Mamas on Bedrest: Take One Small Step At a Time

January 21st, 2013

My Son ready to roll!

My Kids are chomping at the bit to go outside and play. They are off from school in observance of the  Martin Luther King Day Holiday. It’s a warm 70 degrees here in Austin and a perfect day to be outside. So off we’ll go.

But we are going to go slowly. Last week we were all flat out in bed at one time or another with the flu. While my kids rallied right away, I have to admit that I am still only at about 90-95% capacity. And while that’s a heck of a lot better than I was say, 5 days ago, I also know that If I over do it, I may find myself right back in bed. So rather than head out on our bikes to one of our favorite parks about 2.5 miles away, we’ll stick closer to home and go over to the elementary school park around the corner. That way, if any of us poops out, it won’t be such a struggle getting back home.

Mamas on Bedrest, I imagine that many of you are like my children; chomping at the bit to get out of bed, to see your precious angels and to get back into life. A quick look at our Facebook community shows that many of you are due in early February, just a few short weeks away. But I want to caution you against starting too fast out of the gate post partum.  While your immediate impulse after delivery will be to get up and get going, you must ease back into activity and give your body the time to readjust after being on bed rest, laboring and delivering a beautiful baby.

I recently received a call from a former mama on bed rest. She had recently given birth to her second child, no more than about 8 weeks prior. She had been on bed rest for a couple of months and had a 3 or 4 year old at home. Feeling guilty about all the time she had not been able to give her older child, she immediately dove back into her life; taking care of her home, tending to her older child all while trying to manage a newborn and establish breastfeeding. Additionally, she had had a difficult birth and as a result of pushing, she had torn her perineum. This mama really needed to have resumed bed rest post partum, for just a brief period. Instead, she tried to resume her pre-pregnancy level of activity ignoring the fact that she had been on bed rest for some 12 weeks, had had a difficult birth, was trying to breastfeed a newborn who had an erratic schedule and in general, she was physically not the woman she was prior to this pregnancy and her life was not the same as it had been prior to this pregnancy, labor and delivery.

Mamas, please be gentle with yourselves post partum. If you have been on bed rest more than about 2 weeks, you have lost muscle mass and strength. According to some studies, women who have been on bed rest 60 or more days may have suffered some bone mass loss. Your endurance is surely depleted as you have not been up and about. You’ll  find yourself easily fatigued. Go slowly, build your stamina, build your strength. Be patient with yourself as you learn your new baby’s habits and schedule. Ask others in your household to be patient as you re-adjust to family life. It will all come and soon you will run your home as seamlessly and effortlessly as you did pre-pregnancy. But for now, please just take it one step at a time and ease back into your life.

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