How can I avoid being put on bed rest?
Real Mom Problem
“I'm pregnant with twins again and my doctor is worried about me having them early. He's already talking about putting me on complete bed rest. Anyone know a good way I can avoid it?”
- 1. Your care provider may prescribe bed rest to help deal with certain pregnancy complications, from preeclampsia to a history of pregnancy loss to carrying multiples to placenta previa
- 2. Bed rest ranges from resting at home to full-time monitoring in the hospital
- 3. If you are concerned about bed rest, make sure you limit your activities and take care of yourself
- 4. Listen to your body and make sure you only do what you are truly comfortable doing
- 5. Always check with your care provider before starting a new physical routine or doing anything too strenuous
Real Mom Solutions
Are you scared that you might be put on bed rest during your pregnancy? While bed rest sometimes can't be avoided, these moms suggest that listening to your body, eating and drinking properly, and limiting your activities might increase your chances of being able to stay on your feet.
Our Expert Mom Says...
There is no clear cut evidence to point towards expectant moms 'causing' preterm labor (requiring bed rest) although, some moms seem to be at higher risk.
The two most common scenarios include multiples and the workaholic mom.
Women carrying twins (never mind triplets!) are experiencing double the uterine expansion; common daily activity, going to work, exercise, full bladder and stress can culminate to "irritate" the uterus, resulting in contractions, necessitating bed rest. Being in bed, quiets the body (and mind) and takes pressure off cervix, helping to decrease if not diminish contractions.
Working moms, in particular the professional women who is going a million miles an hour maintaining a high stress career, seem to be at risk for preterm labor and subsequently bed rest.
Prevention is the key ingredient! Being pro-active and adjusting the stress and workload, could enable you to continue working through the pregnancy. As opposed to being out of the office, not working and home on bed rest.
Ask your partner and your boss to support you maintaining a healthy pregnancy and going to term rather than on bed rest at home in preterm labor!
Sarah McMoyler, RN, BSN and mother, is WebMD's Pregnancy Expert, and founder of McMoyler Method. As a specialist in labor and delivery nursing for more than 20 years, McMoyler has assisted in the delivery of more than 5,000 babies. Her personal view and in-depth professional experience has been integral to McMoyler Method's success in graduating more than 18,000 San Francisco Bay Area couples to confidently approach pregnancy, prepare for delivery, and care for their newborn babies.
McMoyler decided to make her popular method available to a broader audience by presenting McMoyler Method to a global audience through the release of a book titled The Best Birth: Your Guide to the Safest, Healthiest, Most Satisfying Labor and Delivery and the upcoming launch of a new online class.
Don't Overdo It
I'm pregnant with twins, and the advice is always the same. Limit your activities and rest as much as possible. So far so good! I feel really good and I'm almost 29 weeks.
Take it easy as much as possible! Accept help from others. Maybe have a friend watch kids a couple times a week even for a few hours so you can rest. Do very minimal lifting etc. If you can limit yourself, and reduce your stress level, perhaps you can keep from being put on bed rest early. Although you may end up on bed rest regardless, the longer you can put it off the better!
I think the smartest thing is DON'T OVERDO IT!!! Make sure you are getting plenty of rest and take breaks! Take it easy when you are outside and make sure to keep yourself hydrated! I was put on bed rest with my third and I totally blame it on doing way too much. I went into preterm labor at 27 weeks. I was working full time and then coming home to clean and chase my other two kiddos. Once I realized how serious it was, I stopped myself and relaxed! A healthy baby was most important. And I carried him to 36 weeks, five days and he got to come home with me. It was soooo worth it. So the biggest thing is don't overdo it!
Try These Ideas to Limit Activity
I'm not on bed rest but on restricted activities. I lay down on the couch and do a puzzle with my daughter on the coffee table, read books with her, etc. My nurse gave me the idea of putting a basket at the top and bottom of the stairs and things that need to either go up or down go in the basket until the end of the day to limit the amount of times I go up and down the stairs. My 3 year old has been super helpful and will now feed the animals for me and Swiffer the floor. Thankfully, she's in the "mommy's helper" phase. I hope it doesn't wear off before this baby comes!
I have avoided it by taking caution when my doctor told me to. I was told to slow down and put my feet up more because I've been contracting and cramping since 19 weeks. My 20-month-old has learned if I'm on the couch that she can bring things to me to play with, and she likes to bring books to read. I'm sure she doesn't really understand but at least I don't have to chase her 24/7. I also told my work I needed to sit more or I would get pulled from my job. Best advice is listen to your body. I know it's hard to slow down, but we either can do what our bodies tell us, or get the brakes jammed and be tossed on bed rest.
Take Good Care of Yourself
I wasn't on bed rest at all with my last pregnancy. I just tried to keep my blood pressure down by not eating a whole lot of sodium and I avoided too many sugars so I could keep my blood sugar down. I ate healthy and I walked/swam daily. I also elevated my feet several times a day and slept mainly on my left side.
Maybe start with the Brewer Diet. A study conducted at Harvard University found that by eating at least 75 grams of protein per day, pregnant women could prevent diseases of pregnancy such as preeclampsia (metabolic toxemia of late pregnancy). During pregnancy a woman's blood volume increases as much as 40 to 60 percent, and in order to reach this necessary level and maintain it, a woman's body needs adequate protein, salt, calcium, potassium and water from her diet.
Be mindful of your sodium intake, walk daily, get plenty of sleep and eat well. It's the best thing for you and baby.
I think that if you don't do things that are unhealthy for you, you will have less of a chance. Obviously, some things are unavoidable (preterm labor, issues with cervix, etc.) but I think if you stay hydrated, watch your lifting, and rest when you feel like you have done too much you can avoid bed rest. Also watch your salt intake so you don't end up with swelling and preeclampsia.
I'd say one thing would be to eat right and healthy, drink plenty of WATER, avoid salts especially later in pregnancy, and take it easy. You are pregnant, not disabled. You can still do things, but it's time to respect that your body is already working overtime by growing another human being. Watch what you do.
Listen to Your Body
Personally, I think if you are confident in your situation, and feel that bed rest is unnecessary, follow your gut. Try to take it as easy as possible.
I was put on bed rest at 24 weeks. I just made sure I wasn't lifting anything heavy, on my feet for too long, and knew when I just needed to give up and rest. I ended up going till 38 weeks before being induced. In the end I trusted my body. I went with how I was feeling each day to know what I felt comfortable doing. There were some days I was crawling around on the floor playing with my oldest and some days I didn't get off the couch. Only you know what you are comfortable doing.