How to Deal With Bed Rest During Pregnancy


Being prescribed bed rest during pregnancy may seem like a nice, restful, relaxing time to someone who has never experienced it. Unfortunately, it usually ends up being an unwanted end to physical activity, work, and care of the family that can take multiple forms. Bed rest can take a few different forms but they are all lifestyle limiting to the woman involved. Although no one can change the fact that your plans have changed significantly or completely take the stress away from this limiting prescription, there are ways to handle being so limited in activity and function.


Work Life Balance

Being prescribed bed rest makes work life balance a thing of the past. Life takes over in this circumstance and this can be really stressful both financially and in terms of a woman's identity. For the financial piece, it is a good idea to look into your employer's short term disability benefit. You may have already inquired about it when thinking about maternity leave. The situation of bed rest also falls under the category of short term disability. Employee benefits are different depending on the size of the company, individual benefit plans, etc, so you must talk with your HR department about the individual benefits your company offers. FMLA coverage may also be available but is again dependent on your individual company. Short term disability benefits have the potential to cover a portion of your income while out of work. FMLA benefits generally act to preserve your employment and employee benefits including insurance while out of work.


In terms of professional identity, many women struggle with this loss when forced to discontinue work. It is worth it to inquire about doing light computer based work from home to maintain some connection to the professional world while on bed rest. If this isn't possible, some ways to cope include setting up a daily schedule, using hobbies to occupy time, reading professionally related books or articles, or by making plans for the future after maternity leave to ensure getting back to work with a strong start when the time comes.


Physical Activity

Many women on bed rest are under the impression that they will be unable to do any type of physical activity for fear of making their situation worse. While it is true that bed rest prevents women from daily aerobic exercise, there are activities that can be done in bed to maintain strength and maybe even some sanity. One resource for exercises can be found here. Alternatively, you can ask your doctor for a consultation with a physical therapist to learn about safe exercises that can be done in bed. These typically involve tools like TheraBands that can be attached to the bed or other stable surface, or be used freely in the air, to gently work muscles of the arms and legs. Stretching during bed rest is also very important and can improve sleep, help to prevent blood clots, and make a mom to be more comfortable in general as time goes on in the bed. 

Maintaining Mental Health

One of the most difficult things to do on bed rest is to maintain your mental health and avoid depression.

You may feel somewhat broken and depressed due to the circumstances surrounding the reason for bed rest. These feelings are completely normal. Please don't hesitate to contact your healthcare professional for help in dealing with these feelings if you believe they are intolerable or that you need extra help. This is a really difficult time that no one should have to go through on their own. 

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