How to Survive Bed Rest


NYCAt 27 weeks pregnant with my first child, I was working full time and was just starting to feel the discomforts of pregnancy. I joked at work about how glorious it would be to have doctors’ orders for bed rest. Little did I know that after attending my first baby shower on a Sunday afternoon, I would be admitted to the hospital with an incompetent cervix and preterm labor. Forty-eight hours later (24 of those on magnesium), I was sent home on strict bed rest.

I am here to testify that bed rest is NOT glorious! In fact, it is pretty miserable. Not only are you terrified of what might happen to your baby, but you are left also alone with your thoughts all day — the worst scenario for a first time mom. After eight weeks of bed rest, here are a few ideas that helped me (and my husband) stay sane.

Take a shower everydayLying in bed all day is NOT normal. Taking a shower will help you feel like you are among the living. Even the strictest of bed rest orders will allow you to take a shower. You may have to get used to sitting in a chair, but whatever works. Put on fresh clothes and if we are being really honest, then fresh underwear is all you need.

Have two bed rest stations It is just not possible to lie in your own bed for 8 weeks. At the very least, the sheets need to be changed. I had trouble sleeping at night because I had spent ALL day in bed. I found it helpful to set up camp in another area of the house. Try to have your essentials at each station so you don’t have to tote them back and forth. Water, snacks, books, phone, laptop, lotion, chapstick, etc.  Even if someone has to push you down the hall in an office chair on wheels (this may or may not have happened), you will feel rejuvenated getting to visit a new area everyday.

Find a housekeeper Having a housekeeper was always just a fantasy of mine. I would casually mention this to my husband in the hopes he would get the hint, but secretly I am a clean freak and enjoyed doing it myself. After a week of bed rest, my husband realized he would not be able work full-time, take care of a bedridden pregnant wife, cook, and clean. It was time to bring in reinforcements. Since I was no longer working, it felt too extravagant, but we cut back in other areas to make it work. It was a tremendous load off Mike’s back (literally) to know that someone was taking care of the chores. In hindsight, this was one of the best decisions we made during that hard season.

DO NOT GOOGLEIt will be better for your heart and soul if you stay away from search engines and chat rooms. Given nothing but time and the Internet inches from your fingertips, it is a hard temptation to resist. Instead, call your doctors! If you are on bed rest, you probably have several doctors involved in your care. In my attempt to stay off the Internet, my OB received two middle-of-the-night calls. One instance she advised me to come to the hospital, and the other she advised I stay home. Either way, it is much more reassuring to consult a real person than a computer screen . . . not to mention a screen that provides every worst-case scenario possible for your fragile imagination.

Accept help from family and friends Easier said than done! We are a culture that offers those around us all kinds of help when they are in need, but when the table is turned it is SO hard to accept. From meals, to grocery runs, to help setting up the nursery, you WILL need help. Accept it, be grateful and move past the guilt.

Anyone else been put on an extended bed rest? What helped you survive those long weeks?

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Elisa is a Texas native and grew up in Arlington. She met her husband (Mike) while attending Baylor University and they married in 2004. They have two sons, Colin (2012) and Jake (2017). Elisa works part-time as a speech language pathologist treating adults with swallowing, cognitive, and language difficulties. She must have coffee in the morning, loves to search the Target aisles for sales, and loves calling Fort Worth home. Elisa took on her new role with the blog in August 2015. Contact Elisa at [email protected].


  1. Elisa, great tips! I was on bed rest 26-36 weeks and it was tough. Your tip about hiring a housekeep is so smart, I wish I would have thought of that!


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