Have a Better Bed Rest

Bed Rest Tips

husband painting pregnant wife's toenails

Call in Favors
"Tell people, 'I could use a hand!' " says Darline Turner-Lee, creator of Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond (MamasOnBedRest.com), an online resource. Want someone to walk your dog? Shop for groceries? Make a list and delegate. Often, others want to help but aren't sure how, so don't be shy about asking for what you really need, says Joanie Reisfeld, creator of the Better BedRest online community and outreach program BetterBedRest.org. If you don't have friends and family close by, consider hiring an antepartum doula, someone who specializes in assisting moms on bed rest. Find one through the Childbirth and Postpartum Professional Association at CAPPA.net.

Embrace It
The sooner you accept that you'll be laying low for a while, the easier it will be. "Two weeks in to my bed rest, I realized I would be in the hospital until my baby came," says Liz Moore, of Beaufort, South Carolina, who spent a month on bed rest. "I just gave in to it because I had no choice," Moore says. "I came to enjoy things like taking a shower and listening to my daughter's heartbeat on the fetal monitor in the mornings."

Bed rest vets like Candace Hurley, of Laguna Beach, California, say that it helps to think of this stint under the covers as your first real Mom Job. "I was supposed to lie on my left side [to increase blood flow to the baby] the whole time," Hurley says. "I kept telling myself that this was one way I could be a good mother even before he was born." After spending 14 weeks on strict bed rest with her older son and ten weeks with her younger, Hurley founded Sidelines National Support Network (Sidelines.org), a group of volunteers whose goal is to help women with high-risk pregnancies.

Ask for Advice
"Having somebody say, 'I've been there, I've done it,' really helps," Hurley says. "I was so scared, and my doctor had a patient who'd also been on long-term bed rest call me," Hurley remembers. "Hearing her baby in the background gave me hope. The only person who could convince me that I could get through this was a mom who had actually gotten through it."

You can get similar support from organizations such as Sidelines and Better BedRest, which pair women with volunteers who have experienced a situation like yours. Those who tap into Better BedRest receive weekly calls offering emotional support, resources, and referrals, as well as info on the program's Emergency Grant Fund, which allots onetime payments of up to $500 to cover rent, utilities, and other basics. Dial 410-740-7662 to see if you qualify.

Find other women to commiserate with through groups such as American Baby's Bed Rest Mamas-to-Be (americanbaby.com/bed-rest), sites such as Keep 'Em Cookin' (KeepEmCookin.com), or by searching for #bedrest or "bed rest" on Facebook or #pregnancybedrest on Twitter. Between posting, linking, sharing, commenting, and tweeting, you won't feel as isolated. Katrina Gallagher, of Altoona, Pennsylvania, a bed rest veteran and mother of four, can attest. "Facebook makes me feel as if I'm not alone." That's something to "like"!

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