How to Survive Bed Rest

I have a complicated medical history and have long struggled with infertility. When I finally became pregnant, my doctors informed me that in order to carry that precious little life to term, I would have to remain on bed rest for the entire nine months. For an active and independent person such as myself, this news was quite a blow. I had to take a leave of absence from my job, arrange the details of my health and disability insurance, and most importantly, figure out my finances. Once I had made all of the necessary arrangements, I had to just lie there and contemplate how in the world I would stay sane for nine, long months.

Sure, lying around with your feet up sounds great when you are rushing around, unable to catch your breath in your regular day-to-day routine, but when boredom sets in, so does the crazy. I would beg my husband to describe every detail of his day, from the commute, to bathroom breaks to office gossip. I was desperate for news from the outside world. Before long, I was driving him crazy along with myself. No matter the length of bed rest, there are some things you can do to survive without a straight jacket.

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  1. Focus on the Positive

You are growing a human being! It is a miracle and should be revered. While you have the time on your hands, allow yourself to get lost in all of your hopes and dreams for your new little person. Write letters to your baby or keep a journal. I loved using a specific journal for pregnancy like The Belly Book by Random House. I liked having predetermined questions to answer about my pregnancy, but also space to write down all of my thoughts and feelings. This book also includes space to place your ultrasound photos and growing belly snapshots. It is a great keepsake, but I also referred back to my journal when I wrote my book!

Another great memento is to record yourself reading aloud to your baby. You could make videos of yourself reading, but I suffered from epic morning sickness and chose not to scare my future child with live action images of my green pallor and messy hair. Instead, i went old school and bought a handheld Digital Voice Activated Recorder . I read aloud the entire first book of the Harry Potter series and although my daughter is still too young to understand what I’m saying, she loves to just sit and listen to my voice.

     2. Feel Productive

There was a very short list of the tasks I was allowed to do while on bed rest, but by completing them, I felt productive. I was allowed to shower each day, which was a bonus for both myself and anyone with whom I interacted. I also discovered that there were other tasks I could do while sitting or laying down.

    • Laundry-As long as my husband carried the basket, I could fold the laundry. A task I once abhorred, now I relished. Our clothes have never looked so good.
    • Scrap-booking- You get organize all those old photo books and be creative
    • Sewing- I hand sewed a quilt for my daughter
    • “Cook” a meal- I ordered a Slow Cooker and plowed through the recipes in  Healthy Slow Cooker Revolution. My hubby had to do the grocery shopping, but he still came home every night to a hot and healthy meal.
    • Shop Online- My personal favorite. Since I was not allowed to drive, all of my usual “errand running” had to be done online. Everything you really need can be delivered right to your doorstep, which saves on gas and makes you feel like you accomplished an important task for your household.

     3. Keep Yourself Entertained

My two best friends while on bed rest were named Netflix and Kindle. Netflix, with it’s movies and library of great television shows that I never had time to watch, was the ost amazing thing ever. I watched the entire series of The Walking Dead, Scandal, and my personal favorite, Breaking Bad.Rick Grimes, Olivia Pope, and Walter White kept me company throughout those long days and I will be forever grateful.

Television is a great distraction, but I was also afraid of rotting my brain and/or starting to believe Jesse Pinkman was my actual friend. I am an avid reader and the Amazon Kindle is probably my most prized possession. Amazon has programs such as Kindle Unlimited, where you can pay a set fee every month to download millions of books for free. (Click here to Join Amazon Kindle Unlimited 30-Day Free Trial.) You may also use your library card to borrow ebooks from your local library. Access to every book I have always wanted to read, right at my finger tips, preserved my sanity and made the hours fly by.

     4. Keep Yourself Healthy

Eat Right- I craved spinach more than any other food during pregnancy, but that does not mean that my sweet tooth was also on bed rest. I knew it would be difficult enough to recover from a sedentary life with a newborn, so I had the foresight to snack smart. I munched on fruits, veggies, and almonds instead of potato chips and bon bons. If you plan your meals and snacks in advance and implore your significant other to stick to the grocery list, eating healthily is much easier. “Eating for two” does not mean eating double the amount of food you normally consume. It means to be mindful of everything you put into your body because there are two of you relying on those important nutrients.

Drink plenty of water- I drank 64 ounces of water per day. I spent two full trimesters praying to the porcelain gods, so I knew I had to stay hydrated. Plus, counting the number of ounces of water you drink gives you something to measure before you have to do your kick counts (love those!)

“Exercise”- I was not allowed to exercise or even do prenatal yoga, so this one was tricky for me.  I wore Compression Socks, which prevented blood clots and helped my restless legs. I also consulted with a physical therapist to get a list of stretches and light exercises I could do while laying down. Be sure to check with your doctor to understand the specifics of all you can and cannot do while on bed rest.

Bed rest is never easy, but you can survive if you maintain a positive attitude and don’t be afraid to ask for help! Before you know it, you will be running amok in the crazy rat race called Motherhood and subsisting on no sleep and buckets of caffeine. The end of bed rest means the beginning of your new life with a healthy baby, so try to enjoy the peace and quiet while you have it!