Bed Rest during pregnancy is common. Around 20-30% of all pregnant women are advised to either reduce physical activity or go on strict bed rest. This kind of medical say-so might come as a shock to many women. They tend to fill themselves with negativity, which should not be the case. Medical Practitioners generally don’t recommend bed rest during pregnancy unless it’s the last thing that can be done before extensive medical interventions. Any kind of bedrest will help to improve the overall health of you and your baby.
There is little to no proof available that bed rest during pregnancy actually helps in any complication but doctors suggest it anyway because it’s benign. Here are top 5 causes of bed rest during pregnancy:
Preeclampsia affects more than 1 million Pregnant women in India each year. It’s a serious condition in which mother develops high blood pressure and has protein in her urine. Preeclampsia generally develops with no symptoms. Though sometimes some signs like sudden swelling of hands and knees, double vision, severe headaches, abdominal pain on right side etc. can indicate that there’s something wrong.
Your doctor will monitor your blood pressure in your routine prenatal visits and if she thinks that a test needs to be done for preeclampsia, she will prescribe it.
How does bed rest during pregnancy help for Preeclampsia?
Bed rest during preeclampsia is often suggested as it helps to reduce stress levels and hence blood pressure. Keeping your BP in control is very important for treating any complications of preeclampsia.
The good news is around 75% of preeclampsia cases are easily treatable by oral and IV medications and more than 97% of women attain their normal health by six weeks postpartum.
Your cervix is not supposed to open, efface and dilate before it’s safe for the baby. Having an incompetent cervix means that the cervical tissues are thinning and opening due to downward pressure the growing baby puts on the pelvis. Incompetent cervix is responsible for around 20% of the miscarriages that happen in the second trimester. It also puts you at a greater risk of fetal loss, premature delivery etc.
How does Bed Rest during pregnancy help with Cervical Changes?
Bed Rest helps to reduce stress on the cervix. The doctor also closes the cervix by sewing it, this process is called cerclage. These sutures are removed at the time of delivery.
In some severe cases of incompetent cervix, the mother is required to rest with her legs raised to a higher level than her hips throughout her whole pregnancy.
Your pregnancy can be high risk if you have:
- A higher risk for preterm labor
- Suffered from a history of complications during previous pregnancy that can worsen this time like fetal loss, stillbirth or preterm birth.
- Weak fetal development – Bed rest helps in increasing blood circulation to the fetus.
- Suffered from vaginal bleeding at any point of time during pregnancy,
- Gestational diabetes – Resting helps in regulating insulin levels
- Placenta previa – Bed Rest might help to reduce downward pressure on Placenta.
Low Amniotic Fluid
Amniotic fluid is made up of water from mother’s body for the first 12-14 weeks and after that various electrolytes, protein, lipids, phospholipids etc. also gets mixed up. By week 16th, baby’s pee also comprises of a major proportion of amniotic fluid. Since amniotic fluid depends so much on oral hydration, it becomes really important to increase your intake of fluids as soon as you find out about your pregnancy.
How does bed rest during pregnancy help for low amniotic fluid?
Bed rest for low amniotic fluid is generally prescribed to help your body use the liquids towards building amniotic sac liquid. However, only bed rest will not help. Having hydrating liquids like lemon water, coconut water etc. and hydrating fruits and vegetables like cucumber, watermelon, strawberries etc. is also very important to improve the levels of amniotic fluids.
Sometimes, the doctor might prescribe just limiting the activities or partial bed rest instead of complete bed rest depending on how low your amniotic fluid levels really are. The doctor might also suggest some light exercises which will help promote blood circulation and hence, work towards building up more amniotic sac liquid.
Having more than one baby puts you at a higher risk for a lot of complications. If your health care provider at any point of time will feel that any symptom of yours could lead to problems for you and the baby, he/she will ask you to take things down a little bit.
Are there any side effects to bed rest?
Sometimes bed rest can lead to problems such as depression, stress (financially, especially if you have to stop working), anxiety etc. But your doctor has already weighed out the benefits against the risks before suggesting you this. In order to keep away the mental stress at bay, have people around you who can help you get through it. Schedule your day, learn to manage emotional turmoils and spend more time with your closed ones. Having a good support system is really important.
Will bed rest during pregnancy slow down my postpartum recovery?
It completely depends on how long and how strict your bed rest was. If you were allowed to move around a little or if the duration of the bed rest was not that long, say 6-8 weeks then you will have a normal postpartum recovery. Bed Rest does cause muscle weakness and exhaustion during postpartum. Having a physical therapist or a nutritionist by your side will definitely help you to get back to your normal health in no time.
Were you prescribed bed rest during pregnancy too? How did you cope up with it? Help other Moms by writing down your super tips in the Comments section below: