Bed rest. You’ve just been told by your doctor that something has changed since your last appointment. That change means you need to go on bed rest. But what does bed rest actually mean? How are you going to get everything done that you need to do? And what is bed rest going to actually be like? Because napping, whenever you want, sounds glorious, but it could definitely get old, quickly.
Some families know that bed rest is more likely. They might be expecting multiples, or have had a complicated pregnancy in the past. Some medical conditions will ultimately require some bed rest. Other families will feel blindsided by the doctor’s recommendation. Very few people plan for a complicated pregnancy, and bed rest can seem daunting. But there are ways to make bed rest easier.
Not all “bed rest” is created the same, and often doctors have a different idea of bed rest that what you might think. If your doctor has recommended bed rest, make sure you understand exactly what your care provider means. Questions you can ask include
Do I have to stay in bed, or can I move to other places?
Do I have an average amount of time each day I can get up and go out, go for a walk, etc.?
Is my other physical activity restricted? I.E. Can I do some light physiotherapy (under proper care) to help prevent bed rest from causing issues with my muscles, etc.?
Are there any treatments I can do to help make bed rest easier? I.E. Massage, chiropractic, acupuncture, etc.
Are there limitations, aside from general pregnancy limitations, in terms of position, or can I be comfortable?
Am I also on pelvic rest? (This means no sex, etc.)
Establish a Routine
While it can seem tempting to hang out in your pajama’s and relax, it’s going to drive you crazy very quickly! Instead, it is better to establish a routine from the start. Make sure you get up and get dressed every morning, even if all you do is brush your teeth and exchange flannel bottoms for yoga pants. Some people find comfort in the routine of getting up, showering, getting dressed, even doing makeup. Do what feels right for you.
If you are on bed rest in the hospital and changing clothes is not always possible due to an IV, there are a few things you can do. At the very least, change your underwear and socks. Then, talk to your nurses about helping you get dressed into clean clothes when they come by for vitals. They can help you thread the IV bag and tubing through sleeves so you are comfortable.
Ponchos, wraps, and capes can help with layering so that you don’t need a nurse to help you every time you feel hot or cold. Wet wipes and towellettes can also feel refreshing if you can’t make it to the shower just then. And a brush through your hair will make you feel a little bit more human in the morning.
Seems a little counter-intuitive to make plans while you are on bed rest, but not having anything on your schedule can feel lonely. If you can’t get out and go see people, arrange for people to come and see you! If that means friends and family can stop by, that is amazing. However, the world doesn’t stop just because you are stuck in a bed and that can make it hard to coordinate. Try making lunch “dates” and using Face time or Google Hangout to have time with a friend.
Just half an hour can help you feel connected to the outside world and not so alone.
Enlist An Army –
– Of helpers, that is. Depending on how strict your bed rest protocol is, you may be significantly limited in how much you can do. Working, cooking, cleaning, shopping, and preparing may all go out the window. Reach out to friends and family and ask them to help fill your freeze – both for right now when you are still pregnant, and for when baby arrives!
If your bed rest is in-hospital you may have added challenges with pets, older children, and getting the things you need from home to the hospital. Your loved ones can help there too
As you spend time off your feet, you may find that there are products that would make your experience easier. Tabletops that can go over the bed, extra long charge cables for your phone, a tablet and headphones, a large water bottle, and even extra pillows! Don’t be afraid to invest in some things that will help you to be more comfortable. Same goes for occasionally ordering in lunch, an Audible, or Hulu subscription!
Online shopping is also an excellent way to finish your baby shopping. West Coast Kids, Amazon, and many other retailers offer registry and personal shopping services. Take advantage of those services to help you be organized for when baby does arrive. And if you get everything done and your doctor takes you off bed rest, then you can spend that time having fun rather than scrambling to be organized!