Pregnancy Bed Rest: Your Survival Guide
Stick to a daily routine to help ward off depression. Creating a schedule for yourself will give you a reason to get through one day at a time. Camp out on the couch for the day, if possible, and leave the bed for evenings. The change in scenery will help you feel less cooped up.
Remind yourself of the life growing within you—and enjoy the time you have with your baby while he or she is still inside your womb. Before you know it, you won’t be feeling those kicks inside you, and you’ll be holding a squirming infant, instead. Spend time bonding with him or her by reading aloud or playing music for baby. You may even want to keep a journal specifically for your unborn baby, letting him or her know your thoughts as you journey through this difficult stage of pregnancy.
Bond with your older children. Bed rest doesn’t mean that a bedridden mom can’t interact with her older children. In fact, periods where the children can sit with her for quiet activities, such as watching television, homeschooling, playing games, or reading, will provide the children with the attention they need and help the mother feel less isolated from her family.
Take care of yourself. Spend time meditating; read uplifting materials; continue to maintain good eating, drinking, and hygiene; give yourself pedicures or manicures; listen to music and sing if you want. These will all help boost your mood.
You’ll also want to busy yourself with activities. Why not redo your address book, draw plans of the baby’s nursery, plan menus, write lists, or pay the bills? Oddly enough, most women on bed rest are compelled to take on detail-oriented tasks and organization endeavors, and what were once mundane tasks will now help you have a sense of purpose. Enjoy the fun things you’ve not had the time to do, like shopping online, completing crosswords and puzzles, needle crafts, scrapbooking, reading, and writing.
Catch up on your rest. While that may not be a problem for some, other women may find that they ordinarily maintain a very fast-paced schedule and even in pregnancy have not allowed themselves some time to slow down. Now is the time to adjust and listen to your body when it needs rest.
Avoiding and Treating Additional Complications
Women on bed rest commonly suffer from a variety of problems that can lead to further complications if left untreated. Be aware of these and ask your physician about taking precautions to prevent problems:
- Constipation can sometimes be avoided or treated with stool softeners.
- Weight gain and muscular weakness can be treated with simple weight lifting for your arms, stretching exercises, or exercises using an elastic band. Take care not to strain the abdominal muscles. Speak with your doctor before beginning any exercises while on bed rest.
- Muscular, or joint or hip pains caused by side-sleeping can be relieved with Tylenol or massages. Although sleeping on the left side is ideal in keeping blood pressure low and baby comfortable, avoid sleeping on only that side to stop hips or legs from hurting. Use body or U-shaped pillows for easier positioning. Lying on your back or stomach is discouraged.
- Acid reflux can be treated with medication, antacids, or by propping your head with pillows to keep from lying flat, if possible. Learn more here.
- Blood clots can be avoided by frequent leg movement and massage.
All in all, remind yourself (and anxious family members) of the objective—to deliver a healthy baby! Although it may not seem like the end is in sight, know that bed rest is just a temporary situation. Before you know it, you’ll be holding your baby and wondering where the time went!
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