I've spent a fair amount of time on bed rest. When I was pregnant with my second child, my anemia was out of control and my daughter didn't care — she wanted out. To attempt to keep her inside for as long as possible, so that I could receive more blood transfusions, I was told to keep to my bed and do only minimal activities each day. I learned a lot during those long weeks, mostly about the things you can't do on bed rest. While it isn't buckets of fun, it's survivable, and honestly, it just adds to the list of things to avoid during pregnancy.
Strangely enough, bed rest isn't as often prescribed as it was when I was pregnant with my daughter six years ago. This is because there are multiple risks associated with bed rest, including thromboembolism (blood clot) and related stroke, according to HealthLinkBC. Also, recent studies suggest that it might not be as effective at preventing preterm labor as previously thought, the article noted. Beyond that, compliance for bed rest tends to waiver, according to the journal Birth Issues in Prenatal Care. It's a lot harder than you think to lay about all day, even if it sounds relaxing. But, if your doctor prescribes you bed rest, it's something to listen to, and knowing these five things to avoid can help you stay as healthy as possible.
1. Lifting Anything Heavy
According to the Cleveland Clinic, lifting anything heavy is straight out when you're on bed rest. My doctor told me not to lift anything heavier than my Stephen King book or my dinner plate. (To be fair, both of those things could double as light weights. I was hungry and I love a big book.)
2. No Sex Or Foreplay
Bed rest is boring and the more bored I was, the more sex I wanted to have. Alas, I couldn't do anything about it because you can't have sex or get aroused on bed rest, according to The University of Washington Medical Center. That means no nipple touching, masturbation, oral sex, and definitely no penetration. It's the chastity belt of prescriptions.
3. Activity That Lasts More Than An Hour
The Cleveland Clinic noted that activities lasting longer than one hour are against the rules when you're on bed rest, too. That includes simple things like bathing, cleaning, cooking, and can even include sitting up, depending on the recommendation of your OB-GYN. If you have to get up to do something, you need to be back in bed or on your couch ASAP.
4. Worry Yourself Sick
This one is probably the hardest one on the list to achieve. It is our natural inclination to worry. But worrying won't help, and it will just do bad things to your blood pressure and make you want to stress eat potato chips and ice cream. Postpartum Progress reported that bed rest itself can increase your risk of depression and anxiety, so it's worth focusing on being calm and as stress-free as possible. I know — it's hard not to worry yourself into a hole. But try to remember that you're doing everything you can and being the best mom you can be.
5. Leave The House For Anything Other Than Doctor Visits
This may seem obvious, but according to the University of Washington Medical Center, it definitely needs addressing. Short trips to the doctor's office are the only acceptable trips you can take when you're on bed rest. Everything else must be eliminated. I know that I always wanted to go to Shake Shack or a quick trip to Whole Foods, but it was forbidden. By the end of bed rest, cabin fever is a real thing.
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