Mamas on Bedrest: Am I a Bedrest “Benedict Arnold”?

January 12th, 2015

Good Morning Mamas!

Last week I had the pleasure to be interviewed for a podcast and I think I shocked the interviewer when I lead off with,

“I must begin by saying that bed rest is not an evidence based treatment, meaning that there is no scientific or medical proof that bed rest prolongs pregnancy or prevents poor birth outcomes.”

I know that I freaked out the interviewer a bit and she quickly moved the conversation onto indications for bed rest and what women should look for, and if there is anything that mamas can do to prevent being put on bed rest. I had to smile to myself.

I know that my stance on bedrest is unique and to some, it may seem like I am a “Benedict Arnold” when it comes to bed rest. So I want to clear the air. I never professed to be a proponent of bed rest. I am, always have been and always will be a staunch supporter of pregnant mamas! My sole mission in life is to ensure that every pregnant mama has all the tools, information and support that she needs to be able to have a healthy pregnancy. I chose to focus on Mamas on Bedrest after having 2 very high risk pregnancies myself and finding no support online, in the literature or in my local community. But let me reiterate: I am not one to run about saying that women should be put on bed rest. Nope. My goal is to provide the best care and support possible to pregnant women on prescribed bed rest, but to ultimately to be “put out of the bed rest business” because bed rest is no longer needed.

So does this mean that I think women should ignore their bed rest prescriptions? Absolutely not! When a woman begins prenatal care with an obstetrician or midwife, she enters into a legal agreement where the health care provider agrees to do everything within his/her professional expertise and within the accepted medical practices to ensure she has a safe and uncomplicated pregnancy and ends up with a healthy baby. Mamas on the other hand, agree to follow the guidance and instructions of their healthcare provider, working in concert with them to ensure that they have safe uncomplicated pregnancies and healthy babies at birth. If your health care provider recommends that you go on bed rest, you should go on bed rest. Why? Because they believe that is the best way that they can take care of you and your baby, and that is what you are paying them to do! So evidence based or not, you must abide by your agreement and follow the instructions of your health care provider.

Now that is not to say that you can’t ask questions. Ask your health care provider why they want to put you on bed rest? Is it strict bed rest or modified activity? Can you sit on the sofa or are you restricted to bed? What do they hope will happen with you being on bed rest? Yes, a healthy term pregnancy, but what else? What are the potential complications of being on bed rest? Of your condition?? Mamas, you must be an integral part of your health care team, and that means being fully informed about all that is going on.

So I hope this clears the air. I am not a proponent of bed rest and I do hope that it is abolished in favor of targeted treatments for the conditions for which bed rest is prescribed. New tests and treatments are already available for the detection and screening of pre-eclampsia  and incompetent cervix or cervical insufficiency.  Hopefully other tests and treatments for other conditions are in the research pipelines. For now, many obstetricians and gynecologists still prescribe bed rest and if yours is one of them, heed their instructions and come to Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond for support to thrive on your bed rest journey!

Got questions about your bed rest journey? Comments about this post? Post them below in the comments section. We’d love to hear from you.

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