Many pregnant women can lead a relatively normal life throughout their pregnancy. However, there are pregnant women who are advised to rest in the event of certain risk situations that may endanger their health or that of the baby.
Rest may be relative or absolute, the latter being stricter. In general, pregnant women on bed rest should only get out of bed to go to the bathroom
Provided below is an index with the 8 points we are going to expand on in this article.
Relative rest and absolute rest
Rest implies no exertion. However, when the specialist recommends the pregnant woman to rest, it can be a relative or absolute rest:
- Relative rest
- involves limiting the usual physical activity and resting, but the pregnant woman can do certain light tasks, without making any effort.
- Absolute rest
- the woman should remain in bed, getting up only when it is very necessary, such as to go to the bathroom.
Therefore, it is always advisable for the pregnant woman to ask her doctor and to specify beforehand, as far as possible, which activities she should restrict, as well as if there is a more appropriate posture to adopt during the rest.
Finally, it is important to mention that rest may have a variable duration and should be maintained until the woman receives a new indication from the specialist.
Indications for absolute rest in pregnancy
There are several reasons why the gynecologist may prescribe absolute rest to the pregnant woman. Among them are:
- Threatened abortion with bleeding
- bleeding during the first trimester of pregnancy may lead the specialist to instruct the pregnant woman to maintain absolute rest. However, rest may be relative if the bleeding subsides, until gradually recovering normal life.
- Placenta previa
- when placenta previa is detected in a follow-up ultrasound of the pregnancy, the pregnant woman is usually advised to maintain relative rest. However, if bleeding has occurred, rest will be absolute.
- Intrauterine hematoma
- some intrauterine hematomas are a reason for the gynecologist to order absolute rest for the woman.
- Medical intervention
- after certain medical procedures, such as amniocentesis or cerclage, the patient usually has to rest absolutely for a few days.
- Early rupture of the amniotic sac
- if it occurs before 34 weeks, the patient will be put on bed rest until it is more certain that delivery will occur.
- Premature uterine contractions
- rest is usually recommended to try to reduce the risk of premature delivery. Rest will be absolute or relative depending on the intensity of the contractions and the particular situation of the pregnant woman.
- Intrauterine growth retardation
- if it is due to placental insufficiency, the pregnant woman is often advised to rest.
- sometimes requires hospitalization, but in certain milder cases the specialist may recommend rest for the woman.
On the other hand, the increased risk of complications such as premature delivery that exists in a twin or multiple pregnancy, also makes it very common for the pregnant woman to have to rest.
Risks of absolute rest in pregnant women
Some of the negative effects that rest during pregnancy could have on the pregnant woman are:
- Muscle atrophy and loss of bone mass, which can hinder postpartum recovery.
- Blood clots (venous thrombosis).
- Stress, anxiety and depression.
In addition, the beneficial effect of rest on the prevention of preterm labor is currently a matter of controversy. However, it is true that many doctors still recommend restricting activity for pregnant women with any problems.
Useful tips for rest during pregnancy
To avoid muscle wasting caused by rest, it is advisable to make postural changes and gently move the legs and feet. It is possible that the doctor may recommend certain light movements that the pregnant woman can do, so it is advisable to ask about this.
On the other hand, it will be imperative that the pregnant woman on bed rest carefully monitors her diet. This will be critical to monitor caloric intake, as activity restriction can lead to excessive weight gain during pregnancy. However, it will also be important to incorporate fiber and adequate water intake to avoid constipation.
In addition, this period of rest can be especially hard psychologically for the pregnant woman. Women are limited in their activity, but they can also feel a great responsibility. Therefore, it is best to keep busy reading, watching TV, doing those things you previously never had time for (as long as they don't require effort), planning for the baby's arrival and keeping in touch with family and friends.
FAQs from users
What may be the reasons for complete bed rest in pregnancy?
In most pregnancies it is possible to lead a normal life and even do moderate physical activity, but on some occasions it is necessary to recommend that the pregnant woman rest.
Among the reasons for which rest may be recommended during pregnancy are vaginal bleeding, the threat of premature delivery, intrauterine growth retardation, medical procedures, loss of amniotic fluid, preeclampsia and maternal illnesses.
What is considered relative rest in pregnancy?
Pregnancy is a natural state in which a new being is generated, grows and matures inside a woman. Although physiological, gestation implies an overload for all the structures of a pregnant woman and, although the organism has an amazing capacity to adapt to this new situation, there are pathologies that may appear and with which the obstetrician may recommend some kind of physical rest.
Absolute rest is total rest, the absence of physical activity and implies bed rest.
Relative rest is not such a drastic measure, but it does imply a notable reduction in movement and effort. Although it is not an indication of absolute immobility, the pregnant woman should assume that everything that involves exertion should be avoided.
The duration in both cases can be variable and only under medical prescription can a normal daily life be resumed.
Are there better positions than others for absolute rest in pregnancy?
In general, the specialist will recommend that the pregnant woman remain lying on her side for absolute rest. However, it is important to vary this position relatively frequently to avoid skin damage and irritation.
However, the pregnant woman can ask her specialist about this, as well as about some light exercises and movements she can do in bed to prevent muscle loss and the appearance of blood clots.
Can I do voluntary bed rest during pregnancy?
Some pregnant women may be tempted to voluntarily take complete rest during pregnancy because they are afraid that any activity they do may affect their pregnancy.
However, it is not necessary for the pregnant woman to restrict her activities in this way. Absolute rest has certain disadvantages and risks such as the appearance of blood clots and muscle atrophy, so it should not be done voluntarily.
In case of any doubt or concern, it is best for the pregnant woman to always consult a specialist.
Suggested for you
As we have mentioned, rest during pregnancy may be recommended by the specialist in the event of certain complications. You can learn more about some pregnancy complications in the following article: What are the most common pregnancy complications?
On the other hand, we have also mentioned that rest may be common in multiple pregnancies. For more information about the risks of this type of gestation, you can visit the following link: Risks of multiple pregnancy for mother and babies.
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FAQs from users: 'What may be the reasons for complete bed rest in pregnancy?', 'What is considered relative rest in pregnancy?', 'Are there better positions than others for absolute rest in pregnancy?' and 'Can I do voluntary bed rest during pregnancy?'.