Complete Bed Rest in Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a difficult journey, and during this time, you need to make any changes in your diet, lifestyle, and activities. From now on, you will mainly start visiting the doctor, and from the beginning of this period, you may suffer from morning sickness, weight gain problems, etc. However, sometimes doing nothing during pregnancy may be the best option. Please read this article completely to know what is meant by complete rest during pregnancy and its advantages and disadvantages.

Complete rest during pregnancy means a lot of things, from lying in bed daily for a few hours to going to the hospital for regular check-ups; everything depends on it. This time may also be known as restricting your activities. Complete rest means conserving your energy to avoid any complications during pregnancy, such as premature labor or stillbirth. The period of complete rest can range from a few days to several months. Till a few years back, complete rest 24/7 was recommended by most doctors, but now it is recommended only in critical situations. This is because even advising of complete rest during pregnancy does not bring any improvement in many cases. However, there may be many more reasons for a doctor to recommend complete rest during pregnancy.

Why is rest necessary during pregnancy?

The need for rest during pregnancy mostly depends on your type of pregnancy and your health condition. 70% of pregnant women are advised to take a short period of rest. Generally, women are not advised to rest for the whole nine months, although depending on your health condition, the doctor may advise you to take complete rest or a little rest. Following are some of the reasons for most of the rest during pregnancy. Let us know;

Placenta Previa

In this, the placenta is located below normal. It closes the passage of the cervix, which is the passage of the fetus. If you have placenta previa during pregnancy, get as much rest as possible, so your cervix and placenta are not put under pressure.

Cervical Insufficiency

Cervical insufficiency means that the muscles of the cervix cannot handle the growing baby in the uterus, which increases the chances of miscarriage in the third trimester. Complete rest is advised to avoid any undue pressure on the cervix.


It is one of the prevalent problems during pregnancy which can be seen in about 10% of pregnant women. There can be many symptoms, such as increased blood pressure, protein in the urine, and swelling of the face and legs. In severe cases, preeclampsia can be life-threatening for you and your unborn baby, and you may need to be under constant medical attention during this time.

Highly Active Lifestyle

If you lead your life very actively and do not take care of your diet, you may be asked to take complete rest. Regular rest and eating a balanced diet goes a long way in the healthy development of the unborn baby.

Bleeding During Pregnancy

Sometimes there may be slight bleeding during pregnancy. There are many reasons for this, such as a wound in the placenta, bleeding in the uterus, or damage to the cervix. Any of these can cause a miscarriage. In these cases, complete rest is advised in the first trimester of pregnancy to relieve the bleeding.

Fluctuations in Blood Pressure

Regular fluctuations in blood pressure are symptoms of eclampsia. If this is not taken care of, it can lead to severe seizures and failure in various organs’ function; you may need to stay in the hospital continuously to avoid these problems.


Oligohydramnios is a problem in which the amount of amniotic fluid is less than what the fetus needs. Although many factors can cause low amniotic fluid levels, doctors recommend you take complete rest during this time to be fully taken care of.

Pregnancy with more than one Baby

If you are going to give birth to more than one baby, then you need to take complete rest. Since multiple pregnancies are more prone to risks and complications, the safest way is to take complete rest until the baby is born.

Will I have to be on bed rest all the time during pregnancy?

The answer to this question entirely depends on your doctor. In some cases, the doctor may ask you to avoid some activities, such as excessive exercise, lifting or moving heavy objects, and doing hard work. In many other cases, you are advised to be confined to your bed other than just going to the bathroom or the doctor, and you may be forbidden to do even the most minor tasks.

Types of complete rest in pregnancy and its level?

Earlier doctors advised pregnant women to take rest in four primary categories, namely timed rest, modified rest, complete rest, and complete hospital rest. However, with changing times, this classification has been simplified more. Currently, there are two main types of rest during pregnancy.

Minimize work at Home/Office

In late pregnancy, many doctors advise you to do as little work as possible at the workplace. During this period, the doctor may ask you to rest frequently and refuse to do activities that involve heavy exertion, such as cardio, walking, or standing. However, you may sometimes be asked to take a short walk and do simple tasks.

Minimize activities in the Hospital

If there are more complications in the pregnancy, the doctor may recommend that you stay in the hospital to be given proper and ongoing care. Given passive hospital rest during pregnancy, your doctor may recommend a course of simple exercises or physical therapy to help you stay healthy.

Benefits of complete bed rest for you and your baby?

Apart from preventing miscarriage, there are many benefits of complete rest during pregnancy that protect your unborn baby, these include;

  • Complete rest helps your circulatory system work efficiently, ensuring that your baby gets all the nutrients he needs.
  • According to studies, taking complete rest reduces the effects of stress hormones called catecholamines. This is a hormone that can lead to premature labor if it is too high.
  • Your cervix, placenta, and uterus remain free from excess pressure while you are at rest.
  • Rest improves blood flow throughout the body, prevents accumulation of fluids, and does not cause problems such as swelling or swelling, or edema.

