Surviving Bed Rest

Every year, nearly one million pregnant women wind up stuck in bed. Here's how one mom-to-be got through it.

Weeks 1 and 2

pregnant woman holding teddy bear

Photolibrary/Matton

Bed rest. It sounds like a dream, particularly to a busy pregnant woman. Really, how many of us have negative associations with lounging in bed? Each year, for a variety of medical reasons, approximately 700,000 pregnant women are ordered by their doctors to go to bed for part of or all of their pregnancies.

For anyone who has visions of hanging out in comfy pajamas reading paperback thrillers until Labor Day arrives, I'm here to burst your bubble -- and tell you how to survive should it happen to you. Here's what I learned from spending 18 weeks in bed.

Week 1

I'm going to work from home, so I've ordered a laptop to get going. In the meantime, I'm carefully considering each of the 600 cable channels we pay for each month. There is nothing worth watching -- with the exception of X-Files reruns -- so I have my husband raid the bookshelf for titles I may not have read. It turns out we have lots of books on The Clash and British government -- not exactly what I had in mind. I decide to get on the horn to cancel my gym membership and decline invitations to several parties and weddings.

My doctor said I'm not allowed to cook. But I'm also not supposed to answer the door for takeout. I send my husband out for bananas and cold cereal.

Week 2

It's great having visitors, but I often feel guilty because all hostess behavior is out of the question. And though I have housekeeping help, my dog is wrecking the place. There are piles of dog hair and biscuit crumbs everywhere I turn. I feel like an invitation to my place reads something like this: "You are cordially invited to sit in a dirty house with a pregnant shut-in whose roots are growing in at an alarming rate."

Speaking of beauty rituals, I now have all the time in the world to pluck my brows and extract blackheads. I stop when I notice a striking resemblance to Cruella De Vil.

But all in all, this isn't so terrible. I've got my laptop and can work from bed. I go through my address book and catch up with old friends. But a day of reckoning is coming. "I give you three weeks," says one friend. "By then, you'll start to go insane."

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