Bed rest during pregnancy
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.
Why Do I Need Bed Rest?
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:
- High blood pressure
- Premature or preterm changes in the cervix
- Problems with the placenta
- Vaginal bleeding
- Early labor
- More than one baby
- History of early birth or miscarriage
- Your baby is not growing well
- Your baby has medical problems
Bed rest does not guarantee that problems with your pregnancy will get better. It is just a safeguard.
What Is the Best Position for Bed Rest?
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.
How Can I Deal with Discomfort from Bed Rest?
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:
- Squeezing stress balls
- Pressing your hands and feet against the bed
- Turning your arms and feet in circles·
- Tensing or tightening your arm and leg muscles
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.
What You Can or Cannot Do 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:
- Any activity that strains your body
Ask Your Doctor
If you should limit yourself from doing any of these:
- Light chores·
- Bathing or showering
- Having sex
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.
How to Cope with Bed Rest
Remember that each day of bed rest brings you one day closer to the birth. In the meantime, try to:
- Get organized. Make sure what you need is within reach -- like a phone, laptop, drinks and snacks, the remote control, and extra pillows and blankets.
- Beat boredom.This is a great time to focus on the baby. Shop online for baby goods. Knit a baby sweater. Ready baby books or watch baby programs on TV. Do things to keep your mind busy.
- Accept help.When friends and loved ones ask what they can do, put them to work -- mowing the lawn, cleaning the bathroom, or keeping you company.
- Seek support. Connect with other moms who know what you are going through. Talk to friends who have been in your shoes. Check for support groups, bulletin boards, and chat rooms online for moms-to-be on bed rest.
- Expect emotional ups and downs. Share your hopes and worries with your partner. Let each other vent if needed. If sex isn't allowed, look for other ways to show your love. Take time to kiss, hug, and cuddle.
The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. ©1997-2014 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Sign Up for Free Newsletters
Ask Your Doctor the RIGHT Questions!
the most from your doctor visit.
Emailed right to you!
The Ask Your Doctor email series
may contain sponsored content.
18+, US residents only please.
Explore Original Articles About...
Get the MOST from QualityHealth
- Top Searches
- 1. Arthritis Management: Nature Heals
- 2. 5 Digestive To-Dos
- 3. Men: Should You Shave It or Leave It?
- 4. Today's Top Fitness Trends
- 5. Sugar and Osteoarthritis : The Link
- 6. Can't Afford Your Hospital Bills?
- 7. Stay Energized All Day Long
- 8. Phobias: Who Has Them and Why?
- 9. What If Your EpiPen Fails?
- 10. 5 Costly Medical Billing Mistakes
- 1. Ice Falls Can Cause Serious Injuries
- 2. Can Inactivity Act Like a Disease?
- 3. Kale Snack Recipe for Diabetics
- 4. How Running Affects Arthritis
- 5. Sugar and Your Immunity System
- 6. Do Weight Loss Supplements Work?
- 7. 5 Super Foods for Spring
- 8. The Hazards of Reusable Bags
- 9. How to Avoid Ingrown Hairs
- 10. Health Tip: Constantly Change Shoes
- 1. 4 Common Treatments for Epilepsy
- 2. What Does a Urogynecologist Do?
- 3. GERD Without Heartburn? It's Possible
- 4. Graston Technique: Can It Work on You?
- 5. Music Therapy Can Help Autism
- 6. 8 Ways to Fight MS-Related Fatigue
- 7. Can You Still Bleed After Menopause?
- 8. Be Your Own Health Care Advocate
- 9. Why Is Syphillis on the Rise?
- 10. Ideal Weight vs. Happy Weight
The material on the QualityHealth Web site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a physician or other qualified health provider. See additional information.