In addition to medical concerns, bed rest can take a toll on other aspects of life as well. In cases where both parents are working, the loss of income once the mom-to-be goes on bed rest can result in a tremendous amount of pressure. Partners get loaded down with additional responsibilities, which can cause anxiety and stress, and children often don’t understand why mommy can’t hold them or play.
Neither Merriam nor Szymanski recommend bed rest to their patients, though they may prescribe reduced activity. For instance, “If a woman is a heavy exerciser and has a risk for preterm birth, we might ask that she cut back on the amount of exercise she does,” says Merriam.
If your doctor does prescribe bed rest, talk to her about it. Find out what kind of bed rest she’s recommending and why. You can also mention the lack of evidence to support bed rest. Share any concerns you may have and discuss possible alternatives. It could be that the perceived benefits of bed rest in your situation outweigh the possible risks. Ultimately, if you’re not satisfied with her responses, get a second opinion.
After 17 weeks on bed rest and an additional four weeks following her cerclage removal, Hanley gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Two years later, she and her husband have decided to add a second little one to their family. “That’s another long, hard thing to think about,” she confesses. “It took a while for me to actually go, ‘OK, I think I’m ready now.’” She hopes that, “by some miracle,” this time she won’t have to go on bed rest.