Mamas on Bedrest: Find Moments of Bliss on Bedrest

January 11th, 2013

Good Morning Mamas,

I’ve been wondering, How are you holding on while on Bed Rest? How are you finding the bliss and blessings of Bed Rest?

Pregnancy in and of itself is a time of intense change. Your body is changing in ways that you cannot even imagine all the while creating a wholly new and completely perfect little being. When I stop to contemplate the absolute majesty that is childbirth, I am overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of what is really taking place. It is truly magnificent indeed.

But for those of us for whom the journey has had some “road humps”, the rays of magnificence have been dimmed a bit. We are worried-for ourselves and our babies and praying for Divine blessing that our little loves will arrive healthy, happy and complete. It is often hard to find the joy, the blessings and the bliss that was once our pregnancies, yet it is essential to do so.

Bed Rest is prescribed so that preterm labor (labor before 37 weeks of  gestation) and preterm birth are avoided. But the very bed rest prescription itself is a stressor, as is often evidenced by the decrease in cervical length in mamas put on bed rest for cervical insufficiency.  In an uncomplicated pregnancy as delivery is imminent, the cervix will begin to soften and shorten (ripen) in anticipation of the passage of the infant. I won’t go into all of the details, but in short summary, chemicals are released from the brain and adrenal glands that act on the cervix to “ripen” it in preparation for birth. Unfortunately, these chemicals can be released at other times, most notably in response to inflammation and stress. Kathleen Kendall Tackett, PhD has studied this association extensively and wrote a really nice, readable article about it on the La Leche League website. Since the cervix cannot discern whether or not the chemicals are being released due to impending labor, a stress reaction or inflammation, it has no choice but to react in the only way that it knows how-by “ripening” and preparing for birth-even if it’s not time.

So what can mamas do? I in no way want to imply that cervical insufficiency, that is cervical ripening before the appropriate time for labor and delivery, is in any way a mama’s fault. However, I do want to say that mamas can help themselves and their babies when cervical insufficiency occurs by remaining calm and as stress free as possible. Stress is one of the major reasons that cervical insufficiency occurs. When we are stressed, our body goes into the “fight or flight” response, releasing brain chemicals and adrenal hormones in preparation for “battle”. As previously stated, these chemicals soften the cervix and prepare it for the passage of the baby. Sometimes we are not even aware that we are stressed; we may call it being “busy” or “worried”. But the response is the same.

So again, how can mamas remain calm and really “rest” while on Bedrest?

  1. Join our Facebook Community. We are now 500 strong and growing every day! Our community is all about support and sharing ideas, tips and tools for surviving bed rest and delivering healthy babies. Also, as previously stated in recent blog posts, community or being in community has been found to be a potent predictor for pregnancy outcomes. Women in community and with a strong support system fare better and seem to have a lower risk of complications than do women who are isolated and have limited support.
  2. Participate in Mamas Bookclub. We started a book club last fall and this month’s read is Girl Gone by Gillian Flynn. It is a suspense thriller about a woman who goes missing and how her husband is the suspect in her disappearance. We are scheduled to discuss the book on the facebook page the week of January 21, 2013. (Yikes, I’d better get reading!)
  3. Mama’s Meditation. Root Mama Freya Morani holds a weekly meditation for mamas on Saturday mornings, 9:30 am – 9:50 am Central Time.  Here is the description,
    “Join us for a free guided meditation call designed just for pregnant women. Mama’s Meditation will provide relaxation tools, breathing techniques and practical tips every Saturday at 9:30 am Central. Find a quiet place in your home, brew a nice cup of tea, and call-in to participate in a relaxing meditation call.”

Relax and Enjoy Mamas and know that all is as it should be!

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