast lunch, then using my computer and reading my book. Then my husband would come home and make dinner, and we'd watch primetime TV at night. Luckily, I only had to get bedrest for a week. By the end of the week, the morning TV shows were getting a little repetitive and I mostly read my book. ~ Michele

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Suggestions for staying comfortable

Get an egg-carton type foam mattress to reduce stiffness and soreness. Now's a better time than ever to invest in a good mattress. ~Julie

Pillows! Lots and lots of pillows. Prop them all around yourself for ultimate comfort . . . under your knees, behind your neck, under your lower back, or on the side for you to toss your leg over. Stretching often is extremely important too. Massage is another fantastic comfort. Have your partner or one of your children give you a nice massage. Make sure to have a top sheet and depending on the time of year and climate you live in, have 1-2 blankets and a comforter handy. In the summer, consider ventilation and air conditioning. I found a terrific way to make the transition of getting into and out of the bed easier. If you happen to own one of those step aerobic steps, have your husband place it next to your bed. It makes it so much easier to climb in and out. Plus it's nice and wide (also extremely stable), so there's less chance of stepping off of it or onto it wrong. ~Vicki

Invest in a body pillow or two. They really help you stay comfortable. Light stretching, if permitted, helps to relieve joint pain. Soup cans are great for arm curls while watching TV. ~Jacki

Get an eggcrate mattress for your bed; a heating pad does wonders for sore joints and muscles. ~Melisa

One thing I found to be very handy was to have a 1 liter resealable drink bottle of water in or near the bed. I could fill it up on my foray out to the restroom, it was easy to drink from without spilling, and by being resealable, the cats (or me) couldn't knock it over or make a mess. Very handy! ~Wendy, oz's mommy

Boredom and how to fix it

Get your hands on a laptop computer and manage some way to connect to the Internet! Besides being one of the very best forms of entertainment for someone on bedrest, you can keep up on local/world/entertainment events, do research and frequent StorkNet's message boards! If you enjoy the company of your pets, allow them into your room or even up on your bed. It makes for a nice distraction for you and besides, they'll love you for it! ~Vicki

A laptop is wonderful - you can surf the net for hours and work from home if needed. I actually wrote a business and marketing plan for a company that I am starting that I had time to dream up while on bedrest with my twins! ~Susie

Use this time to create a family web site or a future one for the baby. ~Lara

Keep a phone book, church directory, or address book by your bedside and of course a phone. This is a great time to use to encourage others who are sick or just down. It takes the focus off of me and helps me to be a comfort to someone else. ~Michelle

Have all your hobbies handy. Start some new hobbies! ('While on bedrest, I cross-stitched a bunch of bibs and hand towels for the baby. I also learned to crochet and made three blankies.') Things to have handy: letter writing supplies, manicure tools, TV remote, deck of cards, board games, magazines, books, crosswords, photo albums that need work, newspaper, catalogs, scrapbooking, knitting, crocheting, quilting, cross-stitch, etc. Redo your phone book! ~submitted by several StorkNet members

I suggest one of those lap desks that have a hard writing surface but are filled with small styrofoam pellets and conform to your lap. Very helpful! Also, I gave my husband a big list of funny movies that he could rent from the video store, and he kept the list in his wallet so that he could refer to it each time he went to get movies for me. ~Jen

I played video games! I also brought all of my son's books into my room so he could come up onto the bed for stories. ~Cheri

Move the computer desk beside the bed! You can surf the net, purchase baby items online, play games and combat boredom. Start a diary for the baby. It's great to look back and read all that was going on. ~Jacki

Join an online support group such as Sidelines; express your fears to your practitioner; read everything you can about your condition and pregnancy; plan on hospitalization sometime during your time in bed. It is easier to accept if you have thought about it as well as planning childcare for your older children; set goals for yourself. ex: 25, 28, 30, 32, 34 weeks and so on; read the StorkNet pregnancy journals. Cry. Cry as often as you need, you'll feel better. ~Melisa

Work on a project that you enjoy while on bedrest. It will give you a sense of accomplishment. ~Bethany

I worked on all my thank you notes for baby gifts and caught up on other correspondence. ~Colleen

I played Sony Playstation (games like Tetris that are easy and addicting). I could lay on the couch on my side (as doctor prescribed) and do something besides watching soaps all day. ~Tonya

