Surviving Bed Rest During Pregnancy

Tips to maintain your health and your peace of mind

  • Obtain information: Knowledge will help you feel more in control. Find out exactly which activities are allowed and which are not.
  • Organize your environment: Items to keep nearby include: telephone and telephone book; tissues; TV and VCR with remote controls; laptop computer; cooler or mini-refrigerator for beverages, snacks, and lunch; books on tape; magazines and catalogues; notebook and pen for questions and to-do lists; and a cassette/CD player.
  • Maintain a routine: A schedule will also help you feel more in control. Keep regular times for visits, naps, and activities.
  • Pamper yourself: Use body lotion; have a manicure; arrange for your hairdresser to come to your bedside; get a massage (check with your healthcare provider first); purchase pretty pajamas; and wear makeup if you usually do.
  • Stay connected: Keeping in touch with others will help you from feeling isolated. Have a friend come over for lunch as often as you feel up to it. Invite friends over who are good listeners and who can bring their own food; write letters; e-mail; write in a journal; and reach out to other moms on bed rest either via telephone or the Internet (see Resources).
  • Ask for help: You will need the support of your family and friends to get through this difficult time. Ask someone to fold a load of laundry; bring in the mail; collect take-out menus; drive a child to an after-school activity; go to the library; or run an errand.
  • Use delivery services: Many supermarkets, drugstores, and dry cleaners will deliver items. Take advantage of these services.
  • Practical Items: The following items will make your life on bed rest somewhat easier: a large wastebasket; wet wipes; cups with lids and flexible straws; an ironing board for a bedside table; a mini-refrigerator; a bathtub chair if you are allowed to shower; an egg-crate mattress; and a mechanical "arm" to reach far away items. In addition, keep a bag packed for unexpected trips to the hospital.
  • Reach out to your mate: This is a stressful time for both of you. Partners now have two jobs: maintaining their jobs and taking care of you. Give them a daily hug and a pat on the back; encourage them to take an occasional vacation day from work to ease the stress; spend some daily time alone with your partner; and be creative about bedside romance, (e.g., candlelight dinners, a gentle massage or a picnic dinner).
  • Taking care of the children: Most important, reassure your children that you will not be on bed rest forever. Get a large calendar and have them help you mark off each day with an "X." Arrange for weekend play dates at your house when your partner is around; send notes to the teacher and school director about transportation arrangements; prepare a list of telephone contacts and doctor's appointment dates; set up a standard conference call with the teacher to discuss issues and upcoming events; go through your child's schoolbag to check for notes and homework assignments; and schedule time alone with each child to talk about their day, help with homework, and play.
  • Explore medical coverage: Call the Human Resources Department at your company. The company's maternity-leave or disability-leave program may cover part or all of your salary while you are on bed rest. Contact your insurance company or HMO to find out what services will be covered while you are on bed rest. Some companies may pay for a home health aide, physical therapist or even a massage therapist. Your healthcare provider may need to write a letter of medical necessity; however, it is worth looking into.
  • Keep fit: With your healthcare provider's approval, do some exercises in bed, such as leg lifts, calf stretches, and upper body exercises with light weights. Exercising promotes circulation, keeps your muscles in shape, and may help your mood.