Is Bed Rest Prescribed is Mandatory?
You are expecting, so what seems like the next logical step? Curling up and taking it easy, right? But doctors often prescribe bed rest for high-risk pregnancies because they are unsure what causes problems. Bed rest during pregnancy is controversial. But there are some situations where it may be necessary. For example, bed rest might be suggested for serious complications like high blood pressure, preterm labor, and certain kinds of vaginal bleeding. Here is what to know about why it is recommended and how to manage it.
The problem with bed rest is that there is no proof it lowers the risk of preterm birth or pregnancy complications. But despite that, up to 1 out of 5 pregnant women is on restricted activity or bed rest at some point during her pregnancy. Many doctors believe that lying down — not sitting all day in an office chair — helps lower your blood pressure and reduces blood flow to your legs, which may prevent varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis (blood clots).
Bed rest during pregnancy is often prescribed for a wide range of reasons, even though it can be harmful to both mom and baby. It does not appear to relieve healthy pregnancy problems such as back pain, high blood pressure, or spotting. But it does cause other problems for both mother and child.
Some doctors prescribe bed rest during pregnancy because they may feel it is harmless. Or they might think it will help ease some of a woman’s pregnancy problems. However, studies have found that bed rest poses real risks, like depression, deconditioning, and blood clots in the legs or lungs. Studies also show that bed rest has not worked to prevent preterm birth.
Lying down for days and weeks at a time can be tough on your physical, mental, and emotional state. While bed rest is part of your doctor’s plan to help keep you and your baby healthy, it can take a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Information is crucial during this period. Learn how to prepare for it and how to cope while you are confined by reading up on the experiences of other women who have done it — or are doing it now.
When you are pregnant, it is important to get proper rest and eat a healthy diet. But studies suggest that pregnant women are better off continuing their normal routine rather than going on bed rest. There’s evidence that physical activity during pregnancy lowers the risk of complications like low birth weight.
What to do if My Doctor Prescribes Bed Rest?
Before accepting a bed rest prescription, ask for your doctor’s reasoning. Request a clear list of restrictions. If the test results are less than definitive or there is a risk that bed rest could cause more harm than good, find out what else you can do to promote your health and reduce the chances of premature labor.
Suggestions for Getting Through Bed Rest
Bed rest due to pregnancy complications can compound the misery of morning sickness, back pain, and anxiety. But if you are willing to do what it takes, you will be rewarded with a healthy baby. Getting through bed rest is easier if you keep in mind that your goal is a happy ending.
Bed rest during pregnancy is often prescribed to prevent preterm labor or for other complications. Here is what you need to know about it, whether your doctor puts you on bed rest because of spotting, bleeding, cramping, a progressive condition such as preterm contractions in your uterus (called uterine irritability), or another medical reason, it can be frustrating and inconvenient. These tips can help you get through it.
Get help at home- When you cannot cook or clean, your well-meaning partner or friends may jump in to do it for you. Try to use this as an opportunity to let others help and let go of feeling like you must control everything.
Schedule your daily routine- If you are on bed rest, the weeks or months can seem to stretch out endlessly. Staying on schedule will help keep you from feeling bored or depressed. Set an alarm clock to get up every day and get dressed in your regular clothes. Do not spend the entire day in bed; carry a small stool into the kitchen or bathroom to use instead of getting out of bed. Have family members read magazines or watch TV in another room so you do not feel left out of family activities. This will break up the day and fight boredom.
Do your daily exercises which your doctor recommends- For some moms-to-be, pregnancy can mean plenty of rest. But for others, pregnancy might mean staying on strict bed rest at home or in the hospital. Bed rest can be hard to handle whether it is just taking a break from work or avoiding all activity while you are pregnant.
Have a support system along with you– When bed rest is ordered for a pregnancy, it can be stressful for the mom-to-be and her family. Mom needs support from her spouse, family, and friends. She also needs to take care of herself by making sure she is as comfortable as possible.
Eat a proper meal- Staying hydrated and eating well are key when you are on bed rest. Aim for a balanced diet with lots of fiber to help you avoid constipation, and drink plenty of water.
Learn new every day- Downtime can be the perfect time to learn something new. Start learning a new language, take an embroidery class, learn how to draw; the possibilities are endless!
Does bed rest prolong pregnancy?
Bed rest is prescribed to pregnant women who experience what are considered high-risk pregnancies. Many healthcare professionals disagree on the benefits of bed rest during pregnancy and whether or not it increases the chances of a successful full-term pregnancy. However, due to the lack of solid research either for or against bed rest, many healthcare providers believe it is worth trying.
Basic Understanding of the side effects
Pregnancy comes with a long list of “don’ts.” Unfortunately, the risks of bed rest can overshadow its benefits. Learn more about the side effects of being on bed rest during pregnancy.
- Preventing blood clots is important during bed rest because there is an increased risk of clots during pregnancy.
- Bone demineralization is the medical term that means you lose bone mass and bone strength. Bone demineralization is most likely to occur in women who are already at risk for osteoporosis.
- Pregnant women who are put on bed rest often have mechanical backaches, muscle weakness and blood clots. Pregnant women who spend significant time in bed do not get enough exercise, which can lead to heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic medical conditions later in life.
- Discuss any concerns you have with your care provider. You may want to write down your concerns ahead of time. For example, if you are worried about money or losing your job, ask about state disability benefits and other resources that may be available. Also, emphasize the importance of getting back to work as soon as possible when pregnancy requires bed rest.
- Bed rest during pregnancy can be a good thing, but it can also create health risks, including to the unborn baby. Bed rest during pregnancy, particularly if you have bed rest orders all day long and every day, can get old fast.
Bed rest during pregnancy seems logical. Lie in bed, and your baby gets more nourishment, and you avoid fall risk. Ask your health care provider to discuss the reasons for his or her recommendation of bed rest to help you understand the risks and benefits.
A quick Call to Your Doctor If:
- You have fluid leaking from your vagina. This could mean your water has broken early. Talk to your doctor about putting your feet up occasionally, especially at the end of the day. This can help reduce swelling in your legs and prevent varicose veins.
- You cannot urinate or feel a strong, sudden urge to urinate.
- You feel short of breath or have chest pain. This could mean a blood clot has broken loose and lodged in your lung.
- Feeling short of breath or having chest pains while bed rest probably means that a blood clot has broken loose and lodged in your lung. Call your doctor immediately to get treated.
- You should call your doctor during normal office hours with any questions or concerns. If you notice contractions, fluid leakage or other signs of labor, call your doctor immediately
- Blood pressure readings have two numbers. If one or both of these numbers is higher than what your doctor says it is okay, call your doctor or midwife.
- If you do not feel your baby move as much as before, contact your doctor or midwife immediately. While it is normal for the number of fetal movements to vary throughout the day, a decrease in the number of kicks that you normally feel could indicate a problem.
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