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Surviving Bed Rest

Last Updated on Friday, January 31, 2014

You hear those two dreaded words from your healthcare provider's mouth: “bed rest”. You may feel like you’ve just been sentenced to solitary confinement, or maybe it feels like a long-desired vacation from the grind of daily life?

Whichever way you may see it, the idea of spending days on end out of your normal routine can quickly turn frustrating and take a large emotional and psychological toll on you and your family.

But fear not! Preeclampsia, while potentially serious, will not last forever, and the bed rest which may be prescribed to you is ultimately for the benefit and health of you and your unborn child.

Here are some survival tips:

Tip 1: Get your head on straight. Preeclampsia is particularly difficult to manage because you may not feel sick. Lying in bed when you feel fine seems contradictory, but what’s going on inside your body is serious and requires you to follow your doctor’s orders to the letter. Commit yourself to the process, then relax. Getting into the proper mental place and accepting your situation is vital to your success.

Tip 2: Do your research. If you haven’t already experienced a hypertensive complication in pregnancy, now is the time to start reading up and networking with other families who experienced preeclampsia. The more you know about your condition, the better prepared you are for what comes next. The Foundation’s online Community Forum is a great resource for finding more information and networking with experienced survivors.

Tip 3: Get organized. Feeling helpless or out of control is frustrating. You have a million things to do to prepare for baby and if you already have children, a million things already going on daily. Instead of stressing, make lists and delegate the work to friends and family who offer to help. Letting go may be hard, but everyone will feel better when a task is accomplished.

Tip 4: Get creative. Always wanted to finish your wedding scrapbook? Or learn to crochet? Now is the perfect time to hone a new skill or wrap up a long unfinished project.

Tip 5: Daydream. Who has time to stare out the window these days? It may sound silly, but taking time to let your mind wander from everyday worries can be a lifesaver. Imagine your unborn child growing healthy and strong inside you, or holding him in your arms for the first time. Imagine the things you will do after your recovery. Practicing positive imagery can really improve your mental outlook.

Finally, remember to express gratitude towards your loved ones. This isn’t just a difficult time for you, but also for the people who love you, too. Watching someone cope with a serious illness is rough, no matter how well a patient can cope. Be sure to recognize their efforts and know it is all for one goal – the health of your growing family.

Other resources for bed rest include various conversations in our Community Forum and the website Keep 'Em Cookin'.

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