Given how delicate pregnancy can be, many mums are always advised by their doctors or elders to go on bed rest. Often the advice is meant to avoid or address pregnancy complications that may put both mum and baby at risk.
But, even without the advice of the doctor, pregnant mums have the impression that getting bed rest is going to be good for their babies.
Unfortunately, more and more studies are coming to the surface about the possible negative effects of bed rest. In this article, we will finally put this issue to rest: is bed rest truly necessary during pregnancy? Read on to find out more.
Bed Rest During Pregnancy
Before getting pregnant, when we’re prescribed bed rest, we understand it as simply going home and trying to sleep or trying to take it easy. For pregnant women, it literally means staying on a bed for a long period of time and having restricted movement. The reason for this is to ensure your baby reaches full term.
Pregnancy complications like preeclampsia, vaginal bleeding, premature labour, or poor foetal development may be the reasons why you will be recommended to do bed rest. Some even allege that bed rest during pregnancy prevents miscarriage.
Risks of Going on Bed Rest
So, if bed rest helps pregnant women reach full term, why are some doctors not recommending it?
Experts are now claiming that no research can support that bed rest truly prevents preterm labour or birth or other complications in delivery. And, it’s not just that bed rest doesn’t improve one’s chances of avoiding preterm labour or miscarriage; some research has also found negative effects, such as the following:
- Blood clots
- Depression and anxiety
- Family stress
- Financial worries
- Low birthweight for your baby
- Slower recovery after birth
- Weakened bones and muscles
Given these negative effects, some doctors instead recommend partial rest or activity restriction. It all really depends on your situation. There are even instances so severe that doctors will recommend strict bed rest as last resort.
Types of Bed Rest During Pregnancy
This is bedrest where your gynaecologist will recommend you get admitted to the hospital for close monitoring. And, the only activity you can do is to go to the bathroom. Such cases are necessary for high-risk pregnancies.
What this means is that mums-to-be can have bed rest but not the entire day.
If not partial rest, your OB might ask you to restrict some activities that can actually cause complications in your pregnancy or delivery.
For instance, you might need to avoid lifting heavy objects, sexual activity, or lessening work hours. Lifting heavy objects can cause abdominal pressure, which is why it can cause preterm labour. You might need to avoid sexual activity because orgasms can cause early contractions, which you don’t want.
Given that mental stress can also cause preterm labour, you might be advised to lessen your mobile phone screen time, because we can easily get stressed from the things we learn through the internet.
Things to Remember While on Bed Rest
Aside from spending a lot of time sleeping or resting at home, here are some tips to ensure you are making the most of your bed rest:
A schedule will ensure you get the rest you need, the movement that you’ll need to avoid those aforementioned negative effects, and keep you engaged.
For instance, you can schedule some light exercises in the morning, some cooking or gardening in the afternoon, a nap in the late afternoon, and some bonding time with your family in the evening. You can consult your gynae for their recommendations on how you can construct your schedule.
Yes, even your bed rest positions matter. And lying on your side is the best position for bed rest. Doing so helps in better blood circulation, which your baby needs. When you’re lying on your back, your uterus could be blocking proper blood circulation, so it’s better to sleep on your side.
Sleeping positions during pregnancy concept
Pregnant mums need to exercise to get their bones and muscles working. Trust us, you’re going to need every ounce of strength during your labour. And, bed rest won’t tone those muscles.
So, get into your activewear, and try some stretches or some yoga. Do consult your gynae about their recommendations for exercises appropriate for pregnant women. Do not try working out without finding out if they are safe for you.
You’re eating for two now, as they say. You need to eat a balanced diet to ensure your baby is getting the nutrients they need. And, you can’t do that while lying down. What you eat won’t digest well. So, get up, move your butt to the kitchen, and whip up something healthy and delicious for you to eat.
With all the waiting during these 9 months, it’s a perfect opportunity for you to learn new things, such as cooking if you haven’t learned yet. Or, learn a new language. Such extra-curricular activities will ensure you avoid anxiety and depression. Plus, nothing is ever wrong with learning a new skill. It might come in handy someday.
Have a Strong Support System
Your pregnancy journey is going to bring some ups and downs, especially with all the mood swings, so you need a support system to keep your energy and good mood up. Mental stress is one of the many causes of threatened preterm labour or miscarriages. But, if you have people who constantly cheer you up or make you feel good, you avoid such mental stress.
Image Source: Pexels
If you’re stressing your mind about the possible costs of labour and raising a kid, call your support system. If you feel like you need help, get yourself some. You do not have to go through this journey alone.
If you’re stressing about whether you will be a good mother or not, keep this in mind: you are doing your best. There are no perfect mothers. And, there isn’t anything about motherhood that you won’t be able to pick up.
What to Do When Prescribed Bed Rest
You are entitled to understand all of the recommendations of your doctor. So, if they prescribe bed rest for you and do not give any explanation, you ought to call them out and ask their reasons for recommending bed rest.
If they are able to justify their recommendation, you may also ask about the conditions of your bed rest. What are the things that you can and cannot do? How long should your bed rest be? What activities can you do while on this prescribed bed rest? Ask all of your questions, so it’s clear precisely what you ought to do on this bed rest.
There you have it. Your doctor might recommend bed rest if you have a specific case. So, if your doctor sees that you are not at any risk in your pregnancy but they still recommend bed rest, you ought to find out their reasons why.
At this point, you ought to fully understand that not being able to move during your pregnancy might not be the best way to go through it. So, if you can move those arms, legs, and hips, the better-toned and ready your body will be for delivery.
Here at theAsianparent Singapore, it’s important for us to give information that is correct, significant, and timely. But this doesn’t serve as an alternative for medical advice or medical treatment. theAsianparent Singapore is not responsible for those that would choose to drink medicines based on information from our website. If you have any doubts, we recommend consulting your doctor for clearer information.