How to Survive Bed Rest During Pregnancy
When you’re trying to juggle pregnancy, a job or deal with the demands of other children, being ordered to bed might sound like a dream come true. But the reality of being confined to bed rest because of pregnancy complication often turns into more of a nightmare. Getting through medically necessary bed rest is a challenge, but there are ways to make your imposed confinement more bearable.
7 Steps to Survive Bed Rest During Pregnancy
1. Know and follow your restrictions.
Bed rest doesn’t always mean you can’t ever set your feet on the floor. In some cases, your medical practitioner might allow you to get up to go to the bathroom and shower. In other cases, you will be literally tethered to the bed for the duration of your pregnancy, which means learning new skills, such as using a bedpan.
2. Set up a self-sufficient environment, as much as possible.
If you can’t walk downstairs to the kitchen to get yourself a drink, invest in a small refrigerator for your room. Rearrange the furniture so that you have easily accessible space for reading material, a computer or tablet, knitting material, your cell phone or whatever else keeps you occupied. Move the TV into your room or purchase a second TV, if you don’t have one there already.
3. Change position frequently.
Lying in the same position for weeks at a time will make your muscles sore. Move your legs as much as you’re allowed. Not moving your legs not only makes them weak and shaky when you’re finally allowed up, but can also increase your risk of developing a blood clot in your leg or pelvis, called a deep vein thrombosis. Pregnant women have an increased risk of DVT even without the added risk of immobility. Invest in extra pillows — comfortable ones — and ask your doctor about an egg crate mattress, which can make lying in bed less uncomfortable.
4. Maintain a routine.
Get dressed, to the extent you’re allowed to. Put on makeup and style your hair. Plan your days so that you have activities or events to look forward to.
5. Invite people over.
Staying isolated from friends and family can lead to depression. You might feel like visitors aren’t worth the trouble of making yourself presentable or the awkwardness of entertaining people in your bedroom in your PJs, but visitors help pass the time and keep you connected with the outside world. Accept help, such as meals or an offer to clean house, graciously.
6. Stay busy getting things ready for your baby.
You can’t help assemble the crib, but you can fold baby clothes, order baby gear online or pick out paint colors from your bed. Start a scrapbook to document your pregnancy or journal to have a safe place to express your feelings.
7. Choose your listeners carefully.
If your partner is having to pick up the slack around the house, you might not want to add to his concerns by complaining to him. But your mom or best friend can listen to you when you need an ear and act as cheerleaders when you need bolstering up.
Tips and Warnings
- If you have other children, don’t make your room taboo. Spend time with them going over school work, talking about their day or watching TV. If they’re old enough to understand, hang a calendar and mark off each day so they understand that this won’t last forever.
- Report pain, swelling, tenderness or redness in your legs immediately to your doctor. These are symptoms of deep vein thrombosis.
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