I once went to visit a friend when she was on bed rest, and thought she had a pretty sweet set up. Her feet were kicked up on a pile of pillows while she watched movies, and next to her bed was a tray with food and drinks. There was a pile of magazines and books on the floor and she had a lavender candle burning on a side table. "Not too shabby," I said with a smile — which I would soon learn was a mistake. My perception of her situation is one of the myths about bed rest, that any woman who has been there will tell you, is no picnic.
The truth is, bed rest is no vacation, stay-cation, or escape from everyday life. All of your responsibilities are still very real and the fact that you can't be out in the world is enough to drive some people crazy. The toll it takes both mentally and physically has caused a great deal of debate among doctors as to whether or not prescribing bed rest for pregnant women is necessary at all. In some extreme cases it still seems to be the best option, but in the majority of women, other options may be more viable.
To understand more about what bed rest can and cannot do for expectant mothers, check out these seven myths, dispelled to set the record straight.
Myth #1: It's A Nice Break
I won't lie, sometimes I dream of lying in bed all day. (OK, lots of times, but who's counting?) But the truth is, bed rest is not a day at the spa. As Mayo Clinic pointed out, being on bed rest can increase challenges in your daily life. It can effect everything from work to caring for your family, and is not the stay-cation people may believe bed rest to be.
Myth #2: It's The Same For Everyone
Even though it seems pretty straight forward, bed rest is not the same for all mamas. According to the website for the American Pregnancy Association, "bed rest will differ from woman to woman and may range from simple periodic resting at home to full bed rest with monitoring in a hospital."
Myth #3: It Always Happens With Multiples
Although having multiples may increase your chance to be put on bed rest, it's not the case for all mothers carrying more than one baby. Typically, bed rest is only prescribed for a multiple birth if the pregnancy has other risk factors, according to Kid's Health.
Myth #4: All Doctors Recommend It
Not all doctors see eye to eye on prescribing bed rest for pregnant women. As Parents magazine reported, doctors don't agree on the effectiveness of bedrest, because there is not a universal belief that it always reduces symptoms or risks.
Myth #5: It Stops Preterm Birth
Once believed to be the answer to halting early labor and delivery, years of results are saying different. Experts conclude that bed rest has not been shown to prevent preterm birth, according to Baby Center. In fact, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine say bed rest is not recommended for women with this symptom.
Myth #6: There Are No Side Effects
Aside from boredom and cabin fever, some people think there are no long term effects from bed rest. However, Fit Pregnancy pointed out that muscle atrophy and calcium loss in the bones can occur in women who have been put on bed rest.
Myth #7: You Won't Be Able To Prepare For Baby
The image of being in bed may paint a picture of not being able to get any preparing done for the baby. But thanks to the internet, you can manage your registry, email doctors, and order birth announcements online, as What To Expect's website suggested. Grab your laptop and get to work.