Bedrest support

Mamas on Bedrest: Additional Resources to Accompany “Hormonal Physiology of Pregnancy” Podcast

January 20th, 2015

Greetings Mamas!

CC.NPWF.HPoC.Report.thumbnailI hope that you have had a chance to listen to our podcast interview with Ms. Carol Sakala, Director of Chilbirth Connection Programs for the National Partnership for Women and Families. In this podcast, Ms. Sakala shares with us the latest comprehensive report put out by Childbirth Connection entitled Hormonal Physiology of Childbearing: Evidence and Implications for Women, Babies, and Maternity Care. This report outlines the hormonal physiology of pregnancy and childbirth and shows how many of the common interventions used during labor and delivery in the United States are not only detrimental to this delicate hormonal balance between mamas and babies, but potentially harmful to them both. They offer practice recommendations for clinicians as well as tips and tools for patients.

There are many documents that both patients and clinicians can download and print for free. These documents are available on the Childbirth Connection website. Below is a very informative infographic which shows the hormonal systems of pregnancy and how many of the common interventions used here in the United States are impairing those systems. It too is available for download and free for clinicians and patients to share. There is also an infographic with more detailed information for clinicians.

CC.NPWF.HPoC.Infographic.Women.2015

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.

Mamas on Bedrest: Care for your legs to prevent blood clots

May 23rd, 2014

Greetings Mamas!!

TGIF and Happy Memorial Day weekend! This weekend marks the official start of summer in many areas of the northerm hemisphere. As promised, below you will find resources for taking great care of your legs to prevent blood clots from forming while on bed rest. I am giving a HUGE shout out to Mama on Bedrest Sarah for posing the following question to me on our community Facebook Page:

“Any suggestions as alternatives for compression stockings? I can’t do anything that increases abdominal pressure but can’t afford the compression stockings. I do get up several times a day but only to get water and use the bathroom. But I’m still worried about dvt.”

This is a FANTASTIC question and one that all Mamas on Bedrest should be concerned about. Pregnancy in and of itself increases a woman’s risk of developing a blood clot in her legs due to elevated levels of estrogen which enhance blood clotting. (Same thing they worry about when women are on the pill!) Add in bed rest inactivity and Mamas on Bedrest are prime candidates for deep venous thrombosis (DVT) or blood clots to form in the legs and then travel to the heart, lungs or brain to do deadly damage.

Sarah was prescribed compression stockings and that is an excellent recommendation-except they are expensive. Compression stockings can cost anywhere from about $80 on up. They are typically only available by prescription. So what is Sarah and other Mamas like her to do?

1. Exercises. I produced an entire video blog showing how to do leg exercises on bed rest as well as how to massage the lower legs.

2. Massage. While rubbing your own legs is good, Oh much better it feels to have someone do it for you! If your partner is willing, have him/her gently massage your lower legs. (see vlog for details). If you have access to a prenatal massage therapist in your area, or a really good massage therapist who knows lymphatic drainage techniques, a professional massage would be even better!

3. Support hose. Now I can’t speak for other areas of the country, but it is heating up here in Texas and the thought of wearing compression stockings or even support hose is daunting. However, if they are lifesaving-what’s a bit of heat? Sarah mentioned that she could not afford the compression stockings. However, she could do the next best things and wear support hose. These do place a bit of a squeeze on the legs, but not nearly the amount of pressure Compression stockings do. Hence, they are cheaper. Good brands that I know of are Gold Toe and Jobst. I highly recommend ordering products from Special Addition Maternity and Nursing boutique here in Austin if you can’t find products in your locale. They have an entire online shop and you can actually call and they can help you get fitted OVER THE PHONE!!! They can tell you (or a friend or family member) how to measure your legs and then help you select products that will suit your needs and purse!

4. Drink plenty of water. Contrary to what you may be thinking, Staying hydrated will actually help reduce swelling. You body won’t feel like it needs water and hold onto water so tightly (i.e. swell). Also, lowering or avoiding salt altogether is also helpful.

5. Make sure your prenatal supplements are really working for you and your legs in particular. Leg cramps, restless legs and blood clots are all very common during pregnancy. When you have the proper balance of vitamins and minerals in your diet, you are less likely to experience these leg problems or you will experience them to a lesser degree. To avoid leg cramps, restless leg syndrome and blood clots, make sure you have plenty of the following nutrients in your diet:

Calcium. Calcium aids in muscle relaxation allowing certain molecules into your muscle tissue.

Magnesium. Like Calcium, magnesium also aids in muscle relaxation and works in concert with Calcium. Many vitamins will include both minerals either in a 2 to l ratio (Calcium to Magnesium) or will have the minerals present in equal amounts.

Vitamin D. Vitamin D aids in calcium absorption as well as decreases overall inflammation that may be occurring. While many prenatal vitamins contain vitamin D, few if any meet the newly suggested requirements of up to 4000IU recommended by the March of Dimes and the Institute of Medicine for pregnant women.

Fish Oils-Fish oils contain essential Omega 3 and Omega 6 Fatty Acids which help prevent blood clots. However, if you have any sort of clotting disorder or bleeding disorder, you may need to avoid this supplement. Check with your doctor to see if it is safe for you to take fish oils.

Was this information helpful to you? If so, let me know in the comments section below. Do you have other tips and solutions to leg problems during pregnancy? Submit those in the comments section below as well. If you have specific questions, feel free to e-mail me at info@mamasonbedrest.com. If you want to discuss more, you can schedule a Complimentary 30min Bedrest Breakthrough session. 

Be well Mamas and Happy Memorial Day (In the US!!)