Every pregnancy is different, which means that every pregnancy will require different medical precautions. With one pregnancy, you may be able to walk, run, and exercise relatively normally even right up to the week of delivery, and with another pregnancy, your doctor may put you on bed rest for weeks.
There are so many factors that play a role in a doctor’s decision to put a mother on bed rest, and even though it can be frustrating, you’ve got to take your doctor’s decision seriously! If you’ve gotten the news that you’ll be getting real cozy for the next few weeks, keep reading for everything you need to know.
Put Your Best Health Habits to Practice
Since you won’t be able to move around and burn the same amount of energy you could before, it’s even more important to commit to a healthy diet! You should be eating nutrient-dense, healthful foods for you and your baby throughout your pregnancy, so continue this through your time on bed rest as well.
You may be craving junk food since you are in bed all day anyway, but always consider what will be the most beneficial for you and your growing baby. Stay hydrated and base your diet on plant foods like vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, and the like.
Not only will eating healthy and drinking plenty of water help you nourish yourself and your baby, it’ll also help you maintain a healthy weight even when you can’t get up and move around. This reduces your chance of developing gestational diabetes and will make postpartum recovery much easier.
Find Your Favorite Bed Rest Position
Preparing for the day your baby arrives usually means purchasing a new car seat, painting the nursery, and buying all the precious baby clothes you can get your hands on. We agree that these are some of the most exciting parts about preparing to meet your little one, but don’t forget to also do what you can to prepare your body for labor and delivery! Especially if you have been put on bed rest.
Many healthcare professionals have said that the best position for a mother on bed rest is on her side with both knees bent and a pillow in between the knees. This position should reduce pressure on the hips. Another recommended position is to lay on your back with your legs propped up, either straight or bent. You can try both of these positions to see what works best for you, but make sure to always check with your doctor as well, since they know your pregnancy and will be able to best identify what you and your baby need.
Find Things to Do on Bed Rest
You may have had a pretty active pregnancy up to this point, so it’s surely frustrating to have to suddenly change your routine. There are small activities you can do from your bed, though, to keep you busy and to resemble that activity level you enjoyed before. You can squeeze a stress ball to activate your hands and arms, press your feet against the floorboard to activate your feet and legs, and move your arms and feet in circular motions to stretch it all out. But again, always talk to your doctor before beginning anything out of the ordinary bed rest regimen.
Develop Self Care Strategies
Self-care refers to the health of your mind just as much as it does to the health of your body. If you’re on bed rest, you are likely very close to the end of your pregnancy, and your mental health is so important as you bring this new being into the world. Use this time to make yourself a priority.
Think about what it is that makes you feel happy and fulfilled, and try to achieve that from your bed! Maybe you love to read but haven’t found the time to really dig into something on your list. Perhaps you’re interested in learning to sew or knit. Rekindle a lost love or develop a new one during this time.
You can also take this time to pamper yourself! Think face masks, nail polish, and bubble baths. Now bed rest doesn’t sound too tragic.
Keep an Eye Out for Side Effects
Being on bed rest allows you to relax your body and mind, but many healthcare professionals have seen adverse side effects. Women on bed rest may develop blood clots, decreased bone mass, depression, and/or anxiety. Make sure that you’re listening to your body and mind, and that you take note if anything seems out of the ordinary. If you feel any unfamiliar pain during your time on bed rest, reach out to your doctor. If you are feeling unusually anxious, stressed, or sad during your time on bed rest, talk to your spouse, a friend, or even reach out to a therapist. Your mental health is important and deserves just as much care as your physical health.
We’ve mentioned this throughout each tip, but it deserves a separate discussion as well. When you are initially put on bed rest, you may have a lot of questions, like: What exactly does this mean? Am I on pelvic rest or bed rest? How long do I have to stay in bed each day? Can I lift things? Will I be able to walk up and down stairs?
Don’t hesitate to ask these questions of your doctor! You should understand doctor’s orders as clearly as possible for this period of your pregnancy. The more questions you ask, the better you will be able to take care of your body and your growing baby.
Ask for Help
Women are fierce and independent, which means that one of the hardest parts of bed rest is asking for and receiving help for things you want to be able to do on your own. Don’t be afraid to ask for help on everyday tasks, because it’s imperative for the health of you and your baby. Also, remember that you are surrounded by people who love and support you, and who want to help during this time. Lean on them, because asking for help doesn’t make you weak, and your baby’s life will be better for it.
Trust Your Doctor’s Call
You and your doctor have the same goal: to create the best living conditions for your baby while they are growing inside of you! And even though you know your body better than anyone, which means that you know how much you can handle, listen to the direction of the medical professional you have chosen. They may not have lived in your body, but they studied for years to best take care of people in your exact position! And they are always looking out for yours and your baby’s best interest. If you are to stay in bed for a specific time frame, stick to that time frame as closely as possible. When you do get up, set a timer for yourself so that you know you don’t spend too much time on your feet.
For more tips on navigating pregnancy, or to get in touch with one of our pregnancy doctors, contact RMC today.