Bed Rest During Pregnancy
Bed rest is a term used by medical practitioners to mean activity restriction during pregnancy. Maternal bed rest is a standard of care for pregnant women. This dates back to Hippocrates who first recommended its use as a pain restorative measure. Statistics show that up to 95% of obstetrician’s advice for maternity activity restriction in some way in their practice. However, most physicians today do not recommend strict bed rest as studies have shown that no evidence proves bed rest helps prevent complications. Therefore, pregnant women are advised to restrict their activities whenever possible. Bed rest is prescribed for various reasons, which range from multiple gestations, preeclampsia, preterm labor and threatened abortion. A physician might also prescribe this at any point during pregnancy if one has vaginal bleeding, an incompetent cervix, and contractions of any kind.
Bed rest helps by giving the body a chance to normalize. It is also recommended while pregnant because it leads to increased blood flow to the placenta and also results in a slight increase in a baby’s birth weight. For pregnant women with high blood pressure, it’s essential for lowering the pressure and decreasing stress. Bed rest is prescribed as a measure to reduce vaginal bleeding and also minimizing the chance of premature labor.
The best position during bed rest especially if confined to bed for most of the time is lying on your side. Most doctor’s advice against lying on your back as it prevents blood flow to the uterus. In addition to that, it’s crucial to change sides often, on an hourly basis to ease effects of skin irritation and body aches. The most comfortable position is putting a pillow between your knees, under your head, under your belly and maybe another one behind you this helps to balance. Physicians also advise on sitting up slightly in bed especially after eating to prevent heart burns.
Bed rests can cause so many discomforts and can easily drive one crazy. However, you can learn to easily deal with the aches by following some of these tips. Exercise when you can by stretching to prevent blood clots and keep muscles strong. Also, monitor your food by following a healthy diet. Eat small meals in a day as opposed to three big meals and eat a lot of fruits which are full of vitamins. Ensure that you drink a lot of water to stay hydrated which helps in minimizing swelling and constipation.
One can always make the best of bed rest to reduce some of the side effects that come with it. To start with, get organized by ensuring everything you need is within your reach. This might include electronic devices, magazines, extra pillows and blankets for comfort. Also, you can take this time to do some low impact exercises like walks and light weights for the upper body if the physician approves. This helps one to become strong enough for the delivery process, recovery and caring for the newborn. It is also very essential to look out for bulletin boards and support groups online to connect with other moms to be on bed rest. This goes a long way in helping one maintain a positive attitude towards the whole process.