I found it a great time to learn Spanish. I used the cassette tapes with book, put on my Walkman, and learned to speak basic Spanish, which helps me with my job. It also kept me from pulling my hair out . . . there is only so much TV you can watch! ~Traci "TeeSay"

I caught up on letter writing, finished college assignments, watched films I had promised myself I'd see, did photo collages and things like that - plus my job sent me work to do at home. ~Jo

My husband, a computer geek, said that if I was ever put on bedrest, he would rig up the computer where I could use it from the bed, perhaps even projecting the screen on the ceiling. I think this would really help me stay connected with friends, shopping for baby, and keeping up with the outside world. ~Ursula

We finally have the time to master the art of making web pages especially for when the baby arrives! It could be Front Page, Dreamweaver or even Macromedia Flash! The real heavy duty stuff! How about sharpening up the skills on how to optimize those baby pics for fast internet uploading using Paint Shop Pro, PhotoShop or whatever software we have handy! ~Irina

I was on bedrest the last six weeks of my pregnancy and I'd have to say the best thing I did was make a daily schedule for myself. I allowed a certain amount of time for TV, for phone calls, and email. That way I always had something to look forward to. Also, don't expect to have a lot of energy because you are laying around all day. It is really draining. Don't overbook yourself with social visits, etc. Plan one or two a week and they will really be something to get excited about! ~Elizabeth

Invite your sisters or girlfriends over to be on bedrest with you for a day, or even a few hours. They can bring snacks, movies, games, and you can all lay around indulging in girl talk and hair and makeup sessions. It'll feel more like a slumber party than bedrest! ~Scotti

I am a college student on bedrest, so I decided that I could do both, I take online classes to keep me busy. I had my husband push the bed up against the computer desk and I do all my work right there. TV helps to pass the time, but the computer and studying helps much more. ~Heather

Personal hygiene and feeling good about yourself

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If you're lucky enough to have shower privileges have someone bring you some scented soap such as The Body Shop's Satsuma soap. A lifting fragrance can go a long way. ~Jenine

You can wash your hair by scooting your head off the top of the bed and have someone use a water jug to wash your hair. Use the garbage can to catch the water. ~GLooney

See if your regular hairdresser will make a housecall, even if to just give you a wet-cut. Mine did this, and it was WONDERFUL! Made me feel like a real person, and she cut it in a style that looked good even without me doing much to it. ~Suzanne

Stay fresh by keeping a clean, wet washcloth and a pack of handi wipes nearby. ~Ann

Shower everyday if you can, do your make up and hair in bed and put on a comfortable outfit. MAKE your bed and lay on top of the comforter rather than under the covers. Open your blinds; let the sun in! ~Susie

Getting into regular clothes and out of PJ's goes a long way towards helping you feel like a normal person. It is so easy to get depressed when on bedrest, and staying in pajamas all day seemed to make the depression worse for me. ~Jen

Get dressed and put on make-up everyday! Paint your toenails; spend SPECIAL time with your spouse. Intimacy does not have to mean sex. ~Melisa

Turn down the covers everyday and if you're allowed, get a shower and get dressed, even if you're laying down the rest of the day. It does wonders for your self esteem. ~Julie

Maintaining intimacy with your partner

Take the opportunity to do special things for your husband. I made homemade cards for him, something that I wish I had time to do now! ~Julie

From our interview with Anne Semans & Cathy Winks, authors of The Mother's Guide to Sex:

Question: I'm on complete bedrest with my pregnancy, and my husband and I aren't allowed to have sex. I'm not allowed to have any kind of orgasm so we've pretty much stayed away from each other. How can we stay connected through the rest of this pregnancy?

Anne: Well, after all that abstaining, just think about how great your first orgasm will be! But on to your question. You and your husband can stay connected through a variety of intimate contact. It's not always about the physical--showing each other how much you love each other can be done in thousands of way, kind words, love letters, thoughtful gestures, spontaneous getaways, special meals, little treats, you get the idea. As for the physical, only you know how close you can be without feeling a sexual urge--so experiment with that, perhaps its just holding hands during a movie, sleeping spoon style, etc. It may feel like a restriction, but this can present you with some great opportunities to connect on a deeper level.

Click here to read more of the interview and book.

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