Bed Rest During Pregnancy: When Is It Recommended?

Bed rest during pregnancy is commonly recommended by obstetricians for various causes. Here we'll address some of the reasons why doctors recommend bed rest, and how to implement it.
Bed Rest During Pregnancy: When Is It Recommended?

Last update: 19 April, 2019

During any stage of pregnancy, doctors may recommend bed rest if they believe that your life or your child’s life may be in danger. Exactly when is bed rest during pregnancy recommended?

We know that this topic can be controversial. This decision is completely at the discretion of your obstetrician. The diagnoses can change from complete bed rest to relative rest at any time. So, the limits of what you can and cannot do during this time also vary.

When an obstetrician recommends bed rest to a pregnant woman, it’s normally because they’ve observed conditions in the woman that may be considered high risk for her pregnancy. A high-risk pregnancy has factors or symptoms that can negatively affect the health of the mother and the baby.

The factors that determine a high-risk pregnancy and ultimately lead to bed rest may vary. In some cases, this decision is made during the first weeks of gestation. In others, it may occur closer to the final stages of pregnancy. Of course, in extreme cases, bed rest can be prescribed throughout the entire pregnancy.

Although it may not seem like it, the assignment of bed rest to pregnant women is a fairly common occurrence. According to statistics, 20% of the total number of pregnant women per year receive this recommendation. Now, let’s review the specific causes that lead to it.

Bed Rest During Pregnancy: When Is It Recommended?

According to obstetricians, some of the reasons that lead to bed rest during pregnancy are:

  • Hypertension or preeclampsia
  • Problems in the neck of the uterus: Either beginning during pregnancy or caused by burns or cuts in the cervix for HPV treatments.
  • Intense and frequent contractions before the end of pregnancy
  • Bruising in the gestational sac
  • Lumbar pain or sciatica
  • Stress or physical and mental fatigue

Of course, all of these conditions can trigger loss of pregnancy and are considered a threat of miscarriage. Therefore, best rest is one of the first measures that are usually indicated, in addition to other specific treatments of each symptom.

Controversies about bed rest

The controversy surrounding bed rest during pregnancy has been accentuated as medical studies progress. Bed rest is considered a preventive measure that contributes to the treatment of the main symptoms.

From a psychological point of view, bed rest during pregnancy is favorable. Bed rest can be beneficial for pregnant women. Being able to be calm, relaxed, and feel that you’re promoting the well-being of your baby contributes to the recovery of the mother, whatever the diagnoses.

“Rest is considered a preventive measure that contributes to the treatment of the main symptoms.”

Practical advice during bed rest

It’s clear that during bed rest, two things can happen. The first is that, indeed, you’re able to become calmer and recover the strength to feel better.

The second possibility is that the opposite happens and you feel bored, tired of inactivity, and you may even feel certain pains in your back and legs.  Thinking about these two scenarios, consider the following tips regarding bed rest:

  • Your room must be equipped with the furniture of your choice and plenty of books and magazines that are to your liking
  • Frequent visits from family and friends are more than welcome in order to not feel alone, inactive, or secluded
Bed Rest During Pregnancy: When Is It Recommended?
  • Performing isometric gymnastics for the legs or receiving gentle massages on the extremities and back is also a great help
  • Eating well will prevent discomfort and, therefore, promote your sense of well-being and comfort.

To finish, we want to tell you that, if you must resort to bed rest due to the recommendation of your obstetrician, it’s good that you maintain a positive and calm attitude. Take the time and take the opportunity to rest without worries.

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.