Alicia Adkins of Modern Family Doulas Shares Some Wisdom on Bedrest In Pregnancy
Surviving bed rest should earn you a merit badge! Not just for simply following the rules, but not injuring anyone along the way. Bed rest is not a vacation, regardless of how many people will tell you they wish they could sit around and watch Netflix all day.
No matter how far along you are in the pregnancy, suddenly being told you have to limit all your activity to a few basic tasks can be paralyzing. There’s no way you were prepared to stop everything and “rest” for the next few weeks…or several months. Questions float around like, “How will everything get done before the baby arrives?”, “What am I able to NOT do on bed rest?”, “Will my partner be able to pick up the slack?”, or “How will I survive bed rest?”
Whether it be your basic needs and wants, concerns and fears, or wanting someone to simply acknowledge that you’re still breathing, communication is key! No one is going to know, much less understand, what you need or how you feel if you aren’t telling them. Not all these needs may be met by one person. Just as you are processing a new, and extremely unexpected, phase of the pregnancy, so are those who love you.
This is a great time to connect with family and friends that don’t get as much time with you normally. They will appreciate the extra attention you’re giving them and you will enjoy their company. If someone in your family is about to become a big brother or sister, this is a great time to spend talking with them about their new role in a way that’s age appropriate.
Modify your schedule to fit your new life. Maybe you have to reinvent “date nights” or coffee with your best girlfriend. It doesn’t mean you have to give everything up, just adjust it. Sit down with your partner and figure out what’s really important for both of you during these coming weeks or months. This is a time to figure out that maybe laundry doesn’t get done as often or that you can fold as long as someone else washes. It also doesn’t mean you should continue to run at full speed filling up your calendar with “to dos”. Bed rest can also be a way to help you relieve some stress from your body by “resting”. If you’re a go-getter like me, then pumping the brakes will be hard, but definitely doable.
Our bodies weren’t made for bed rest. Some suggestion on how you can get creative are:
- Discover different activities that will both interest and challenge you to want to continue doing them, such as online games, crafts, or learning something new.
- Finding a comfy position to lay in might end up looking like an Olympic sport. Laying on your side and the use of a pregnancy pillow can make things more tolerable when your body is screaming to get up.
- Change your scenery. Bed rest doesn’t always have to be done in bed. During the day you could lounge on the sofa or even on a blanket outside in the shade, weather permitting. The fresh air will do you good!
- Have a spa day at your house. Give each other simple pedicures or hire someone to come give you and your friends manicures.
- Join a book club. Barnes and Noble have some great ideas about finding online book clubs.
- Create a snack station so you can keep several snacks and drinks close by in a cooler.
- Use a shower caddy or desk organizer to keep all you “must have” items easy to access and quickly able to move to another room
- Don’t miss the party! Bring the baby shower to you. What a great way to connect with all those who want to celebrate with you.
Don’t go overboard on the veggies:
This is pregnancy, not a jail sentence. You don’t need to punish yourself with a rainbow of veggies that you make you more nauseous than the morning sickness. Of course, you should follow whatever diet is recommended by your provider, but make sure to find out also how you can “treat” yourself during this stressful time without eating all your emotions. Keep a bottle of water handy so you can avoid dehydration in pregnancy.
You’re not being lazy! It takes some getting used to for anyone to ask someone to bring them something when just a couple weeks ago they were fully capable of doing it yourself. No matter what, though, the risk of a DIY attitude just isn’t worth it. You are on bed rest for a reason and you don’t want the guilt of something you did (or didn’t do).
Seek advice from the professionals and providers you trust. Google doesn’t have a medical degree and the internet isn’t always the best place to get medical advice. If friends and family want to help but might not have a lot of time, ask them to prep you some snacks or dinner and drop them off.
Feeling like a burden? Feeling guilty? Want to give your partner the day/night off? Hire a professional. An antepartum doula provides a number of services described above. They can help you get started on your bed rest journey or be a source of support throughout. Your doula can assist with light housework, meal and snack prep, sibling care, among other tasks. Contact my colleague, Holly Yeager, doula and owner of Lancaster Doulas for more information.
Written by: Alicia Adkins, a pre-certified labor and postpartum doula and owner of Modern Family Doulas , serving Eastern Central Florida