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Third trimester: Getting through bedrest without going crazy

Common reasons why pregnant moms go on bedrest include expecting twins, triplets or more, preterm labor, high blood pressure, vaginal bleeding or opening of the cervix too early.

Whatever the reason, bedrest isn't easy. It's common to feel anxious, isolated and bored. Finding out exactly what you can and cannot do, then setting up a routine for yourself will help your days go by quickly and keep you in a healthier frame of mind.

Get specifics from your doctor

Make sure you understand perfectly what your doctor means by “bedrest.” Don't be afraid to ask detailed questions like these:

  • Does it mean I can't get out of bed at all? If not, exactly how much time should I be on my feet at one time?
  • How often can I stand up — once a day, twice?
  • Can I take showers? If so, how long can they last?
  • Should I be lying down all the time, or is sitting up okay?
  • Can I lift a small child onto my lap?

Your doctor will probably give you clear instructions in person. But once you get home, many questions will probably come to mind. So don't hesitate to call your doctor's office whenever you have doubts about what is safe for you to do.

Establish a routine

Planning your time while will help keep you from feeling like you're moving through the days in slow motion. Try some of these suggestions to keep yourself occupied:

  • If you're worried about feeling isolated during the day, try surfing the Internet to find other women who are on bedrest too. Be sure to talk to your provider first and set up your computer so that it conforms with the bed-rest order.
  • If you have any friends or family members who don't work outside the home during the day, arrange for them to come visit you on a regular basis.
  • If you are still able to do some work, try to set up regular times to check in with your co-workers, supervisor, etc. Setting up a regular schedule for doing work is also a good idea.
  • Find out what kinds of exercises you can do, and do them at a set time each day.

It's okay to ask for help

It can be hard to admit that you need help from other people. But when you're on bedrest, it's time to let those barriers down and admit that you need some help. Let your partner take on responsibilities that are usually yours, and see what you can do instead, such as paying bills, managing other paperwork or making telephone calls.

Whenever you do start feeling down or worried, it might help to remind yourself that even though bedrest might seem like it's lasting forever, it really is a short period of time, relatively speaking. And remembering why you're on bedrest — to give your baby the best chance of a full-term delivery — may help, too.

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Source: Allina Hospitals & Clinics

First published: 07/04/2000
Last updated: 10/14/2007

Reviewed by: Michael Slama, MD, Allina Health Mercy Women's Health Clinic