Bed Rest: What To Expect

What is bed rest and is it recommended?

Bed rest during pregnancy is no longer recommended for most conditions. While bed rest increases blood flow to the placenta, there is no evidence that it decreases the risk of premature birth.

In the rare situations when bed rest is recommended, it is prescribed at varying levels of activity restriction. In some cases, it means your surrogate decreasing her activity level for a period of time. She might be free to move about the house, as long as she avoids lifting children and doing heavy housework.

In other cases, bed rest guidelines are stricter. Your surrogate might need to remain in a sitting or reclining position, only getting up to use the toilet or shower. She might not be allowed to work or do even light household chores until the baby is born.

Know the rules:

If your surrogates health care provider recommends restrictions on movement during pregnancy, ask questions to make sure you and her both understand the rules.

  • Timing. Why does she need it? When will it begin? Will the restrictions be lifted if her symptoms improve?
  • Position. Is it OK to sit up? For how long? Can she climb the stairs? When she lies down does she need to use a certain position? What can she do to help prevent blood clots?
  • Activity. Is it OK to eat dinner at the table? Can she fold laundry or do other light chores? Can she drive a car? Is it OK to do gentle stretching or other types of exercise?

Coping with movement restrictions:

To make the best of the situation and to help your surrogate in this time:

  • Get organized. Make sure everything you need is within reach.
  • Beat boredom. Email, text or write letters. Organize photos or start a scrapbook. Shop for baby goods online. Read your way through the best-seller list. Learn relaxation techniques for labor.
  • Stay limber. If your health care provider approves, walk, stretch or do gentle exercises.
  • Accept help. When friends and loved ones ask what they can do, be prepared with a list of tasks — mowing the lawn, putting away groceries, building the crib, cleaning the bathroom, taking the kids to the park or keeping you company.
  • Help older kids adjust. If you have children, provide as much stability as you can — whether it’s a regular baby sitter in the morning, a favorite aunt to pick them up from school, or weekend visits from grandparents. Read books, color, or watch movies together.
  • Seek support. Check for support groups online. If you’re having trouble coping, ask your health care provider or mental health provider for additional help.
  • Expect emotional challenges. Share your fears, hopes and concerns with your partner. Let each other vent. If sex isn’t allowed, look for other ways to maintain intimacy.