There’s an excellent possibility your pregnancy will pass by without your doctor placing you on bed rest. But guess what? Even if you do have to take some time off your feet, it’s not the end of the world (even though it may feel like it!)…or the end of your life as you know it.
If you’re reading this while on bedrest, we know you may be struggling with this — and we get it! Bedrest is tough, especially for mamas who are on it for a long time, are super active, or thrive when working among others — but it’s a temporary situation, and you can get through it.
Ultimately, all any of us want is for our babies to come out healthy and when they’re ready to face the world. If your doctor believes bed rest is necessary in order for that to happen…well, there are so many ways you can make the most of your experience.
Take these moms, who faced bed rest head on and found ways to stay busy despite their restrictions. Each of these moms has experienced bed rest during pregnancy, and they’re sharing how they spent their time…as well as some advice for fellow bed rest mamas.
The mom who cared for a one-year-old while on bed rest
“I was on bed rest for around six months total between both of my pregnancies. While I was pregnant with my first child and on bed rest, I developed a passion for our local library. I would reserve books online and my husband would swing by after work to pick them up for me. I also would invite friends over throughout the week where we’d have time to chat or watch endless amounts of Netflix. I also tried to turn what could have been boring-bed-rest-time [into] intentional-time where I furthered my education on my creative career, my faith and parenting by listening to podcasts, studying the Bible and watching digital courses online. When I was on bed rest during my second pregnancy (with a one-year-old at home), my bed rest activities drastically changed. We would have different activity buckets by my resting area. They included snacks and drinks for the both of us, puzzles, coloring books and crayons, magazines and books, and the diapers and wipes were always [within] reach. We paid for ABC Mouse and watched PBS Kids on the iPad.” – Jenny Randle, @jenny.randle
The mom who took some time to relax
“I was on bed rest for 10 weeks. I wish I could give some great and exciting tips to someone on bed rest, but to be honest, I slept a lot and I watched a lot of TV. I had two other small children and I was exhausted, so the extra sleep was nice….If I’d had my laptop and if I’d known what I know now, I probably would have been blogging, writing, working on my website… but I didn’t start all of that until after the pregnancy ended. However, blogging is a great way to pass the time.” – Alexa Bigwarfe, @Losethecape
The mom who worked like a boss
“After a very long battle with infertility, I found out I was pregnant with twins right before Christmas. Shortly thereafter, at about week five, I was placed on bed rest for the rest of my pregnancy…While on bed rest I was trying to run my wedding and event planning company (in which we did at least 60 weddings and events a year). I am not going to lie, it was a challenge as I just love working and being around others. We moved in with my husband’s parents to ensure that we had help as I was unable to even shower standing up. Needless to say, I occupied my time with countless hours of going through budgets, marketing, and business plans — everything to keep me occupied. In my ‘free time’ I loved reading and doing crossword and sear puzzles, as it was something to occupy my time. All in all, I made it and the twins were born at 27-weeks to the day. Today they are happy and healthy and bed rest is just a distant memory.” – Jennifer Johnson, @truefashionistasresale
The mom who joined a community of other bed rest mamas
“Back in 2009, I was on bed rest from 14 to 36 weeks of pregnancy. At the time I was a full-time natural hair stylist, but due to bed rest, I could no longer work. I spent my time chatting with other bed rest moms on keepemcooking.com . I also started making handmade earrings and selling them on Etsy. I also learned how to create WordPress websites. All three of those combined not only got me through three bed rest experiences but [also helped me earn] extra skills and income.” – Olivia Thompson, @oliviabmoore
The mom who rediscovered her passion
“I was a painter in college but took a 10-year break. With my second baby, I was put on bed rest for the last trimester. I got permission from my doctor to sit up during my bed rest. During that time I started painting again. I posted the paintings to Instagram and people started buying them. After the baby was born I spent my maternity leave painting. That was two years ago, and now I am in galleries across the country. I’m so thankful for the bed rest because it gave me permission to take time for myself and focus on what I wanted to do. The advice I have for other women on bed rest is to tackle a project. I think the best thing would be something you’ve been putting off for a long time, like organizing family pictures. That’s a project that takes a lot of undivided attention, and bed rest is the perfect opportunity to focus on it.” – Blayne Macauley, @blayne_art
The mom who learned to ask for help
“The first time I was on bed rest, I did a lot of work from home. It was much easier the first time around because I only had one other child who was in full-time daycare. I pretty much spent the day watching Netflix and doing ‘office work’ from home. I managed a coffee shop at the time so I could still place orders, create schedules and do payroll stuff. The first week of my bed rest was spent in a hospital. I had no choice but to stay put. But as long as I had my laptop and a good internet connection, I was fine. This time it’s more challenging. I have two kids [ages five and two] who are both home with me full time. I don’t get to respect the bed rest orders as [strictly] until my husband is home from work. (He’s in the army and currently he’s away from home for another 2.5 weeks). I own a consulting firm, so most of my time is just spent writing, recording videos, and the normal work I would be doing anyway. My advice for moms who are on bedrest is to just rest up and don’t fight it. Bedrest isn’t a punishment…Use the time to catch up on your favorite shows, read some new books (or maybe write one), learn to knit or crochet, or anything that doesn’t require much physical energy but allows for mental stimulation. I wasn’t happy to learn I’d need to go through this again, but the important thing is mom and baby are healthy and I’ll do whatever I need to keep the little one baking as long as possible. Also, it’s okay to ask your spouse, friends, or family to step up and help if they can. You aren’t being lazy, you’re being safe and following doctor’s orders. The people who care about you will understand and be willing to offer support.” – Kamillya Hunter
A quick note about bed rest: According to Dr. Sasha Davidson, bed rest is generally ordered when a pregnant woman is at risk of pre-term delivery — but more and more obstetric societies are encouraging doctors to avoid this course of action when possible. However, bed rest isn’t completely a thing of the past, and when it is recommended, there may be varying degrees of restriction.
“What is or isn’t allowed for women on bedrest depends on the condition and indication for bedrest,” Dr. Davidson explained. “Usually if a woman is on limited or restricted activity, she might also be on pelvic rest which means she cannot have intercourse, douche, or insert anything into the vagina. If a patient is on bedrest in the hospital because of ruptured membranes we limit how much she is able to get up and walk around because of the risk of the umbilical cord prolapsing (slipping thru the cervix) for example. Also if she has a placenta previa and is on bedrest her amount of activity is limited due to the risk of bleeding.” As always, please check in with your doctor about your exact limitations if you’ve been placed on bed rest — what works for one mama may not work for mamas!