Maintaining Your Sanity During Bed Rest!

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bedrestWhile pregnant with each of my children I was put on bed rest for the safety of my pregnancy.  When you hear that from the doctor it doesn’t seem so bad, I mean come on… laying in bed, watching tv, catching up on books, and absolutely not being allowed to make dinner?  Sign me up!!  Ohh… yeah sign me up for a week.  Months of that can make a person crazy.  The kind of crazy where you start legitimately worrying for your sanity because there’s an actual possibility that your husband will come home one day to find you in the fetal position eating your own hair in the corner.  To put it bluntly, it sucks.  Bed rest is boring, isolating, and even (after a while) physically painful.   Since I spent the majority of two pregnancies laying in bed trying to mentally fast-forward through the next two trimesters, I’m a bit of a bed rest expert, so here are the things that helped me.  Hopefully they make your crummy horizontal torture a little better for you!  Obviously there are different types of bed rest (modified, scheduled resting, strict bed rest, and hospital bed rest), so for the sake of making things easier, this is written from my experience of strict bed rest… horizontal except for bathroom trips and showering, but obviously modify this as it works for you.

Step 1:  The Aches & Pains

Being horizontal for weeks or months on end is NOT what our bodies were meant to do and after a while it can become painful.  Your muscles start hurting, your back can hurt, and you can even develop nasty headaches from it.  Tools for staying comfortable:

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Pregnancy Body Pillow

Giant pregnancy body pillows are amazing.  This one was my particular favorite because it supports your giant pregnant tummy, and can go between your knees so that there’s no stress on your hips.  Plus, it creates a nice barrier so that your husband or partner doesn’t make the grave mistake of touching you in their sleep when you’re grumpy and feeling terrible.  This one can be purchased from Drugstore.com however there are tons of brands… just decide what looks best for you.  The other plus to this type of pillow is that sleeping on your side increases bloodflow to your uterus, which helps your baby.

rice bag
Rice Heating Bag (Photo: Dee-Anna Riegel)

Something else to consider is that you may get headaches.  Since you don’t want to have to take any extra medicine while pregnant, you want to avoid headaches by drinking tons of water.  If you DO get headaches you can fill a sock with rice and a few drops of lavender essential oil, sew or knot of the end, and either heat it in the microwave or freeze it depending on what feels better to you.  Put on the back of your neck or draped across your eyes or forehead can be a HUGE help for treating headaches.  The added benefit to that is that lavender oil also relaxes you and can help you sleep, which, ironically can be a problem on bed rest.

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Handweights

Something to speak with your doctor about is arm and leg exercises.  Extended bed rest can, literally, cause your muscles to atrophy, so you want to get approval from your doctor to use light (1 to 2 pound) hand weights and do arm lifts.  You can also (with doctors approval), do slight leg lifts (no higher then above your hip) and ankle circles to stretch the muscles out and avoid cramping.

Step 2:  Mission Control

Your nightstand suddenly  turns into Mission Control since it houses everything in your new little bedroom encased world.  With this in mind, it needs to be organized so that you can find everything without a lot of stretching.

download-14This is just a small portion of my Mission Control night stand during my bed rest times, but I found that a desk organizer was the best way to keep things tidy and at hand.  Some things that you’ll want to keep handy are:

  • Water (I upgraded to a large refillable water bottle eventually)
  • lotion (face & body)
  • computer/tablet
  • phone
  • ipod & headphones
  • A power strip with all of your chargers (laptop, tablet, phone, ipod, etc)
  • awesome books
  • healthy snacks (granola, fruit, maybe even a cooler with yogurt, cheese, sandwiches, crackers, salad, etc)
  • chapstick
  • prenatal vitamins
  • makeup (not that you’ll be doing a full face of makeup, but some mascara, blush, and lip gloss makes you feel human again when you have visitors)
  • hairbrush & hair ties
  • babywipes (for cleaning yourself up, and keeping things tidy)
  • hand sanitizer for before you eat
  • notepad & pen

Step 3:  Beat The Boredom

main-boredomYou can only watch Law and Order for so long before you’re going to go nuts trying to think of anything else to do, so here’s a list to get you started taking up some of that time.

 

  • Online shopping anyone?
  • Reading the New York Times current top 5 best sellers
  • Crossword puzzles & Sudoku
  • Home DIY manicures
  • learn to knit or crochet using YouTube tutorials
  • Use above mentioned knitting and/or crocheting skills to make baby blanket
  • Meal plan and make grocery list for your partner
  • Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime movies
  • Organize your photo albums
  • Write baby shower thank you notes (if you’ve already had your shower)
  • Play board games with your partner and/or kids
  • Start a journal to give to your baby when they have their first child documenting your pregnancy
  • Learn a language (Bonjour bebe!)
  • Small craft projects for baby’s room
  • Find an online support group for other moms on bed rest (Facebook has tons of them!)
  • Write letters (everyone LOVES getting actual letters in the mail, but never receive them!)
  • Read Mom & Pop Culture!

 

At the end of the day, bed rest is really hard, much harder than anyone realizes if they haven’t had to do it themselves.  It’s physically difficult, and offers you lots of time to lay there worrying about your baby and your pregnancy.  Hopefully, though, these tips and tricks will help you in maintaining your sanity during bed rest and you can start to feel better about laying there.  Good luck and happy baby growing!!

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