Bed Rest Or Activity Restriction During Pregnancy

If you have been ordered off feet and bed rest, catch up on your sleep and delegate the chores to your partner. Although bed rest is the best way to head off any pregnancy complications, it is not simple or pleasant to spend time on the bed.

Staying in bed may sound like a dream come true – no job hassles, no errands to run – but if you have to be in bed for long on doctor’s orders, bed rest day after day isn’t a luxury but becomes a necessity.


Why Is Bed Rest Recommended?

Bed rest or activity restriction can be different to different doctors. It can vary from getting off your feet to a hospital stay. An estimated 20% of pregnancies in the US are prescribed activity restriction. When you get an order from your doctor to reduce the activity levels and take bed rest it can be due to many reasons.

  • Blood pressure which can include preeclampsia
  • Early dilation of cervix
  • Premature labor
  • Multiple pregnancies
  • Problems with placenta – placenta previa, placental abruption
  • Abnormal bleeding
  • Previous history of miscarriage

The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine (SMFM) do not recommend traditional bed rest. It also states that there is no evidence to actually prevent or treat any pregnancy complications. But that doesn’t mean your doctor will not ask you to refrain from some activities.


The kind of bed rest and the time you need to rest depend on your underlying condition. It can vary over the course of your pregnancy as well. If your doctor sees any improvement in your condition, you may be allowed to move around.

When you have been advised a minimal bed rest, it means – sit on the bed with feet up as much as possible, not lift heavy stuff, avoid household chores, no stress whatsoever.


Another level of bed rest is when the doctor allows you to sit up in the bed or recliner feet up with minimal walk. Only a quick shower and walks to the bathroom would be allowed.

The more serious level of bed rest is when the doctor would advise you complete bed rest – lie on your side and not move out of the bed at all. You would be asked to get hospitalized.


Downsides Of Bed Rest And Staying Healthy

When you realize the activities that appealed to you have lost pretty quickly, the reality strikes. Being in bed can be tiresome, emotionally draining, and boring. How do you cope with it? Prolonged inactivity could lead to back and hip pain, skin irritation, blood clots in the legs, muscle atrophy, decreased appetite, and maternal weight loss.

Staying healthy during activity restriction is very important. After consulting your doctor about the extent of your restriction, you can keep your body and mind healthy. You should monitor what you eat, and drink lots of water to stay hydrated. Staying put in bed could drive you crazy. There are many things to do which you love that can keep your mind occupied and not make you feel depressed.

  • Hobbies can help you kill time
  • Go on binge-watching your favorite shows
  • Read books
  • Organize photo albums
  • Surf online and get more information on pregnancy
  • Participate in parenting forums and make new friends
  • Prepare for baby by shopping online
  • Start writing a journal
  • Schedule your day ahead and feel accomplished

You are starting the parenting process a little earlier than most and doing the best for your baby, even when you feel bed rest is not totally fun. Remember, with consistent efforts and help from your partner, doctor, family, and friends you will reach the finish line very fast.