some point in your pregnancy, your provider may prescribe bedrest.
Bedrest can be "partial", meaning you are to spend some part of
each day laying down and resting, or "complete", meaning you need
to be laying down at all times. Complete bedrest can even mean hospitalization.
is usually prescribed when your provider believes it will be of
benefit to your health or the health of your baby. Preterm labor,
incompetent cervix, hypertension, and preeclampsia are some of the
high risk pregnancy conditions that may be treated with some type
of bedrest prescription.
is Bedrest Important?
If your doctor feels that you need bedrest, it is very important
that you follow your bedrest instructions. Bedrest is a tool that
can be just as important as medication in treating certain pregnancy
conditions. Laying down removes weight and pressure from your cervix.
This can be effective in treating conditions such as incompetent
cervix and preterm labor.
Bedrest can sometimes
result in improved blood pressure and decreased swelling. Laying
down, particularly an your left side, improves blood circulation
to your heart, uterus and baby. If your baby isn't growing as expected,
your doctor may recommend bedrest to help maximize the blood flow
to your uterus.
to Manage Bedrest
A bedrest prescription usually means a major upheaval in your life.
You may have to take a leave of absence from work. If you already are
a parent, you may need to find help with childcare. Shopping, food preparation,
laundry and house cleaning may need to be done by someone else. It is
very important that you discuss the specific limitations of your activities
with your prenatal care provider. Sometimes bedrest is prescribed for
the remainder of your pregnancy, sometimes it is only for a few days or
for help is the first step in surviving bedrest. Friends, family and coworkers
are usually more than happy to be of assistance during this challenging
time. It is helpful to remember that bedrest won't last forever.
It may be possible
for you to do some gentle
exercises to maintain strength and muscle tone while confined to bed
or your couch. Each pregnancy is different, however, and so be specifically
advised by your obstetrician during any high risk pregnancy.
Set up your home
environment so that you have books, writing materials, telephone
and snacks within easy reach. This is a good time to catch up on
letters, reading or putting your photos into albums.
Healthy on Bedrest
8-10 cups, or more, of fluids every day. Staying well hydrated
helps reduce risk of preterm labor and can keep you from
becoming constipated. You should be urinating frequently
and your urine should be pale or colorless if you are well
- Eat 6-8
small meals per day. Eating smaller amounts more often can
help you feel better when you are restricted to bedrest.
When your activity is limited your stomach may not empty
as well and heartburn symptoms can be more severe if you
eat too much at one time.
- Eat foods
rich in fiber. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans,
lentils and bran cereals can help prevent constipation.
any prescribed medication or vitamin/mineral supplements.
all your prenatal care appointments. If bedrest has been
prescribed, you have a higher risk pregnancy. This means
it is even more important that you don't miss any of your
scheduled checkups or appointments for fetal monitoring