Mind Body Medicine

Mamas on Bedrest: Redefining Yourself After Bedrest

July 19th, 2013

In Today’s video blog, Bedrest Coach Darline Turner encourages Mamas on Bedrest to consider redefining themselves in light of (or in spite of ) their bed rest experiences.

Bed rest is not an easy process and most certainly not one any woman would choose for her pregnancy. However, like any trial or tribulation, the cloud can have a silver lining and this lining is what Darline challenges women to seek. Referring to former Mamas on Bedrest Rebecca Buscemi and Jessica-Lyn, Darline asks Mamas on Bedrest to redefine themselves based on their newfound strength instead of their trials.

Mamas on Bedrest: How to Climb Out of “A Pit”

July 5th, 2013

It’s the day after the 4th of July and I”m coming out of an emotional “pit”

nausea-thumbI did not do my Wednesday video blog this week. I was feeling physically lousy-PMSing, not sleeping well, worry, anxiety…  I have been feeling overwhelmed with my move from Texas- not knowing where some of my things are (in boxes here or in transit), managing remodeling projects on my house in Texas remotely, and just wanting to feel settled and being anything but settled and secure. I woke up and my brain literally did not have the mental bandwidth to put anything together. So as was once my custom, I began berating myself and telling myself all the reasons I suck. And as one would expect, I felt worse. Then I took a step back and asked myself, “What’s wrong with me? I feel as if I’m going crazy!”

First and foremost, I was tired. I had been averaging 5-6 hours of sleep and that just isn’t enough. I’m sleeping on a sofa bed at my parent’s house and while I am eternally grateful for their generosity and hospitality, I miss having my own space and being “the lady of the house.” I have been managing remodeling projects long distance on my house in Texas and that is just plain stressful. I want this all to be over, to be settled and to be moving forward with the next phase of my life.

Does any of this sound familiar?? As I tuned into what was irritating me, I realized that the pit I am in is not unlike” the pit of bed rest”. Life events are happening, my body is reacting in ways that are not helpful and I am less able to cope. I am not in control. I feel anxious over what is going to happen and those around me don’t seem to understand what I am going through.

Now don’t think that I am trying to minimize bed rest. Bed rest is a bear, and as one mama put it, “it’s like doing hard time in the slammer!” But when we fall into an emotional “pit” the steps to get out are pretty much the same-no matter if that “pit” is bed rest or life changes.

How to climb out of “A Pit”

1. Acknowledge you are in a pit. 12 Step Programs say acceptance is the first step towards healing (paraphrasing). If you accept-or as I say acknowledge- what you are feeling you can address the feelings and start the healing process.

2. Don’t judge yourself for your what you feel. Your feelings are your feelings and they are neither right or wrong. They simply are. Do we judge our children for crying when they are disappointed? Of course not! So let’s use a bit of that same compassion on ourselves.

3. Ask for What You Need to Meet your needs. For me this was easy. I was tired and that fatigue was accentuating my PMS symptoms. So I asked my mom to watch my kids for the night and I got myself some extra sleep-9 1/2 hours to be exact. I felt loads better!

Identifying your needs while on bed rest can sometimes be challenging. Is it a task that needs to be done such as  the laundry? Is it a physical need such as is your body is achy and needs relied? Do you feel lonely? Taking a moment to tease out what is causing you to fall into the pit, you can then figure out what “lifelines” are needed to help you climb out of the pit. Mamas, What do you need? Who can meet this need for you? Ask them. You will most likely be pleasantly surprised at how willing people are to do tasks for you. The key, be specific!

4. Enlist Allies. This is most critical for Mamas on Bedrest. Bed rest is really hard-both physically and emotionally. As many of you have so aptly stated, if someone has never experienced bed rest or if they’ve not known a woman with a complicated pregnancy requiring bed rest, they may not know how best to support you. They may (without guile or malice) say inappropriate things.  Find and hang with those people who understand (or are at least able to sympathize with) your situation.  A shameless piece of self promotion-join our facebook community. We are over 600 mamas strong and we share tips and information about surviving this bed rest experience. Sharing your feelings with people who truly know what you are feeling takes away many of the “freakish” feelings many Mamas on Bedrest experience. (And just for the record, I did call a good friend and shared with her what was going on, how tired I was and she too agreed that I needed to get some sleep!)

