Best Way to Survive Pregnancy Bed Rest

Even though you’re confined to bed or home for a serious medical con­dition, you’ll look fine to others; in fact, you may look terrific with all the extra rest. You won’t seem sick, and for most of you, you won’t feel sick. Many people around you will think you can do many of the activ­ities you did before because they see no outward change in you. You’ll have to educate them that what you’re doing is not by choice but a necessary prescription from your doctor to help your baby have enough time to grow and be healthy.

Although some may have difficulty sympathizing with your plight, the person who will struggle the most with your activity restrictions will probably be you. Your most important challenge is to understand and accept these restrictions and agree to maintain them.

Pregnancy Bed Rest Best Way to Survive Pregnancy Bed Rest

Typically, you’ll probably feel tired at first, grateful for the chance to rest. After a few days of rest you may feel energetic. All too quickly, how­ever, you may feel anxious, and then bored. You’ll find yourself justify­ing why you can get up and out of bed and even run errands. It will start with you staying up longer than usual, or just doing a tiny amount of straightening up. Then you’ll find yourself making excuses for a quick trip out of your home. Or you may get up to go to the bathroom, notice that there are towels on the floor or the sink, or that the tub needs clean­ing, and before you realize it, you’re actually cleaning the bathroom.

You need to see yourself as someone who has a cast on each leg. If you were hobbled, you would never dream of driving a car or climbing stairs or loading the dishwasher, would you? Tell yourself: The more you do that is not permitted, the guiltier you’ll feel—especially if you find yourself on the way to the hospital or doctor’s office with increased con­tractions. And remind yourself that increased guilt will only increase your stress. By the same token, forgive yourself if you do break the rules and promise yourself to start over again with a stronger commitment.

Using Signals

Again, bed rest can be very hard to accept and endure. It’s not as easy as it might seem to others. On a regular basis, describe your feelings and frustrations to your partner or a good friend. Decide together on a nonverbal signal that person can give you when he or she feels you’re doing too much; nonverbal, because a verbal signal risks hurting your feelings. Perhaps your partner could plump up a certain pillow to sig­nal that you’re more active than you should be. Agree beforehand that this is only a signal and you won’t argue about it; you can choose to accept the signal or ignore it. However, remember that the physician has put you in charge of following his or her directions and your part­ner in charge of supporting you.

Pregnancy Bed Rest 1 Best Way to Survive Pregnancy Bed Rest

You can establish another nonverbal signal to let your partner or friend know you need more support to endure the bed rest and you feel you’re going crazy because of it. Write him or her a little note about what you are missing or craving. Perhaps you’re desperate for a vacation. Together, plan ways to get you back on track. You might try changing your environment to another room, watching travel or pre­vious vacation videos, having a picnic on the floor, lying on a lounge chair on the patio and having a cookout, or having a movie night with a video, popcorn, drinks, and cuddling on the couch together.

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