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Chelsea at Crunch Gym

Forty Weeks of Fitness!

Chelsea, our pregnancy fitness expert, is a certified personal trainer at Crunch gym in San Francisco, California. She gave birth to her daughter, Madeira Re, in July 2006. Read more

Making the Best of Bedrest

More than 700,000 pregnant women, or nearly one in six, are put on bedrest for some part of their pregnancy. This can be an extremely stressful situation for obvious reasons. When your baby is in danger and you are restricted from normal activity, all you have is time to dwell on his or her well-being. In addition, you may be required to take a leave of absence from your job, which can create financial stress for you and your family; and you will probably be restricted from household chores and prohibited from engaging in sexual intercourse, which can put a strain on your relationship with your partner.

Communication is the key to surviving bedrest. Talk with your partner to come up with a revised family budget and a list of what needs to be done around the house, as well as some alternative ways you can maintain intimacy that are safe for you and your baby.

There are several different levels of bedrest, assigned depending on your circumstances. Talk to your doctor about your particular type of bedrest and find out specifically what you can and cannot do.

House Arrest is usually not really bedrest, but simply being confined to your home. You will probably be allowed to stay on the couch, in bed, or in a sitting position, but you will be restricted from sexual intercourse, exercise, and lifting.

Partial or Modified Bedrest requires you to spend part of each day lying down and resting. You may be allowed to work at a desk for a few hours a day, but must be on the couch or in bed the rest of the time. You are restricted from sexual intercourse, exercise, and lifting.

Strict Bedrest requires you to stay in bed, sitting up only for meals and standing only for quick showers or trips to the bathroom. You may be limited in the number of times a day you can change locations.

Complete or Hospital Bedrest is the strictest form of rest and may require hospitalization. You are not allowed to get up for anything - even trips to the bathroom or for bathing. You may also be required to lie with your head lower than your feet to alleviate pressure on your cervix.

One of the most important things to do if you are on bedrest is to ask for help. You will probably not be able to do housework, laundry, cook, or care for any older children, so make a list of what needs to be done and take friends and family up on their offers to help. Make copies of your house key for close friends and family who will be visiting frequently, so you don't have to get up to answer the door.

Since you may not be able to get up every time you want a snack or to answer the phone, keep several plastic bins around you filled with supplies, including the phone and your address book or phone directory; magazines, books, catalogs; supplies for your hobbies; and quiet toys or books to read to an older child. Have a TV and VCR or DVD player moved into the room and keep the remote(s) handy. Movie subscription services such as Netflix are convenient because you can keep the movies as long as you want and just drop them in the mail when you're done and ready for more. If possible, have a computer (preferably a laptop) with Internet access close by - this is a great tool for doing research, joining chat rooms, emailing, and instant messaging with friends. Keep a fully-stocked cooler by your bed so you don't have to get up to eat. Have someone fill it with a selection of healthy foods each day, and put warm soup or other liquids in a thermos. Disposable moist towelettes for wiping your hands and mouth after eating are handy. And don't forget a wastebasket near your bed, unless shooting baskets from across the room will entertain you!

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