We’re all going to experience ups and downs and perhaps fall into  emotional “pits”, but we don’t have to stay there. Use these 4 tips as your lifeline and pull yourself out of any pit in which you find yourself!


Mamas on Bedrest: When Your Legs Won’t Rest

June 17th, 2013

Restless Leg Syndrome, involuntary twitching and tingling in the legs, can be a problem during pregnancy and a particular problem for Mamas on Bedrest. The increased weight as a result of pregnancy and the increased stress on the circulatory system are the major reasons that the symptoms occur. Restless Leg Syndrome is primarily relieved by changing positions and/or getting up and moving around-both options that are limited or non-existent for Mamas on Bedrest. Conditions such as pregnancy induced hypertension and pre-eclampsia often require that Mamas on Bedrest lay on their left sides to increase blood flow back to the heart from the lower extremities, relieving stress on the circulatory system. With this requirement, leg discomfort may be exacerbated with few options for relief. Restless Leg Syndrome can progress and become quite uncomfortable, limiting Mamas’ ability to rest. So how can Mamas on Bedrest manage this non-life-threatening but very annoying problem?

Massage. As previously stated in other posts, prenatal massage is an excellent way for mamas to relax tired, aching muscles during pregnancy. Because of the additional weight, mamas’ bodies shift to accommodate the weight and as a result, the musculoskeletal system shifts out of alignment creating stress on muscles, ligaments and tendons. Prenatal massage therapists are able to rub and soothe these tired, achy tissues and relieve tension, fatigue and pain.

Relaxation. Meditation, hypnosis and deep breathing can also help relieve the symptoms of restless leg syndrome. Calming the nervous system, relaxing the mind and relieving worry, stress and anxiety often relieve the tingling and twitching associated with restless leg syndrome.

Support your legs. Adequate support and positioning will go far to relieve leg pain and restless leg syndrome.  A Must have for Mamas on Bedrest is a Body Pillow, and positioning that pillow to properly support and align Mama’s body is essential. View our video on pillow positioning for a better bed rest.

Stretch. As previously stated, movement is essential to helping relieve symptoms of restless leg syndrome, yet movement for Mamas on Bedrest is limited. There are several simple stretches that mamas can do while on bed rest and we provide them on our free video channel for easy access.

Water. One reason that leg cramps and other symptoms of restless leg syndrome occur is due to dehydration. Adequate water intake is a must for all pregnant women, but especially for pregnant women with restless leg syndrome. Adequate hydration ensures that circulation flows that muscles and soft tissues are well lubricated and that muscle wastes are properly flushed away. But staying hydrated can present an additional problem for Mamas on Bedrest in that the increased fluid intake will result in increased urination. Many mamas try to limit fluid intake which only increases leg cramps, symptoms of restless leg syndrome and can increase the risk of developing a urinary tract infection. Its a delicate balance, but mamas, be sure to drink plenty of water while on bed rest.

Vitamins and Minerals. Most pregnant women are prescribed prenatal vitamins, but many of these vitamins only provide the minimum amounts of vital nutrients necessary to sustain pregnancy and mama and baby may need more. There have recently been several studies and articles published documenting the functional amounts of vitamins and nutrients that are needed to ensure that mama is getting all that she needs to remain healthy, for healthy development of the fetus and to sustain the pregnancy. Mamas with restless leg syndrome may be low on potassium or calcium. While it is not advised that mamas take mega doses of vitamins, ensuring that there is adequate, functional levels of vitamins and minerals will help prevent some of the twitching and discomfort of restless leg syndrome. In addition to prenatal vitamins, mamas may want to add or increase bananas-a good source of potassium-and calcium fortified orange juice and green leafy vegetable (also good sources of calcium) to their diets.

Restless Leg Syndrome can be an annoyance, but it needn’t incapacitate Mamas on Bedrest. Implementing the few tips above can go along way to relief and a bed rest free from leg cramps, twitching and tingling. 


Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond would like to thank Tammy Mahan, a contributing writer to Healthline.com, for sharing the perils and pearls of Restless Leg Syndrome with us.