Five tips to beat the bed rest blues

Pregnant woman relaxing in chair

Cropped image. Alagich Katya, Flickr. CC license.

So your doctor put you on bed rest. Now what? It may seem like a treat at first to be able to relax in bed, but that will likely get old after the first few days.

I spent the majority of my 29-week pregnancy on some form of bed rest. I started out on modified bed rest, went to full home bed rest, and then ended up spending the last two months with the wonderful nurses and staff in Beaumont’s antepartum unit.

Here are some tips and tricks to try to keep your sanity.

1. Find out from your doctor exactly what you can and cannot do physically. There are lots of reasons for being put on bed rest and you want to make sure that you are following the doctor’s orders. Knowing the parameters can help alleviate stress because you have clear expectations and understanding of your unique situation.

2. Rally the troops. Your friends and family will likely be calling you to ask what they can do to help. Let them! Make a list of the things that you need, so that way you’re able to easily give directions and stay organized from your bed. Some ideas include child care for your older children, drop offs and pick ups, cleaning, meals, grocery shopping, or even some companionship. Don’t be afraid to speak up and let people know what you need. If you don’t have friends and family nearby, try local community resources. Many senior centers, churches and local moms groups are happy to help.

3. Find support systems. It can be difficult for people who haven’t experienced bed rest to understand how stressful it can actually be. You may be feeling poorly physically; worried about your health and the health of your baby; stressed out about chores, work or money; or just downright bored out of your mind. Some web sites like Babycenter.com or WhatToExpect.com have communities for bed rest moms to vent their frustrations. There are also blogs and tons of articles out there. If you know anyone else who was previously on bed rest, reach out to them. Sometimes knowing that someone else made it through is enough to keep your thoughts going in a good direction. If you are truly feeling down, contacting a counselor, mental health professional, or spiritual advisor may help get you through.

4. Get things done. Just because you’re stuck in bed doesn’t mean you’re helpless. There are so many things that can be done online:

  • Take charge of your finances.
  • Stock up on needed baby items.
  • Make lists of people to call and send thank you notes to.
  • Reorganize your email accounts.
  • Research parenting techniques.
  • Find out about your health insurance and what it covers for you and the baby.
  • Contact an attorney to discuss your will and what changes will need to be made with your new arrival.
  • Learn something you have always wanted to learn about but never had time. Crochet? Knitting? How about a new language? Rosetta Stone can be done while in bed.

5. Stock up on entertainment. Netflix is your friend. Pick a series and go. Read silly magazines. Read a good book. Read a not so good book. Watch all the movies you’ve been meaning to watch over the last few years but never had the time. Watch game shows. Do whatever it takes to relax and get your mind off things. I watched “Law and Order” relentlessly. Never watched it before, haven’t watched it since. But it’s always on in some version or another and it took my mind off of my worries. Find the right thing for you.

And if all else fails, take a nap! You are supposed to be resting, after all.

– Sara Kuhn, is a Parenting Program participant and volunteer.

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