poisonwood's Diaryland Diary

Date: Oct. 09, 2009 . Time: 12:51 p.m.

bed rest Entry:


bed rest

I was rather horrified to read that Jen was prescribed bed rest. I don't really know anything about the subject except that, like anyone, I hope it doesn't happen to me and feel sorry for those subjected to it. I was curious, so I googled a bit.

From the Mayo clinic:

Bed rest isn't a proven remedy for preventing pregnancy complications or preterm birth. Still, bed rest is sometimes prescribed as a safeguard. To make the best of the situation, remember that each day of bed rest brings you one day closer to delivery.

From the Cleveland clinic:

Bed rest can mean literally resting in bed or just restricting your activity. Nearly 20 percent of pregnant women are prescribed some form of bed rest each year. If you have been prescribed bed rest, it means that your health care provider is concerned about a condition that may prevent you from carrying your baby to full term. While a period of bed rest can interrupt your routine, it may be helpful in carrying your pregnancy to full term.

(emphasis mine)

So, bed rest isn't a proven remedy (according to the Mayo clinic), but because it may be helpful, it's prescribed for nearly 20% of pregnant women?

More, from my brief googling, on what bed rest is theoretically useful for:

According to Amy E. Tracy, author of The Pregnancy Bed Rest Book, gravity is the underlying reason. "Many obstetricians believe that using gravity through a lying down position aids in stabilizing or improving some medical conditions."

Limiting physical activity helps alleviate or prevent stress on the mother's vital organs, such as the heart, kidneys or circulatory system. It increases blood flow to the uterus and conserves energy, increasing the amount of nutrients directed towards the babies. Equally importantly, it takes pressure off the certix and may help keep the uterus from contracting, reducing the risk of preterm labor.


Although bed rest is controversial because the benefits have not been clearly documented in the scientific literature, as many as 20 percent of all pregnant women are confined to a week or more in bed.

A link to a study on bed rest. Excerpt from the abstract:

Only two studies including 84 women were identified. There was no statistically significant difference in the risk of miscarriage in the bed rest group versus the no bed rest group (placebo or other treatment) (relative risk (RR) 1.54, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.92 to 2.58). Neither bed rest in hospital nor bed rest at home showed a significant difference in the prevention of miscarriage. There was a higher risk of miscarriage in those women in the bed rest group than in those in the human chorionic gonadotrophin therapy group with no bed rest (RR 2.50, 95% CI 1.22 to 5.11). It seems that the small number of participants included in these studies is a main factor to make this analysis inconclusive.

12:51 p.m. - Oct. 09, 2009


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