So you’ve been told you have to be on bed rest for the remainder of your pregnancy – it could be because you’re a high-risk multiples pregnancy, or something unexpected happened and now you are attempting to get your pregnancy as far as you can to ensure the health of your baby.
Whatever the reason, it probably feels pretty emotional right about now. I know this because I’ve been there.
I spent five weeks on hospital bed rest in an effort to get my pregnancy as far as possible because I was having mono-mono twins. It’s a rare condition with an identical twin pregnancy. It occurs when your egg splits late and the twins are left to share their amniotic sac. This is dangerous, because their cords can tangle and compress, ultimately leading to infant death of one or both babies at any given time during your pregnancy.
It was a pretty traumatic experience.
Thankfully, all ended well – my girls were born at 28-weeks and seven years later, they are elementary school students who drive their mom batty on the daily.
Bed rest, as difficult as it can be…is worth every. single. minute.
So, the question is, how does a mom survive when she’s bed bound for an extended period of time?
Here are 10 Tips for Surviving Hospital Bed Rest
Get Your Mind Right
This is probably the most important tip I can give you. Your mindset is going to be the difference between keeping your sanity and becoming an emotional mess. Your emotions are completely warranted – this pregnancy is not going according to the books and if it’s your first, you may be feeling cheated – which is completely understandable. At the same time, this is also the time to gather your emotional strength in whatever way works for you, and become a determined mama – determined to be as positive as possible.
Give Yourself Grace
If you are emotional or angry, that is normal. Allow yourself the grace to let those waves pass through you. While I want to encourage you to get your mind right, letting out the tears, the frustration and sadness is necessary and cathartic. Even when you have your mind right, there will be days that you may fall apart. Give yourself the grace to go through that and then start the next day fresh.
Don’t Be Shy – Ask for Support
If you don’t ask, your friends and family do not know what you need. Set up a routine to have visitors – whether you are at home or in the hospital, this interaction with loved ones is essential to get you through. Ask your mom to come every Monday and your bestie to bring you lunch on Wednesdays. Friday nights, have your partner sit in bed with you and watch a movie while you have popcorn and rent the latest redbox. By having regular visits from friends and family, you’ll have things to look forward to and less time alone.
Everyone is still living their lives, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But chances are, they will want to be there for you if they can, and the days will pass quickly without a visit if you don’t get them scheduled out the gate.
If your family is far away, set up FaceTime schedules. Join mom groups and apps like mom.life to seek out support from other moms who have been there. I read blogs, joined forums and hopped on social media. It was so helpful.
Set a Schedule
Speaking of a schedule, in addition to visits from family and friends, add in regular things that you do each week through your bed rest to pass the time. Your individual circumstances will determine what you can and cannot do.
If you are allowed more freedom, go outside and take a short walk or have a family member wheel you out if you can’t be on your feet. Take a shower and get dressed each day. Take naps regularly, you’ll need the rest. This self-care will be essential to your mental well-being.
Add in TV time, self-manicures, reading a book series you’ve intended to get to and more. Trust me, this is all going to help make your days pass quicker and with more ease.
Plan Your Entertainment in Advance
This is going to be tailored to your situation. If you’re in a hospital bed and you can’t leave the room you’re in, then you have a little less flexibility. All of the above ways can be adapted to your personal situation, but the key is to plan ahead if at all possible. If you know you’ll be on bed rest, then pack. If you ended up on bed rest unexpectedly, then start asking for things to be brought to you. Magazines, new books, manicure kits, subscribe to netflix, if you don’t have wifi in the hospital, ask your sweety to hook you up with a hotspot so you can get online. You deserve it for incubating your little one.
Be Flexible and Ready to Pivot
If you start off on at-home bed rest and they move you to the hospital, trust your gut, but know that most doctors and nurses are watching out for your well-being and that of your baby. If packing a bag and making the move is what’s best, be ready to make that move.
While flexibility is important, it is your right as a mom to ask questions until you feel comfortable with how things are playing out for your care. Every decision is personal to you and your family. If you’re in a high risk pregnancy situation, you’re going to meet a lot of specialists, doctors and nurses. It is ok to ask for a second opinion, it is ok to ask as many questions as you would like and, it’s even ok for you to switch doctors if you aren’t getting what you deem as supportive and quality care. This is your pregnancy and your child – they are there for you and should not be in the business of high-risk maternal fetal medicine if they can’t be patient and empathetic as they guide you through this experience.
Going through a high-risk pregnancy is difficult, doing it on bed rest is even more difficult. Don’t go through it alone.
Join mom.life and meet other moms who have been where you are or who may be on bed rest currently – you won’t regret it!