I was working with my awesome client Laura the other day, who is 28 weeks pregnant with twins. About five weeks ago, her cervix started to dilate and she had to have it sewn up. This left her bed-bound for the remainder of her pregnancy.
She has such an amazing attitude and has been such a good sport about it all that I asked her to collaborate with me on a post about how to survive bed rest. Over the many years that I have supported woman through fertility, pregnancy and childbirth, I have also helped tons get through bed rest.
It can be understandably challenging, uncomfortable and frustrating at times. Both mine and Laura’s intention for writing this is to help ease some of the discomfort and find some sense of peace while on bed rest. (And of course, there are different levels of bed rest, so please modify and tailor for where ever you are in your process.)
1. Come up with a daily schedule. Get up at a the same time everyday, eat at a regular time, have visitors come at certain hour of the day. Try to keep some sense of consistency – this helps to breaks up the day.
2. Shower or bathe every day if you can. Get dressed in day clothes, brush your hair, make your self look presentable. It’s the “look good, feel good” mentality.
3. Make your bed each morning when you get up. A client of mine used to have a day time comforter and would change it when it got dark to a night time one to help divide up the day and night.
4. During the day, open windows and blinds to get fresh air and sun or natural lighting in the room.
5. Keep fresh flowers all around the room. Nothing brightens up a room more then a beautiful vase full of brightly-colored flowers.
6. Set up different areas in the house to lay around in – so you feel like you are in different environments.
7. Schedule visitors as often as you like. It’s important to make sure to keep in touch with the outside world so you don’t feel isolated. We live in a time where it is easy to say in touch with the everyone. There are cell phones, computers, email, text, Skype, Facebook, Twitter … the list is endless. It’s good for you to stay connected.
8. Ask for help. Your friends and family will all ask and want to be there for you, let them. Not only will it help you but it will make them feel good to be able to do things for you.
9. Put together a file of local take out and delivery service in your area.
10. If you can, try to get weekly massages for circulation and body aches.
11. Read parenting books, because when the baby comes you mostly likely won’t have a lot of free time. Use this time to get ahead of the game.
12. THANK GOD for online shopping!!! A true blessing during bed rest! It’s so awesome these days that you can buy everything you need for your baby online without ever leaving your house.
13. This is a great time to study something new, start a new project or do some kind of arts and crafts. A client of mine that was on bed rest in the hospital got one of those Rosetta Stones and became pretty fluent in Spanish by the time her baby was born. Another client started writing a book, while one of my others used to sketch, draw and paint the most gorgeous art ever!!!
14. Have yummy smelling candles burning.
15. Put ultrasound pictures of the baby in a frame next to you to remind you of the reason why you are (and need to keep) chilling in bed.
16. It’s a great time to catch up and organize bills, photos, files or stuff that you have been putting off.
17. For comfort the Leachco pregnancy pillow is a must!
18. Legs up the wall for 10 minutes per day and have partner or friends massage your legs everyday to get circulation moving.
19. Keep a heating pad handy for back pain.
20. Check out this great article by the fabulous Desi Bartlett on exercise and bed rest. Desi is a very dear friend, a doula client of mine and the most amazing fitness and yoga teacher ever who just happens to specialize in pregnancy and postpartum.
21. Get a huge calendar of the month put on wall or table next to bed, at the end of each day ” X” out the day to celebrate that you made it through and that you’re getting closer to your goal .
22. Set up a table next to bed with all your necessities (your computer, books, clicker, phone, vitamins, snacks, water, lip stuff, hand cream and whatever else you use a lot).
23. Lay on a tennis ball and massage your hips and lower back with it.
24. Honor how you feel. If you had plans for someone to come over for a visit and you’re tired and need to rest, then follow what you need and reschedule for another day.
25. Don’t be attached to feeling one way- the ups and down of pregnancy alone, never mind bed rest can be challenging to say the least. Your emotions during pregnancy are like a roller coaster so if you are having a rough day, just acknowledge it, feel it and recognize that this is how you are feeling right now. Tomorrow is a new day and you most likely will feel different. This doesn’t give the emotions too much power to over take you or keep you stuck there.
26. Surrender to what is – know that when you feel like you aren’t doing anything you really are, by staying on bed rest you are making sure your baby grows and that you both stay healthy. Fighting the way it is or has to be for this time will never help the situation but only add unneeded stress and aggravation. Know that this is just temporary and soon you will be up running around after a little one and will be craving some down time in bed Use this time to chill as it’s the calm before the storm .
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