Fetal Health

Mamas on Bedrest: November is Prematurity Awareness Month

November 6th, 2013

November is Prematurity Awareness month.

In this video blog, Bedrest Coach Darline Turner highlights the importance of this campaign initiated by the March of Dimes to raise awareness of and to reduce preterm labor and premature births. The March of Dimes does an excellent job of presenting the statistics regarding prematurity and offering some solutions to slow and reverse the occurence of preterm births. Darline highlights these statistics but also emphasizes the need for increased support and compassion towards women who have high risk pregnancies. As any Mama on Bedrest can tell you, there is not any sort of regular support for high risk pregnant women and when a mama is put on bed rest, life comes to a grinding halt and there are few if any resources available to help a mama and her family keep life on track. This is where Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond is striving to make a difference; to alleviate the logistical as well as the emotional fall out that occurs when a mama is placed on bed rest with a supportive community and educational tools and resources. So while it is crucial that we all are aware of and understand the largeness of the prematurity issue, its also important not to forget that in the midst of the numbers and research going towards alleviating the causes of preterm labor and prematurity, we cannot forget the human side-the necessary care and compassion that must be bestowed upon mamas and their families.

Mamas on Bedrest: What Do You Mean, I Manifested This??

September 4th, 2013

I love Facebook.

Its a great way to connect and keep up with friends and family near and far. But sometimes there is stuff posted that makes me say, “What the F—?”

Case in point. I was reading a friend’s post and she was saying how she had had this interaction with another woman who was nasty to her and she didn’t understand why. Another friend replied with, “You drew her to you. You draw in what you yourself need to face within yourself. What is it that you need to learn?”

Really??

When I read such statements, I always bring them back to Mamas on Bedrest. So, if you are a Mama on Bedrest, you drew this situation in, and somehow made it manifest in your life? You wanted to be on bed rest? In the case of our fellow mama Amber, she drew in having pre-eclampsia so severe that she and her baby almost perished? Really???

I want to make one thing abundantly clear-AGAIN! Most (if not all) mamas DON’T CAUSE THEIR BED REST PRESCRIPTIONS! Mamas, you’ve done nothing wrong and BEING ON BED REST IS NOT YOUR FAULT! (of course there are mamas who have engaged in behaviors that are not in their best interests or the best interests of their babies, but the mamas I’ve encountered here do not fall in that category!)

That being said, I do believe in a higher power, God if you will. I do believe that there are forces at work that we can neither see nor readily perceive that are acting in/on the world. I don’t believe that we can necessarily control these forces (i.e. how can anyone control an earthquake, a tsunami, pre-term labor or other calamity?). But we can control how we respond to them and how we behave going forward once we are aware of certain occurrences.

In response to a question posed at a live presentation, Marianne Williamson gave what I think is an excellent response to those things seemingly out of control. The person in the audience asked, “If children are starving, did they somehow manifest their situation?”

Here is a paraphrase Ms. Williamson’s response,

It is a perversion on our part to somehow insinuate that poor children somehow caused their poverty and hunger. These children are the innocent victims of wars, government struggles and famines. However, there are enough resources on this planet such that every child should have food and shelter. The fact there are large numbers of poor, starving children is not so much an indication of the mind/heart of the children, but those of us who are aware of the problem and how we respond.

So how are you going to respond, Mamas?

I don’t believe that we create each and every situation that happens in our lives, most especially a complicated pregnancy requiring bed rest. But we can control how we respond to the situation. Are you going to get all wound up and make the situation worse? Or are you going to use the situation to learn to ask for help? Are you going to use the time to take exquisite care of yourselves and your babies or try and push yourself in unhealthy ways? The situation takes on a decidedly different meaning when we turn away from, “This has happened and there is nothing that I can do to change it” to “This has happened, now how am I going to work with it and use it to my advantage?”

Blame and self denegration is rarely if ever helpful. Even if you have done something wrong; whether it be during your pregnancy or in an interaction with another person, beating yourself up about the situation is not helpful. Rather, acknowledge what has happened, then do what you can to resolve the situation in the most positive way possible.

 

Mamas on Bedrest: The End of Bed Rest?

June 21st, 2013

Mamas on Bedrest,

There is no medical or scientific evidence that the bed rest prescription prolongs pregnancy, prevents preterm labor or ameliorates any of the conditions for which it is prescribed. The fact that bed rest is prescribed in the face of these facts goes against the medical covenant into which health care providers enter when they swear to uphold the Hippocratic Oath as they receive their credentialing. As medical treatments and technologies evolve and improve, obstetricians and gynecologists themselves are beginning to question this commonly prescribed treatment that has the potential to do more harm than good.

In the June issue of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, McCall et. al and Joseph Biggio, MD review the practice of bed rest and conclude that bed rest is not an evidence based practice, has the potential to cause harm to mamas and babies and they recommend that the practice be discontinued-immediately.

This is a HUGE shift (okay, one that is taking place) in the position of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. To date, ACOG has held tenaciously to bed rest, citing the thousands of “successful” pregnancies and births as a result of the practice. However, obstetricians have ignored the negative consequences of bed rest; the potential for blood clot development and embolism, bone loss, muscle loss and depression. Additionally, the health care community has long ignored the impact that the bed rest prescription has on a woman’s family, her job/career, her finances and overall emotional well being. The focus has always been, “this is what is best for the baby-to ensure a full term outcome.” McCall et al show via an extensive review of the literature that bed rest does not ensure a positive birth outcome and noted that women who were put on bed rest are more likely to suffer the aforementioned complications and not necessarily deliver a full term infant.

Dr. Biggio accurately states in his editorial that we regard mamas and babies as separate entities; “bed rest will improve the birth outcomes for the baby”, yet we completely disregard the impact that bed rest has on mamas. Additionally, (and I believe that this is the brilliance in his statement!) mamas and their babies are most intimately connected. To regard the health and well being of one without considering the health and well being of the other is short sighted. And in view of the Hippocratic Oath, bed rest is actually “doing harm”.

Both publications accurately state that the advances in prenatal screening and treatments enable health care professionals to evaluate the status of mamas and babies and intervene as necessary. Hence, placing them on bed rest-often prophylactically-can be at the least irresponsible and at best unjust and a form of malpractice.

While it is not yet clear the direction American obstetricians and gynecologists will go with high risk pregnancies, change is definitely on the horizon. Rest assured, we here at Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond will keep our eyes and ears open and report any changes in obstetrical practices as soon as they are available.

In the meantime, know that Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond will continue to support Mamas on Bedrest and will evolve our practice and services to continue to meet the needs of high risk pregnant mamas.

What are your thoughts on this bed rest debate mamas? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!!