Bed Rest in Pregnancy
Unfortunately, not every future mom can have an active lifestyle during all course of pregnancy. Sometimes, a pregnant woman has to limit the number of her physical activities or even stick to a bed rest. The duration and “strictness” of this regimen depend on the kind of complication that resulted in a bed rest regimen.
Gossips and Reality
If the deviation in the health condition of a mother and her baby is not that serious, you may be allowed to stay at home. If your condition is more serious, a pregnant woman is usually hospitalized to the hospital.
Very often, when women, who had some problems during the course of pregnancy, start thinking of their period of pregnancy, they say that their doctor recommended them sticking to a strict bed rest regimen for some reasons (presentation of the placenta, a possibility of a threatened abortion). They mention that they had to spend the whole period of pregnancy lying in bed and that they were allowed to stand up from the bed only if there were the most important necessities.
Right away, you start imagining a woman who is spending all her pregnancy period tied to bed. Sounds quite awful. In reality, if a future mother is allowed to sit while she’s still in bed, the bed rest regimen is considered to be not that strict. It’s considered to be an expanded one. There aren’t many cases when a woman should stick to a bed rest regimen for a long time. As a rule, even if your doctor recommends you having a bed rest, it’s only for several hours (for example, if you’ve recently undergone an operation) or for several days (if there is a possibility of threatened abortion, bloody discharges that usually occur in case of placental abruption or some other cases). In a majority of cases, a bed rest implies that you should have a rest more often. Keep in mind that you should also have a rest with your body being in horizontal position. That’s why there is a need to say how and in what cases a pregnant woman should limit her physical activities.
A Bed Rest Regimen is Different
There is a variety of ways how you can limit your physical activities.
This may be:
- a strict bed rest regimen (a woman is not allowed to sit or stand up from the bed);
- an expanded bed rest regimen is recommended if an overall health condition of a woman is fine. This kind of regimen implies that a woman mat spend from 5 to 40 minutes sitting in a bed (she may do it several times per day);
- ambulant regimen. A woman is allowed to spend 50 % of time per day sitting. She is allowed to walk slowly but the distance should be not longer than 100-150 m;
- a free regimen included into the ambulant regimen implies that a woman may go up and down from the 1st to the 3rd floor, she may walk but the distance should be not longer than 1 km and a woman should have a rest each 150-200 m.;
- attenuated regimen is almost the same as the free regimen. A woman is allowed to walk up to 3 km and have a rest every 20-30 minutes. She also may swim or paly something (if a woman is prepared and trained);
- attenuated-training regimen allows a woman have an average physical load: walking up to 4 km within an hour, skiing (the temperature should be not below 10-12 °C), sport games (the rules and requirements should be not so strict);
- training regimen is recommended in cases when there are no obvious disfunctioning in organs or systems. A woman is allowed to run or play sport games on usual conditions.
On the example of this classification, we may make sure that there are various ways to limit physical activity during pregnancy. Most often, if there are complications that require the limiting of the physical activity occurring, a woman is recommended a free or a ward – like (hospital like) regimen.
A strict bed rest regimen is rarely recommended. It is only recommended either to severely ill people or those who have recently undergone an operation (for several hours). The thing is that a very long bed rest may make your health condition even worse. A lack of muscle activity or the so-called hypokinesia is harmful for both a healthy an ill person. The consequences of a very long bed rest may include muscle atrophy, acrocontracture (inactivity of junctions) a loss of calcium in bones that leads to osteoporosis and, as a result, to fractures. All these consequences are required to be additionally treated.
How You Should Lie
During the first trimester (up to the 2nd week), uterus is not that big and it fits into the symphysis pubis. That’s why you may lie in any position that’s comfortable for you. Then, up to the 28th week you’re allowed to lie sidelong or on your back. When the uterus is rather big, you’d better lie sidelong. It is not recommended to lie on your back since in this case the inferior vena cava is squeezed and the inflow of blood to the heart is limited. As a result, the blood circulation in kidneys, uterus, placenta, the amount of blood that gets to the fetus are disturbed. Your arterial pressure may decrease, you may even feel giddy or lose consciousness.
You’d better lie on your left side (you may lie on both right and left sides. Do it in turns). If you lie on your left side, there is more blood that gets to the uterus. Consequently, your baby gets more oxygen and nutrition.
If the fetus is located in the wrong way, lying sidelong may also be useful. The mothers who have a case of shoulder presentation are recommended to lie on that side where a baby’s head is. In case of breech presentation, the doctors recommend turning over from one side to another. You should do it 3-4 times within 10 minutes (3 times a day).
Pregnant women that for some reason are recommended sticking to a bed rest regimen need to necessarily do special and safe gymnastics created especially for them. They should also increase their physical load as soon as their doctor allows them to do so. This way they will be more prepared to the loads in the process of labor and after it. As we know, labor is not an easy job to do. Therefore, the more active a woman during pregnancy is, the easier she’ll get through the process of labor.