Bed Rest Basics and Beyond

by For Two Fitness September 30, 2013

Were you on bed rest during pregnancy? How did you cope? Read this fit mom guest blog  by Dr. Ariane Smith Machin. Dr. Ariane Smith Machin is a Licensed Psychologist and Professor. She is also a Licensed Sport Psychologist and a Member of the United States Olympic Committee Sport Psychology Registry. She works with many of her clients via online appointments, including those who are struggling with infertility and coping with body image, exercise, or fluctuating moods during and after pregnancy, using positive-based problem solving and a gentle approach (integrating humor as much as possible!). When she is not teaching, writing, cooking, cleaning, talking, hanging with her husband, exercising, or running after her three small kids, she is enjoying a 5-minute cup of coffee in peace!

How to Cope with Bed Rest During Pregnancy

Congratulations! You are now pregnant and entertaining all the thoughts of how you might decorate your little one’s room, browsing your local stores to search for the perfect accessories, and of course buying all those adorable baby clothes! However, all of these fantasies can quickly come to an end when you find out your need to be on bed rest for part or all of your pregnancy. What are you supposed to do now?! Look no further to learn more about how you can keep yourself ‘up’ when you are feeling ‘down’, along with some general information about bed rest basics and beyond.

What are some reasons for bed rest during pregnancy?

According to the American Pregnancy Association, bed rest might be prescribed for a number of reasons. Here is a list of some conditions that may impact the likelihood of physician prescribed bed rest:

1. High blood pressure, such as preeclampsia, and eclampsia

2. Placenta complications, such as placental abruption, placenta previa, and placenta accrete

3. Poor fetal development

4. Multiples

5. Vaginal bleeding

6. Cervical changes, such as incompetent cervix, and cervical effacement

7. Premature labor

8. History of pregnancy loss, stillbirth, or premature birth

9. Gestational diabetes

How to Cope with Bed Rest During Pregnancy

What are some common emotional responses to bed rest?

When women initially find out that they need to be on bed rest, it can be a surprise and not in a good way! Often, there may be feelings of depression, loneliness, anxiety, and pangs of frustration, jealousy, and loss as the experience of pregnancy is not what we had imagined! But, keep in mind that it is important to cope positively to this event as there is not too much that can be done to change the situation besides listening to your doctor’s advice and taking care of yourself and that growing baby! Thus, it is your job now to rest (even as frustrating as that may feel!) and focus on a positive outcome.

What are some ways you can stay entertained while on bed rest during pregnancy?

When most of us are busily going about our days, we often dream about spending a day at home just resting and doing ‘nothing’ at all! But, when we are given permission (e.g., ordered!) to stay at home with little to no activity, it can be downright depressing! Thus, it is very important to try to keep structure, routine, and activities throughout your day. Many individuals on bed rest have found a number of activities to be helpful.

How to Cope with Bed Rest During Pregnancy

First and foremost, if you have not had to time to create a registry or buy items for your baby, now is a great time to do some research and pick out items that would be a good fit for your baby. Although it is nice to be able to browse the stores and see items in person, this might not be an option so the next best thing is to evaluate items online. Second, although browsing online is great, it is not usually helpful to stay online the entire day. Thus, structure your time where you will have ‘online time’ and then time spent engaging in other activities. Third, if there is a support person close by (or just a friendly neighbor), have them check books out at the library for you. This is free and a great way to be involved in another activity! Fourth, this is a great time to learn something new! There are many online resources that can teach you most anything, from knitting to quilting to how to make certain crafts! Bloggers are great at providing inspiration and this information is typically free! Finally, reach out to others and stay connected with family, friends, and co-workers. It is really important to stay connected with those around you as they can offer invaluable support and encouragement!

How did I prevent burnout during pregnancy?

My heart is very close to this topic as I experienced bed rest through both of my pregnancies, which were nearly back to back. Thus, almost two years of bed rest!!! I was a super active person prior to my first pregnancy (pregnant with twins) so I immediately became anxious and annoyed when I found out I could no longer do much of anything and in fact, needed to be at home with my feet up! How frustrating! However, I was actually very surprised how well I adapted to my new lifestyle and felt good that I allowing my babies to grow their best! My twins were born early and spent some time in the NICU, but I proud that I had somehow helped them get as far as they did! When I became pregnant again (4 months later!), I found out again very early on that I would need to be on bed rest again. This time was definitely more challenging because I had newborns at home, so this was not easy emotionally or physically. However, when bed rest is prescribed, it is for an important reason and the end goal needs to always be kept in mind: a healthy baby! I personally tried to keep this perspective at all times because even when I was temporarily in a negative mood or felt frustrated, my overall sentiment was gratitude in that I was able to be carry a baby (reflecting on my struggles to conceive). And, if all went well, we would meet a new baby at the end! What a special gift!

Top 5 tips for surviving bed rest!

1. Keep everything in perspective! If all goes well, you will meet a precious baby in a short amount of time! You current mood and situation is TEMPORARY!

2. Recognize what you can and cannot control.

3. Keep your days structured as much as possible!

4. Get yourself DRESSED (and out of pajamas!) every single day.

5. Visualize a positive outcome and recognize you are already taking such good care of that sweet growing baby!

For more information about Ariane and her buisness, follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram (@sportbodyhealth).


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