Suddenly Sidelined

April 8th, 2009

For many women, the bed rest prescription comes as no surprise. Women with a multiple gestation, a prior pregnancy that was complicated by an incompetent cervix or history of pre-eclampsia (high blood pressure) and/or ended with preterm labor make the bed rest prescription more likely (but not inevitable) in subsequent pregnancies. These ladies know that when they become pregnant, they are at high risk and are able to plan accordingly.

More often, the bed rest prescription comes as a shock. A woman goes in for what she thinks is a routine prenatal examination, a potential complication is noted and the bed rest prescription is given. The prescription comes without warning and without any time for preparation. It’s simply “go home and go to bed.” If you’re among the more unlucky, the prescription is “go to the hospital and be admitted”. Suddenly, life as you knew it as a glowing mom-to be is over.

Bed rest isn’t easy. Some women say that initially they welcomed the rest. But after as little as one or two days in bed, the boredom, isolation and anxiety set in. If you’ve got several days to weeks to months to be on prescribed bed rest, what is the best way to survive without going stark raving mad?

Knowledge is power. The more you know about why you are on bed rest and what you can do to take care of yourself-physically, mentally and emotionally-the better things will go. Be proactive. Here are 6 Tips you can implement to help you feel a bit more informed and prepared when you find yourself “Suddenly Sidelined.”

  1. First, have your obstetrician or midwife give you a clear explanation of what the complication is and what they hope to achieve by putting you on bed rest. When you understand the rationale for the treatment, it’s much easier to be a willing participant.
  2. Get a clear bed rest prescription from your practitioner. There is a HUGE difference between being strictly confined to bed and being on what some of us call “house arrest”-where you can move around the house, rest on the couch and not engage in any strenuous activities. Ask your clinician to give you specific guidelines about what you can and cannot do. In this way you can know what your specific needs are if family and friends ask how they can help.
  3. Set up your base. If you’re going to be sidelined, you may as well comfortable. Have the telephone, television remote and laptop computer in easy reach. Have any books or magazines, DVD’s or MP3 players easily accessible on a side table. You may even want to have a small cooler or mini refrigerator in your room-filled with healthy snacks of course!
  4. Make a clear path to the bathroom. You may not have thought of this, but if your room is configured such that you have to walk around the bed or between other furniture to get to the bathroom, clear your path to eliminate any possibility for falls or injuries.
  5. If at any time you are going to be left alone or a substantial length of time, for example while your husband works during the day, make sure that you have someone who is quickly accessible-a neighbor perhaps-that can come over immediately if there is an emergency.
  6. As a follow up to #5, make sure that there is access into your home for expected and pre-arranged visitors. If you’re on bed rest, you can’t get up to answer the door. Yet, if a friend is coming to visit, they need access. Set up in advance a way for them to enter your home. This may be a key left in a certain place, an access code into your garage, etc…But be sure that this limited access is not widely known and is ONLY given to those YOU have planned in advance to attend to you.

Bed rest is never anyone’s plan. By implementing these 6 tips, you can make your time on bed rest pleasant-even when you find yourself “Suddenly Sidelined.”

2 responses to “Suddenly Sidelined”

  1. Thanks for posting about this, I would like to read more about this topic.
    mamasonbedrest.com – cool!!!!

  2. Thanks for writing, I very much liked your newest post. I think you should post more frequently, you evidently have natural ability for blogging!

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