Bed Rest | Fit Pregnancy

Bed Rest

The Big Slowdown

Pregnancy demands extra energy: Your tissues are growing, moving those added pounds takes more effort, and your basal metabolism is elevated.

In fact, moms-to-be burn more energy just resting than nonpregnant women do. This means they must eat extra calories and burn fewer calories during normal activities. But until now, scientists weren't sure just how expectant women reduced their energy and expenditure.

The Truth About Bed Rest

While many doctors and women feel that bed rest can't do any harm and might do some good during certain high-risk pregnancies, a recent review of research suggests otherwise. Often-overlooked side effects include muscle atrophy, cardiovascular deconditioning, potential bone loss and depression, says study author Judith A. Maloni, Ph.D., R.N., a professor of nursing at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland.

Real Life Stories: Pregnancy Complications

Being pregnant can result in unexpected medical conditions. Here, three mothers share the emotional and physical hurdles they faced along the way.

Rachel's Story

“The idea of a C-section scared me because it is major surgery.”  Rachel Rosen, Tarzana,  Calif.

Bed Rest Is Difficult for Busy Moms

More than 700,000 moms-to-be per year in the U.S. are put on some level of bed rest, experts say. While bed rest during pregnancy is one of the most often prescribed interventions, it is also one of the least studied. Women are highly motivated, obviously, because their biggest concern is their unborn children.

Down But Not Out

More than 700,000 pregnant women a year in the U.S. are prescribed some level of bed rest each year as a result of such factors as threatened preterm labor, spotting, bleeding, hypertension and, frequently, carrying twins or more. Most take to their beds (or couches) willingly despite the obvious—and tremendous—stress doing so puts on themselves and their families. “Women are highly motivated because their biggest concern is their unborn child,” says Judith A.

The Bed Rest Workout

Pregnancy bed rest can take a big toll on you, physically and mentally. You can quickly lose strength, stamina and flexibility, which will leave you feeling lethargic and unable to perform daily tasks. However, without leaving your couch or bed, you can do gentle exercises that will improve circulation, stamina, mobility and flexibility, minimize loss of strength and help prevent pain and stiffness. The following simple exercises, paired with deep breathing, will also give you a much-needed mood boost.

Too Early to Bed?

I felt so trapped today! Everyone I know is either out and about or could be if they wanted. I have started to feel so angry and resentful.
 — Jen Douglas, in her journal, May 4, 1997

Bedrest Exercises

Bedrest-Exercises

Yes, you can work with your doctor and a physical therapist to develop an exercise plan. Keep in mind, however, that this is not the time for aerobic workouts or muscle strengthening. The goal of exercise while on bed rest is to minimize the risk of developing blood clots in your extremities.

Sleep Like a Baby

MIND CHATTER

What if I have a problem during labor? Is my baby healthy? Will my husband still think I'm sexy? Will my body ever be the same again?

Solutions: The best way to silence sleep-killing mind chatter is to work through bothersome problems before you go to bed. If anxieties still keep you awake, talk them through with a friend, your partner or a therapist. Also, perform relaxing bedtime rituals, such as taking a warm bath.