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What is Bed Rest?

Bed rest requirements are different for every woman, but it is common, so if your doctor prescribes it, there’s no reason to be alarmed. Your doctor may recommend resting at home or bed rest in a hospital where you can be monitored by medical staff. Your doctor may place you on bed rest for a short length of time to help your health stabilize, or you may be prescribed bed rest for most of your pregnancy.

When you may need bed rest

There are a number of common reasons for bed rest. These include:

  • High blood pressure, such as eclampsia or preeclampsia
  • Changes in your cervix, such as cervical effacement
  • Gestational diabetes
  • Vaginal bleeding
  • Premature labor
  • Multiples
  • Poor fetal growth
  • Complications with the placenta

Benefits of bed rest

Bed rest can help by decreasing stress and lowering blood pressure. Resting during pregnancy also means that you will avoid strenuous activity such as lifting or stretching which may increase the risk of premature labor or vaginal bleeding. It can also improve the supply of blood to the placenta.

What is the best position for bed rest?

The best position will largely depend on the reason your doctor prescribed bed rest. Usually, he or she will recommend that you rest on your side, with your knees bent. Having a pillow between your knees can also make you feel more comfortable. Alternatively, your doctor may suggest that you lie on your back, propped up with pillows, with your feet elevated.

Dealing with bed rest discomforts

If you have been prescribed bed rest for a long period, it can start to cause some of your joints to ache and reduce your blood circulation. Changing position from side to side will help to alleviate joint pressure and stimulate your muscles. Gentle exercise will help to improve your circulation. You could try:

  • Pressing your feet and hands against the bed then relaxing
  • Squeezing stress balls
  • Gently rotating your arms and feet
  • Tensing and relaxing your arm and leg muscles

Bored with bed rest? What you can do?

Bed rest can be frustrating, particularly if you have to spend most of your pregnancy lying down. Here are some ideas to help you pass the time:

  • Dip into a new book
  • Watch a movie online
  • Get in touch with friends or family
  • Learn how to knit
  • Relax with a puzzle

Try to enjoy your bed rest as much as you can, because once your baby is born, you may not have much chance to enjoy this much time to yourself.  If your doctor recommends bed rest, don’t be tempted to skimp on it, especially if you are at home, as this may affect your health and the health of your growing child. You can find out more about the conditions that require bedrest talking to your doctor.