When your gynaecologist said “It’s time for bedrest”. What does she means and why is bedrest prescribed? Does it really help in stabilizing the pregnancy or avoid pregnancy complication? Dr Kelly Loi, an Obstetrician and Gynaecologist from Mount Elizabeth Hospital provides more insight into bed rest during pregnancy.
What is bedrest?
Bedrest simply means, resting in bed to reduce the level of physical activity.
Why and when do doctors usually prescribe bedrest?
Bedrest is prescribed in the hope that the pregnancy will remain stable and that resting will prevent uterine irritability and contractions.
It is prescribed in certain situations with high risk pregnancies e.g. Threatened miscarriage in pregnancy when bleeding and cramps occur in early pregnancy, bleeding in pregnancy due to a low placenta and threatened premature labour.
Does bedrest means ‘stay in bed’ all the time?
There are different degrees of bedrest – a complete bedrest means to stay in bed all the time. Sitting up and going to the toilet may not be allowed. In this situation, hospital admission may be necessary.
Other times, toilet breaks and light activity are allowed.
Does bedrest really help? What are the benefits?
The evidence is controversial. But when the pregnancy is high risk, bedrest is prescribed in the hope of stabilizing the pregnancy as much as possible and optimizing the outcome.
What are the possible complications of bedrest during pregnancy?
Deep vein thrombosis where blood clots form in the legs. This may in turn lead to pulmonary embolism which is a dangerous situation. It is therefore important to prevent these complications by wearing compression stockings and doing simple lower limb exercises.
Other side effects are muscle aches, joint pains and psychological stress.
What is the best way to cope with bedrest?
Keep yourself occupied with books and TV shows. Try to keep a positive mindset, knowing you are doing the best for the baby.
Although bedrest can be challenging, but it may be a necessity to protect you and the baby.
By Dr Kelly Loi
Obstetrician & Gynaecologist (Fertility & IVF Specialist)
Mount Elizabeth Hospital
Address: 3 Mount Elizabeth,
Tel: 6737 2666