Many people think pregnancy bedrest is a doctor-endorsed vacation. ‘Stay in bed the whole day and get waited on hand and foot? Can I do that, too?’ However, anyone who’s actually been on bedrest knows that it can feel more like a prison sentence than a weekend at an inn. You can get bored and restless, especially after the days stretch to weeks, or even months. You miss going out, or engaging in favorite activities. And you can feel helpless, totally dependent on others to bring you what you need, or even help you go to the bathroom.
Of course, you’ll do anything for your baby’s health. But you also need to do something for yourself, so your pregnancy bedrest feels more bearable—or even enjoyable! Here are some tips.
1. Keep a pregnancy journal.
One of the most frustrating things about being on bedrest is the lack of company. Friends and family may be too busy to visit often, and you can’t spend the whole day hoping the phone will ring!
However, you can embrace the solitude and see it as a chance to reflect and write about all those feelings, hopes, and fears that emerge during pregnancy. What kind of mother do you think you’ll be? How do you want to raise your child? Do you think your life will change a lot after the baby’s born? What do you think you’ll miss the most? Pour these thoughts into a pregnancy journal. Years from now, you’ll reread your entries and smile.
2. Have a TV and DVD set up in your bedroom.
Catch up on all your favorite TV shows, watch your favorite movies, or ask friends to lend some of their own DVD’s. Consider this as your last chance to actually have complete authority over the remote control. In a few months you’ll be too busy taking care of your newborn to brush your teeth, much less sit through an 8-hour marathon of Glee. And, for the next eight years at least, your TV will be playing Elmo, Dora the Explorer, and Disney cartoons.
3. Surf the web.
If you have a laptop, the internet can be your way of staying connected to the outside world. Don’t worry about radiation: studies show that the amount emitted by computers will not hurt your baby. However, it does help to prop your laptop on a breakfast tray or a craft tray. This lets you sit at a comfortable angle and prevents any damage to your laptop.
4. Find online support groups and parenting communities.
If you’re on bedrest, you’re probably having a difficult pregnancy. You may be feeling anxious, and the only other people who can completely understand that are women who are on bedrest, too. Luckily there are plenty of parenting websites with forums or discussion boards dedicated to high-risk pregnancies. Even ‘regular’ pregnancy forums provide a wealth of support, since you can ask other women about what they’ve been through, or lose yourself in happy ‘baby talk’ and mommy bonding.
5. Try to maintain your regular waking/sleeping hours.
Sometimes, out of boredom, you’ll end up taking naps all day… and then stay awake until the wee hours of the morning. This can be extremely frustrating, not to mention exhausting! Even frequent catnaps can’t replace the healing, restful sleep you get at night.
So try to follow a ‘normal’ schedule even if you’re in bed. Set little schedules for yourself. ‘Today, I’ll read three chapters from this book, and look for ideas for decorating the nursery on the Internet. I want to narrow down the kind of colors I want to use for the walls.’
6. Load up on fiber.
Constipation is part of even a ‘normal’ pregnancy. It’s a side effect of iron supplements, and can be triggered by hormones. However, constipation can get even worse when you’re on bedrest since you don’t even get exercise.
You can control constipation by eating a lot of leafy vegetables, and avoiding food that is difficult to digest (like beef). You can also ask your doctor if you can take your iron intake in smaller but more frequent doses. This may make it easier for your body to manage the side effect.
7. Avoid bedsores.
If you are on total bedrest, and can’t even sit up or get up to go to the bathroom, you’re at risk for developing bedsores. You can avoid this by shifting positions, and wearing clothes that are loose and made of breathable fabric.
8. Listen to happy music.
It’s good for your baby, and you. Studies show that as early as the sixth month of pregnancy, fetuses can already hear sounds from the outside world. Why not build your baby’s IQ by exposing it to classical music? This benefits you, too. It will help you keep calm and relaxed, which is very important during pregnancy. Of course, you don’t have to limit yourself to the classics. Play your favorite ‘feel good’ songs, and sing along at the top of your lungs. (Yes, your baby can hear your voice, too—and will totally love his private ‘concert.’)