When every part of your pregnant body is achy, itchy, swollen, and tired, having unfettered time to just relax and stay in bed sounds like a godsend. The idea of no one asking you to refill their sippy cup, unlimited time to just read, watch trashy TV, or sleep as long as you want can sound like the cure that would ail you —literally— if you were on bed rest. But what is it really like to be under the covers all day, every day? Well, we asked, and
12 moms described what it’s like to be on bed rest. Their answers will likely surprise you (unless you happen to be on bed rest while you're reading this).
During pregnancy, some women might be advised to go on bed rest, a prescription that can be both a blessing… and a curse.
“Bed rest is most commonly used for premature labor and high blood pressure,” OB/GYN
Dr. Kim Langdon, M.D. tells Romper in an email. “Other times, it might be due to conditions that involve placental problems such as placenta previa.”
Bed rest can be prescribed at any point in pregnancy, and if your situation is severe,
you might be bed-bound at the hospital, What To Expect explained.
bed rest hasn’t been proven as an effective means to stop preterm labor, or even slow down an early delivery, according to the Mayo Clinic. “If a patient is spotting during the first trimester, we tell them to reduce activities or advise bed rest, even though there is no evidence that you can stop a miscarriage that way,” Dr. Langdon says. And being on activity restriction can also create additional health risks, too, such as bone loss, decreased muscle function, a disruption in your sleep cycle, and even depression, a study published in Science Daily reported.
Still, in the best interest of both you and your baby, you might need to go on bed rest at some point during your pregnancy. If you’re wondering what it’s like, just listen to these moms who have been on bed rest, too.
“Bed rest drove me bonkers. It’s not what you’d imagine it to be like at all. I couldn’t stop thinking about all the things that I had to do, and I wrote lists of everything that needed to be done. It felt almost like a jail cell, and I felt trapped and envious of other moms-to-be and how they could run marathons, like, up until they gave birth, and I needed permission just to pee.”
“I actually felt more tired on bed rest. There’s only so many hours you can sleep, after all. I racked up more bills doing online shopping than anything else.”
“I had a lot of aches and pains during bed rest. It made my back ache so badly that I had a hard time getting up when I was able to go pee. I binge-watched some programs I wasn’t ever able to watch before, but that gets old after a while. The days just went by so slowly.”
“I’m not going to lie; I was kind of excited to be prescribed bed rest. I wanted to stop working, and so when my OB/GYN prescribed bed rest as a way to deal with my preeclampsia, I was thrilled. Fast forward a few weeks, and I was ready to tear my hair out. It’s so effing boring.”
“I loved it. I didn’t have restrictive bed rest, meaning that I was able to get up from time to time and stretch, go for very short walks, but I couldn’t do anything excessive. It was a much-needed break, and my hubby took good care of me. I know I was lucky then, but now I have a baby who has colic and never sleeps, so somehow the universe balanced itself out.”
“I was diagnosed with placenta previa, and my ob was concerned about preterm labor, so I was told to go on bed rest. It takes a lot mentally to be in bed that long. People would say all the time, ‘How lucky are you that you can sleep and eat whenever you want?’ almost like they were jealous. Meanwhile, I was doing everything to maintain my sanity, because you can seriously lose it when you’re stuck in one place for that long.”
“I’m a very independent person, and bed rest took away any self-autonomy that I had. Pregnancy makes some women feel empowered, and others think that they’ve lost control over their lives. I felt that way, too, like I couldn’t do anything without getting the okay from my doctor. I was glad when I went into labor and had the baby.”
“I was stuck in the hospital for three weeks on strict bed rest while they monitored me. I felt like my muscles were atrophying, but I was probably just really stiff. I felt isolated from the rest of my family, and being stuck in the hospital is no joke. Just keeping the baby’s well-being at the forefront of my mind helped me to stay calm, and every little kick told me that she was okay.”
“As much as I might have wanted a break from my fam, I didn’t want that much of a break. I would hear them playing or laughing together downstairs, and I felt so left out. I think my partner was trying to be kind keeping the kids away so I could rest, but it just made me feel even more lonely.”
“I slept. A lot. And compared to the amount of sleep I get now (which is almost non-existent with a teething 6 month-old), I feel like I should have not taken it for granted.”
“Thankfully, I was on a modified bed rest, so I was able to be at home. But I was only allowed to get up to go to the bathroom or take a quick shower. And the realization that you can’t get up for fear of going into labor too soon is frightening, because it means that you could potentially harm your baby just by wanting to go to the supermarket. While it was probably supposed to be relaxing, I found it stressful.”
“There was already so much stress in our house with the second baby coming, and then for me to go on bed rest meant that the weight of it all fell on my husband. I felt so much guilt that sometimes I would try to sneak out of bed to help do something quick and easy around the house, like cook, but I was always sent back to my room, like a 3 year-old in time out.”
Going on bed rest during your pregnancy might not have been something that you planned to do. And even though it might seem like the ultimate staycation for a momma-to-be, bed rest can be challenging, too. So grab some books and that remote control, sink into the sheets, and try to maintain a positive attitude while you’re on bed rest. All too soon, you’ll be bleary-eyed with a newborn and you might find yourself longing for the days when you and your bed were BFFs.
Study cited: Maloni, J. “Bed rest can harm, instead of help, in pregnancy complications, research suggests.” 2010 https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/10/101029121744.htm Experts: Dr. Kim Langdon, M.D., an OB/GYN