- Bed rest is the restriction of movements during pregnancy
- Doctors these days, restrict some activities like heavy lifting but hardly prescribe complete bed rest.
- Bed rest may affect the muscle function and mother’s weight.
- It increases mental and physical health risks during and after pregnancy as per studies
A bed rest is a restriction of movement or activities during pregnancy. The recent studies on its ineffectiveness restrict doctors from prescribing it.
A bed rest can be prescribed in case of high-risk pregnancies that may cause mortality or morbidity to either mother or the fetus or both. “Bed rest, restricting total movement or lying down all the day on the bed is hardly prescribed these days. Usually, lifting heavy materials, doing rigorous tasks and having sex may be restricted based on the severity of complications,” shares Dr. Lakshmi, Gynecologist.
Many studies have revealed that bed rest actually does not bring out the desired result, while it leads to other health issues for the mother.
A bed rest can usually be prescribed in case of complications like:
- Growth problems in the fetus
- Vaginal bleeding
- Preterm labor
- Placenta Previa (Low lying Placenta partially or totally covering the cervix)
- Gestational Diabetes
- Cervical problems
- Previous pregnancy loss or still births
In some cases, instead of complete bed rest, the doctor may prescribe pelvic rest which prohibits straining the pelvic region or the pelvic muscles.
A pelvic rest restricts a pregnant woman from activities like
- Sexual intercourse
- Brisk walking
- Heavy lifting
According to researches, bed rest or activity restriction causes more health risks than a normal lifestyle in a pregnant woman. As per a 2015 study conducted by scholars from the Dominican University of California, bed rest can cause a series of issues including physical and mental problems in the pregnant woman. Physical fitness is needed for a mother to overcome the labor pain and the post-partum days caring for the baby. But sticking to the bed before delivery for a long term affects the physical capability of the mother.
The study considered factors like muscle functions, maternal weight, infant birth weight, bone loss and thrombosis in pregnant women prescribed for bed rest. The study found deterioration of muscle function in the post-partum period in women with bed rest during pregnancy.
Other studies also substantiate the fact that a bed rest for high-risk pregnancy never fetches effective change for the health condition of the mother rather make it worse in some cases.
Despite the facts, in case the doctor prescribes you a bed rest, you can seek an explanation from the doctor on what exactly meant by the bed rest.
- Is it a complete restriction of activities, except going for toilet or showering?
- Can I do the household activities?
- Why is it recommended?
- How long will it be?
- Can it be a pelvic rest?
Nowadays, most of the doctors recommend sticking to some physical activities during pregnancy. It can avoid discomforts and other issues like weight gain during pregnancy.
Bed rest has been found to increase the blood flow to the placenta thereby to the fetus. But proper evidence to substantiate it without a small doubt is still absent.
In case activity restriction even for a short term is needed and seem to be better for your health by the doctor, you can also have a double check with another specialist.
Here are some tips to cope up with the boredom of lying in bed for a long day.
- Write a journal
Record each day and your dreams about the baby in a journal. You can show it to the little one someday in the future.
- Get company
Connect with your friends and ask for their company when they have free time.
- Have a routine
Always have a routine for your activities. It helps you stay organized and relieve stress.
- Nurture hobbies like reading or painting
Try reading pregnancy related books or baby care books. You can also do a painting without moving from the bed.
- Stay positive
Despite the discomforts, dream about the life in front of you. Remain positive and spread the aura.
- Prepare for childbirth
Practice techniques that relieve labor pain and also prepare your mind for the D-day.