Many women are put on bed rest to avoid pregnancy complications. As scary as it may sound, it's a pretty common practice to ensure the well-being of both mother and baby. Many women hate the idea of having to lay horizontal for days, weeks, and sometimes months on end because it can get pretty boring. In an effort to find something to do besides reading magazines and watching Netflix, a woman might consider pleasuring herself. But can you masturbate on bed rest? It depends on why you're on bed rest in the first place.
Deena Blumenfeld of Shining Light Prenatal Education who is a Lamaze Certified Childbirth Educator (LCCE) and Fellow of American College of Childbirth Educators (FACCE), tells Romper that bed rest is prescribed to mothers for a number of reasons. Additionally, the time a woman spends on bed rest as well as, the type of bed rest will vary. Doctors determine the need for bed rest based on past history and current medical status. For women who are on "bed rest due to twins or multiples, gestational diabetes, fetal development issues, previous stillbirth and so on, masturbation shouldn't be an issue," Blumenfeld says.
Masturbation isn't considered super strenuous, which is a good thing for moms on bed rest. According to American Pregnancy, women on bed rest are often advised not to do physical activities like exercise and heavy lifting. In some cases, women are advised not to cook, clean, drive, or have sex (bummer). Masturbation or having a partner that pleasures you (without sexual intercourse) is a nice alternative to sex.
Unfortunately, bed rest masturbation is not allowed for everyone. "If a woman is told to stay in bed due to vaginal bleeding, preterm labor, early cervical changes (incompetent cervix, effacement), high blood pressure or preeclampsia or placental abruption, masturbation would likely be unwise," Blumenfeld says. She explains that, "during orgasm, the blood flow to the genitals increases and the uterus does contract. Her blood pressure rises with excitement." Basically, masturbation could make any existing conditions worse.
Blumenfeld advises women to talk to their doctor or midwife and ask if masturbation is OK. Additionally, Blumenfeld recommends that a woman, "ask specifically about clitoral stimulation versus inserting a dildo or vibrator into her vagina. Sometimes one may cause issues, but not the other. Other times, they both may be an issue so she should refrain."
It's obvious that every case of bed rest is unique. Being informed about your specific pregnancy complications is part of the story. But also being open about masturbation with your medical provider (and not embarrassed) is super important to keeping you happy and safe.