Types of Bed Rest
Types of Bed Rest Prescribed by Doctors
In the hopes of preventing full bed rest later, some practitioners ask that moms-to-be with certain risk factors (such as multiples or advanced maternal age) rest for a prescribed amount of time every day. The recommendation may be to sit with your feet up or lie down (better yet, nap!) for two hours at the end of every workday or rest for an hour, lying down on your side for every four hours you are awake. Some practitioners may ask you to simply shorten your workday in your third trimester and restrict activities such as exercise, stair-climbing, and walking or standing for extended lengths of time.
With modified bed rest, you’re generally prohibited from working, driving, and doing household chores (yay!). Sitting up at your desk to surf the Web is okay (especially this site!), as is standing just long enough to make yourself a turkey sandwich or take a shower. You may even be granted one night a week to go out to a movie, as long as it doesn’t involve a long walk or any stairs. Women on modified bed rest may split their day between the couch and the bed, but going up or down stairs should be kept to a minimum.
This usually means you need to be horizontal all day except for bathroom trips and a brief shower (a tepid bath is preferred). If there are stairs in your house, you’re going to have to pick a floor and stay there. (Some women will be allowed to make a roundtrip once a day; for others it might be once a week.) And your partner (or your mom or a friend or the person you hire to help you) is going to have to make sure that the chores are getting done and that you have all you need to get by for the day. This may mean keeping a cooler or a mini-fridge with breakfast, lunch, dinner, and lots of healthy snacks by the side of your bed.
If you need constant monitoring as well as IV drugs because preterm labor has already begun, you will be admitted to the hospital. And if your labor is successfully stalled, you may need to extend your hospital stay to ensure total bed rest. Mothers of supertwins (triplets plus) may be put on hospital bed rest as a matter of course. Your bed may even be positioned at a slight angle (feet higher than head) so that gravity can help keep your babies growing in your womb for as long as possible.