While the vast majority of pregnant women experience no complications, a sizable minority does. Typically, about one in five pregnancies are high risk enough to warrant a doctor prescribing bed rest for part or all of the duration of a pregnancy. A pregnancy bed rest is often recommended if the woman has a history of pregnancy problem, or if she is expecting multiples. Resting in bed can help your pregnancy if you are facing problems like high blood pressure, vaginal bleeding, or premature labor.
Depending on the severity of your condition, your doctor might prescribe bed rest for as little as a few days, or as much as the bulk of your pregnancy. In most cases, a pregnancy bed rest can be done at your home, but in a few more serious cases, you might spend it at a hospital so you can be monitored more closely. While unlimited rest may sound wonderful to many busy, overstressed women, most find that after just a few days of resting in bed, they are feeling bored and uncomfortable.
You might be prescribed partial bed rest, which means you need to stay at home, but can participate in some limited activity, like taking a shower, having dinner with your family, or making lunch for yourself. Since resting in bed helps pregnancy, especially if there might be serious complications, you might be instructed to do 24-hour bed rest, which means that you must stay in bed all of the time. Depending on the situation, you might be able to get up and use the bathroom, although some women are instructed to use a bed pan.
If you've been instructed to rest in bed during pregnancy, you will most likely be instructed to lie on your side. Since this can become uncomfortable over time, you can alleviate some of this simply by changing sides every now and then. This has the added benefit of improving your circulation.
Even though most doctors believe that bed rest helps pregnancy, there is not much good research to show just how effective it can be for various conditions. Unfortunately, the research that has been done has sometimes been quite contradictory. While some research suggests that bed rest can help prevent premature labor, some actually claims the opposite; resting in bed during pregnancy might actually increase the chances of premature birth.
With such conflicting information, it can be hard to decide what to do. Even a lot of health care practitioners disagree on just how much bed rest helps pregnancy. Your best option is to be honest with your doctor if you have any concerns. Make sure you understand exactly why this method is being prescribed, and be sure to get specific information on exactly what you can and can't do.
More and more practitioners are moving away from complete confinement to a modified approach, in which you combine rest with carefully chosen and regulated activity. Keep in mind that your doctor wants to do everything possible so you have an easier pregnancy and deliver a healthy baby.