Discomforts while resting during pregnancy

Relaxing all day can be a blissful experience! However, lack of activity can soon lead to joint pain, muscle damage, reduced flexibility, and difficulty with blood flow. In addition to switching sides and eating a balanced diet while you rest during pregnancy, the following are some exercises you can do to ease your discomfort:

  • The slow movement of your arms and legs helps maintain your mobility and reduce muscle or joint pain.
  • Pressing soft rubber balls helps in reducing the pain in the joints of wrists and fingers.
  • Flexibility is improved by applying light pressure by placing the hands and feet on the mattress.
  • By stretching and relaxing the muscles of the body, blood flow can be improved.

Best sleeping position during pregnancy

It entirely depends on your pregnancy status, health, and your complications. Women who are advised to rest for a long time are asked to sleep on their side to avoid putting pressure on the body’s nerves by the uterus.

In this posture, you are asked to lie down with your knees bent to like a fetus. You may also be asked to lie flat on your back and relax by raising your hips (slightly above chest level) with the help of a pillow.

Potential Risks of Complete Bed Rest

There may be some risks from lying down continuously for several days, some of the complications of rest include the following;

Blood clot (blood clot)

Lack of mobility can cause blood clots in pregnant women, especially in the legs. This is known as ‘Deep Vein Thrombosis.’

Depression and Anxiety

Lying down all day can make you feel like you’re becoming a burden, which can trigger symptoms of depression or anxiety.

Family Tension

You may also get stressed about your responsibilities in the family. This happens because now all your tasks, such as taking care of the house, baby care, etc.

Financial concerns (after leaving the job)

While you are allowed to take advantage of your leave after birth, many companies do not allow the extension of leave during pregnancy. This can result in loss of your salary as well as job.

Low Birth Weight

Getting enough rest can impact your cardiovascular health, which has been linked to problems with your baby’s weight and growth after delivery.

Slow Recovery after Delivery

However, there is minimal movement during complete rest, so it may take longer for you to return to your old position after delivery.

Weak Bones and Muscles

Lack of exercise during this period can weaken your bones and muscles, resulting in increased chances of serious complications.

Discuss with the doctor the dos and don’ts

Tired tasks always seem impossible. Here are some things you might be able to do. Discuss with your doctor what you can and cannot do while you are at rest during your pregnancy.

  • Light exercise
  • Walk
  • To Cook
  • Sexual intercourse
  • Driving or riding
  • Bath

How to stay healthy during bed rest in pregnancy?

Prolonged inactivity is not only dull but also unhealthy. To help you keep yourself mentally and physically fit while you are resting during pregnancy, you can do the following things;

Physical Health

  • Stretch your arms, legs, neck, back, and any part you can stretch. It helps in maintaining your energy.
  • Eat the right and healthy diet during pregnancy. Eat small meals at a time and avoid foods that can cause indigestion.
  • Lie down as comfortably as possible, and your muscles won’t go numb, and you won’t experience skin irritation as you switch positions every once in a while.

Emotional Health

  • Entertain yourself to television, books, or try spending your time on the Internet. Don’t let yourself get bored at all.
  • If possible, meet friends or invite them home. Because after delivery you will not be able to meet your friends as much as you would like.
  • Don’t be stressed about your situation. This time has come in the life of many women, and their delivery has been successful and happy.

How does bed rest affect your family during pregnancy?

If you’re spending most of your time relaxing, your family will need to learn how to adjust to their new roles. Your partner may now have to do daily household chores such as laundry, cleaning, shopping for groceries, and taking care of children (if any).

When your partner starts taking care of all your tasks, you should also be careful that they do not get caught up in taking care of you only. If you have young children, you will have to handle them somehow and keep them distracted by teaching or TV. If possible, you can also request a family member or close friend to handle them.

How to use the time of complete bed Rest

If you have to spend most of your time in bed during this period, the following are some tips to make the best use of this free time. Let us know;

  • Make sure you have a crib, diapers, milk bottle, maternity dress, breast pump, and all the essentials purchased.
  • Search the internet and learn about any possible complications during pregnancy.
  • Find out about vaccinations, breastfeeding, baby development, and other parenting techniques.
  • Eat enough nutritious food such as fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
  • Read about essential prenatal and postpartum supplements.
  • Do not forget to do light exercise to keep your body active and healthy.
  • Set a routine to keep the situation under control.
  • Organize your photos and complete some of the remaining little tasks.
  • Have a positive attitude towards those who help you with household chores and jobs.
  • Constipation can be prevented by drinking enough water.

Make a list of things you need during bed rest.

Make a list of the things you need the most during this time and keep it with you. What are the things you may need in such times are as follows;

  • Carry water and snacks or food items, such as fruits, vegetables, or nuts.
  • Keep mobile phones and laptops with you to stay in touch.
  • Keep stationery, such as pen and paper, with you.
  • Keep makeup items, such as combs, brushes, nail cutters, nail polish, and mirrors close by.
  • Carry books, magazines, and newspapers for your entertainment.

It may seem difficult to remain relaxed and calm during pregnancy, but it is sound advice for you. Remember that you are taking many precautions to protect yourself and your baby and doing many activities that may or may not be fun for you. The more you rest or stay calm during your pregnancy, the better your chances of a healthy baby.

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