Handy Bed Rest Survival Tips

Pregnant woman bored while on bed rest

If you're experiencing pregnancy complications, you may be wondering how to survive bed rest. Being confined to your bed while you're expecting isn't easy, but there are a few things you can do to make your bed rest a little less stressful.

About Bed Rest

Nearly one in five women is recommended bed rest during pregnancy, mostly to reduce the risk of premature birth. Bed rest can mean several different things depending upon the complications you are facing in your pregnancy. In the most extreme cases, you may be told to remain in bed 24 hours per day, getting up only to use the restroom. In less serious cases, however, you may be allowed to get up a few times per day as long as you avoid heavy lifting and prolonged standing. If your doctor recommends bed rest, make sure you understand what this entails for you.

How to Survive Bed Rest

At first, being confined to your bed may seem like a great idea. What busy woman wouldn't welcome the chance for a doctor-ordered vacation? Unfortunately, the novelty of bed rest tends to wear off rather quickly.

Here are some tips for how to survive bed rest by keeping yourself as active as possible:

  1. Check out online forums for expecting mothers, especially forums for moms who have dealt with complicated pregnancies. Although it's not as much fun as being able to converse at the playground or the grocery store, chatting online will help you feel less isolated during this difficult time.
  2. Start a scrapbook for your baby. Write down the story of how you found out you were pregnant, any special pregnancy memories, and the hopes you have for your child's future. Get a few pages laid out to document your baby's birth, so you'll just need to add photos when the moment arrives.
  3. Learn how to knit or crochet, then make small hats for your baby. If you're not the crafty type, the Knifty Knitter loom system is the easiest to use.
  4. Invest in a Netflix membership so you can watch all those movies you won't have time to see once your baby arrives. All Netflix memberships now come with access to streaming movies, so you'll never be without entertainment.
  5. Download free Kindle books from Amazon.com. If you don't have a Kindle, you can download free Kindle apps to read the books on your laptop, BlackBerry, or iPad.
  6. If you have older children, have them play board games or card games with you. Let them pick newer games, then teach them some of the classics you remember from your own childhood.
  7. If your doctor says it's acceptable, do simple stretching exercises with your arms and legs. This will help improve your circulation and can ease the transition back to your normal activities when your baby is born.

One important thing to keep in mind when your doctor recommends bed rest is that you should avoid napping as much as possible. It's fine to take a short nap during the day, but sleeping too much will make it hard to get the rest you need at night. Sticking to a regular schedule is the preferable option.

Dealing With Work

Working mothers face special challenges when they are told bed rest is needed. If much of your work can be done remotely, approach your boss with a proposal for telecommuting. If not, consider using paid time off or short term disability. Taking unpaid leave or an advance on your maternity leave should be a last resort.

Learning to Accept Help

If you're accustomed to being independent, learning how to survive bed rest can be especially challenging. However, there's no need to be embarrassed by offers of help. It's natural for the people you love to want to do everything they can to make sure you and your baby stay healthy. When friends and family bring you meals, watch your older children, or help with housecleaning, simply smile and say thank you. When your period of bed rest is over, you can find a way to return the favor.

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Handy Bed Rest Survival Tips