Pregnancy Bed Rest: Your Survival Guide
Coping with Bed Rest
Bed rest can be frustrating and scary—and what may begin with a sense of relief can soon turn into a reason for any pregnant woman to become stir crazy. Dr. McCloskey (who was on bed rest with three pregnancies), Millikan, and other women who have experienced bed rest offer these tips on coping with the days, weeks, or months ahead:
- Develop a good relationship with your prenatal caregiver and keep in contact. Don’t hesitate to call with questions, problems, or concerns you have, or write them down and share them at your next appointment.
- Build a good support system. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from family and friends—whether it’s with housework, cooking, childcare, or if you just need someone with whom to talk. If you don’t know anyone who can help, talk with your caregiver about local services that provide assistance to women with high-risk pregnancies. Knowing that things are taken care of will help ease stress, warding off further complications.
- Additionally, you’ll want to keep in touch with others in similar situations. A community of moms-to-be who are also on bed rest will allow you to vent your frustrations to other women who can relate and provide everyone the opportunity to share tips. Look online, check the phone book, or talk with your caregiver for support groups in your area to join.
- Keep what you need nearby. If you live in a home with multiple floors, stay in a room closest to where you can still take care of reheating your meals. Use paper plates and plastic eating utensils, and if possible have a mini fridge or cooler for beverages and perishable foods, and a wastebasket in the room. If you have other family members who start the day with you before heading to work, try to get as much done with their help as possible (such as showering, grooming, or eating).
A quick way to have the necessities at your fingertips without cluttering your existing space is to set up a convenient staging area, such as an ironing board, for your things. You may want to keep the following items handy:
- Telephone and phone directory/emergency contact list
- Bottles of water, to avoid accidental spills
- Television remote
- Tissues, hand wipes, or paper towels
- Hairbrush or comb
- Toothbrush and toothpaste, mouthwash, and dental floss
- Soap and a washcloth
- Any medicines you need, including Tylenol, antacid, and your prenatal vitamins
- Reading materials or other entertainment
- Bag of forks/knives/spoons and paper plates
- Notepads or notebooks, pens or pencils
- Headband, ponytail holders, or hair clips
- Exercise elastic band
- Heavier items, such as hand weights or a laptop computer, which can be stashed under the bed or couch, a mini fridge, or even on a cooler.
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