Coping with Pregnancy Bed Rest

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Pregnant and on bed rest? It may sound good at first, but soon enough, you're going to need some coping skills.

When local mom Christina Davis was put on bed rest at just 18 weeks pregnant due to an “incompetent cervix,” she was shocked. “I ended up staying 11 weeks in the hospital on strict bed rest,” recalls Davis. “Not only was I in shock when the doctors told me, but I was also worried about whether or not my little girl would survive.”

The thought of bed rest is something no one wants to deal with, but it happens. So if it happens to you, what should you expect?

Get Used to the Idea

Your doctor knows what’s best for keeping your baby and you healthy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t ask questions about his decision. Get as much information as possible about the reason why you’re going to be restricted. Ask:

  • Is it modified or strict bed rest?
  • What can you do? What should you definitely not do?
  • Does it have to be in the hospital or can you do it at home?
  • How many hours a day? Can you at least take a walk?

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TYPES OF BEDREST

MODIFIED bed rest means “pelvic rest often” requiring you to rest when possible, especially if you work or care for other children.

STRICT bed rest limits you to bed for most of the time, usually with the exception of bathroom needs and sometimes meals. Strict bed rest means mainly lying in a supine position, and any situation where an extended period of standing is necessary should be avoided, such as cleaning, cooking, taking the stairs, or lifting moderate-to-heavy objects.

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Sanity Savers

Get Help: With all the normal goings on of family life, the list of things that you usually do that you now cannot do on strict bed rest may make you crazy, especially if you’re a “doer.” It is essential for you to bring in help through friends and family. You may consider hiring a pregnancy doula for at least a couple of hours a day. Make a list of things that you need and things that need to be done and find out who can help you with what. Family and friends will welcome the chance to help you, knowing it’s keeping a baby safe.

Keep a Journal: Have a journal, pens and pencils handy and spend time writing things down. Spill your mind out on paper over the things that bother you, worry you or stuff you need to remember to do or ask someone to do. After you’ve spent a little time unleashing your thoughts, you’re sure to be tired. Many find that a quiet mind also helps sleep come easier.

Break Out the Activities: “I had crossword puzzles, coloring books, my laptop and friends to keep me company,” says Davis. “But really, all I wanted to do was color.”

Stream Movies: Netflix, here you come. Now’s your chance to binge watch all those shows you’ve been trying to see.

Have Snacks at the Ready: If you’re at the hospital, they may have you on a specific diet, but if not, be sure to ask what you can and cannot have. If you’re not limited to what you can eat, be sure to have someone pick up healthy snacks that you love.

All-in-all, just remember to have confidence in yourself and your doctor.

“I knew being put on bed rest was the best for me and my baby,” says Davis. Her baby girl, Kendri, was born premature at 29 weeks and is a happy and healthy 10-year-old now. But, if it were not for her doctor restricting her to the bed, little Kendri may have come a lot sooner.

Kiera Ashford is associate editor of Nashville Parent and mother of three.

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