As I have mentioned before, I was placed on bed rest when I was 24 weeks pregnant with our boys. I am also a volunteer for Sidelines National High Risk Pregnancy Support Network, a wonderful organization which supports women who are experiencing a high risk pregnancy and who are on bed rest. So as you can imagine, I am a huge proponent for bed rest. I strongly advise any woman to listen and obey her doctors orders when bed rest is prescribed.
So when I received an e-mail from Sidelines, which contained a link to an article that was printed in the Chicago Tribune on January 29, 2011 — I immediately tensed up after I read the headline:
The title of the article only made matters worse, Value of Bed Rest Questioned; Data don’t back up prescriptions of bed rest. Just typing that makes me mad all over again.
Bed rest is not easy
It’s not that I disagreed, with everything that was mentioned in the article. I actually did agree with some of the points that were made. Bed rest is not easy. It is huge financial, emotional, physical, and psychological strain. It’s not how anyone envisions their pregnancy to be. It’s certainly not how I envisioned it…
I told people, I was planning on working right up until the day I went into labor. Actually, only a month before I was placed on bed rest, I had purchased a bunch of new, super cute, super stylish, maternity clothes to wear to work (let me tell you, I looked fantastic during my weekly visits to see my OB. It was always my big outing for the week; where I could see and be seen).
I also had visions of decorating the nursery and doing all of the “nesting” things moms-to-be do, but that’s not how my pregnancy went and that’s totally okay.
My experience with bed rest
After I was prescribed modified bed rest, told I could not work, and that I was only leave the bed/couch to fix myself something to eat, shower and use the restroom — my pregnancy days changed dramatically. I would spend my time watching TV, reading, unsuccessfully trying to crochet, and praying – with each and every breath I took – that my babies would stay put.
I did exactly what I was told by my doctor. There was so much uncertainty during that time, so many things out of my control, and even though bed rest wasn’t a promise that nothing bad would happen, it was something I would do. Something I could do for my babies, so that I would know – for better or worse – I did absolutely everything I could.
I am happy to report that after being diagnosed with placenta previa at 8 weeks, bleeding at 13 weeks, having mild contractions starting at 19 weeks and being placed on bed rest at 24 weeks — our boys were born at 39 weeks 4 days (36 weeks is considered full term for twins). The boys were completely healthy. In that moment, I knew that the sacrifices my husband and I made, were so minimal compared to the blessings we received. I would do it a thousand times over!!!
So, although the article wasn’t one-hundred percent wrong, it didn’t tell the whole story. The thing that concerned me the most about it — was that someone might read it – who is high risk or may one day have a high risk pregnancy – and then disregard their doctors recommendation.
Sidelines offered this statement after the article was published:
This debate has raged for 20 years and belongs in the hands of individual women and their doctors.
Our concern is that women who truly have medical need to decrease activity or rest in bed will take this article as a message to them to ignore their very specific conditions and medical advice. Publishing an article which provides such a one-sided view is irresponsible. And if a baby is born prematurely because of it, then it is down right dangerous.
We urge all mothers who read this and question the efficacy of bed rest to discuss your concerns with your health care provider.
Candace Hurley, Director Founder Sidelines www.sidelines.org
I am pleased to say that on February 8, 2011, the Chicago Tribune did publish some letters from women, who had been on bed rest. You can read those letters here Voice of the People
If you or someone you know is experiencing a high risk pregnancy, I urge you to contact www.sidelines.org. They offer free support and information to anyone who needs it.