by Julie Snyder
At my 30-week appointment, my blood pressure reading alarmed my doctor. He gave me two choices -- take a vacation in the hospital or try best rest at home.
I chose to take it easy at home. It sounded kind of nice -- no housework, no chauffeuring kids around, no cooking; just up for a shower and to eat. Lovely. The rest of the time I'd lounge around, enjoying the leisure time.
It was fun for about two days. My muscles ached from inactivity, my toddler and preschooler drove me bonkers and I was hungry for real food.
Bed rest can drive you to distraction, bore you to tears or send you down a spiraling path that leads to depression.
Can...but doesn't have to. With a little planning, you can not only tolerate bed rest, but enjoy your down time and put it to good use.
Having things at your fingertips will make things easier. Here's a checklist of items you may want near the bed or couch:
✓ Telephone, directory and address book
✓ Pens, pencils and paper
✓ Books, magazines, or other reading materials
✓ Cosmetics, nail files, brush, comb, etc.
✓ Remote controls to TV and gaming systems
✓ Your laptop
✓ Your favorite pillow and a blanket
✓ A small ice chest stocked with healthy snacks for you and the kids.
This organizing comes in handy later as well. A pregnancy-related bed rest area can transition quickly into a mom-and-me corner once your baby arrives.
You're used to moving around, flexing those muscles. After just a few days lying around your muscle mass can begin to dwindle.
Ask for a referral for a physical therapist who can come to the house and start you on a bed-rest friendly exercise routine. You can also try a fitness DVD especially for mom-to-be on bed rest with your doctor's okay.
It's hard to stay connected with friends and family if you can't meet jog together or meet up for lunch. Your birth club forum, e-mail, Twitter and Facebook can keep you in the loop and allow you to update friends and family.
• Throw a party! Make a theme and invite a bunch of your friends over. Let them know what they can bring...like all the snacks and treats and decorations.
• Break out the board games. Start a marathon monopoly or scrabble game or enjoy a faster game like Carcassonne.
• Bring the movies to you. Stream your favorite via Netflix and get your partner to pop up a bowl of popcorn.
• Get creative. Start a blog or journal, or build your own website. You can design your baby announcements or plan scrap book pages for your tiny tot's first year.
• Go shopping. Let your fingers walk across the keyboard. You're bound to find everything your baby needs and more. You can even order groceries online.
• Read a book. It's your choice...real books or eBooks. You might be tempted to read parenting and baby books, but do consider alternating these with fun books.
As much as possible, stick to your pre-bed rest routine. It not only gives you a sense of normalcy, but helps the time march right along. If you're used to a break at 10 and lunch at 12:30, keep it up. Designate windows of time for specific "chores."
On bed rest, you have plenty of time. Why not learn something new?
Go to school -- online, look into certification or polish off your continuing education units. Perhaps you've wanted to become ' doula or a stress management coach. If there's something you’ve been dying to learn, now you've got a chunk of time perfect for turning that dream into reality.
Take out your hopes, dreams and goals -- personal, family and aspirations for your little one. Write these down and begin brainstorming how you will make changes in the future.
You have a new baby on the way. It's a great time to begin life anew.
What would you like to see added to our guide to bed rest?
Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.