Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Rest Up Momma!

          There are many women that experience bed rest during pregnancy whether for a week or 3 months.  I was one of the “lucky ducklings” that was put on bed rest.  I had a few mommas e-mail me questions about my experience and if I found bed rest really helped.  I am going to start off by telling you that though I was prescribed bed rest, I did take occasional breaks.  Majority of the time I was not up and about, whether laying or sitting I was resting, but I would go for ride in the car just to get out and get some fresh air.  Research has not shown enough evidence that bed rest is beneficial for you and your baby; however, there isn’t research enough to prove that is isn’t.  Due to my experience with bed rest and my medical background, I just want to educate you a bit on bed rest.  I know so many expecting moms are faced with this and my hope is to let you know some pros, cons, risks, and benefits.

          Bed rest may be prescribed for the following reasons:
Pregnancy Induced Hypertension/Preeclampsia/Toxemia - For these conditions the only real cure is delivery.  I experience preeclampsia myself and thankfully had reached 37 weeks and was able to deliver.  If you have not reached the 37 week mark a doctor or midwife may prescribe bedrest so they can keep close watch on you.
Placenta Complications:
Placenta Previa - When a woman has placenta previa this means the placenta has blocked the cervix not allowing the baby to exit.  Placenta previa can correct itself in some cases, but women may be put on bed rest to keep the pressure off the placenta and cervix.
-Placenta Abruption - This is when the placenta begins to separate form the uterine wall prior to delivery.
Cervical Insufficiency -  Cervical insufficiency means your cervix has begun dilating and effacing before your baby is full term and ready for delivery. With this condition there are no normally no symptoms.  Bed rest takes the pressure of your growing baby off the cervix.
Preterm Labor - If you are in preterm labor your body is ready to deliver the baby before the baby has reached full term.  There are many factors that can increase your risk of preterm labor such as:
-Alcohol Abuse
-Drug Abuse
-Health Conditions
- preeclampsia, gestational diabetes, infections, blood clotting disorders
-History of preterm labor
-Having twins or multiple babies
-In vitro pregnancy
If you begin to experience contractions that are 10 minutes apart consistently, backache, increased vaginal pressure, cramping, gush of fluid, or any bleeding call your doctor or midwife because these are possible signs of preterm labor.
          By reducing activity and being put on bed rest there is a hope that the risk of preterm delivery or pregnancy complications will be reduced.  There are risks that can develop while on bed rest such as: blood clots, depression, anxiety, decreased birth-weight of your baby, difficulty delivering due to weakened bones and muscles, and slower recovery after birth.
          If you are prescribed bed rest you want to make sure you are getting a full explanation of what bed rest means to your doctor.  There are different degrees of bed rest so make sure you are asking the appropriate questions to be sure you are getting the proper information.  To keep yourself in the know here are some good questions you could ask your doctor or midwife.  What reasons are you recommending bed rest?  What degree of bed rest is appropriate?  What are the benefits for my baby and me? Do the benefits outweigh the risks?  What are some potential issues from bed rest for my baby and for me?  How long will I be on bed rest?  Can I do normal household chores? Can I take care of my other kids?  Is it best to lie on one side over the other?  Is it alright to continue sexual activity? If so, are certain positions safer than others?  If you don’t feel your questions have been answered to your satisfaction or feel uneasy it can not hurt to get a second opinion.
          Some research has shown that resuming your everyday activity to a lesser degree would be more beneficial for you than strict bed rest.  As I said before there are different degrees of bed rest.  Bed rest for a few hours a day while still resuming other activities to a lesser degree, bed rest which confines you to only activity in the home, and bed rest which means you are in bed only.  It is up to you and your doctor or midwife but make sure you feel comfortable with the decisions made.
           If you are prescribed bedrest and are limited to little or no activity it can be extremely difficult mentally.  It is important to give yourself some ways to pass the time productively, otherwise you will go insane.  I found myself going nuts throughout the day because I was alone and unable to drive or do anything.  Thank God for candy crush!  Have some friends come over and keep you company, even if just for an hour to watch a movie, it will make a big difference.  Use the time to bond with your baby, play music for him or her and talk to your baby, he or she can hear everything and is getting to know you.  Take the time to learn a new hobby like knitting.  Keep a journal of all your experiences, when the baby moves, how the baby reacts to certain things.
In my own experience I found bed rest to be both helpful but also not.  As I said before it is what you and your doctor or midwife decide and what is best for you and your baby.  I hope this helped educate you a bit about bed rest.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at

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