So you been put on Bed Rest During Pregnancy. How’s that going?
A couple of things have inspired me to write this blog.
Firstly, a colleague asked me to write a few words on the importance of relaxation during pregnancy for her eBook.
As all of my clients know, I am very passionate about all pregnant mums (and their partners) learning some relaxation techniques for pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding and beyond.
Secondly, a client was put on Bed Rest by her obstetrician for a high blood pressure at 38 weeks.
As I had just written that active relaxation, as opposed to passive relaxation, has been shown to have a better effect on lowering a pregnant women’s blood pressure, I began to question the wisdom of the standard advice of “Bed Rest”.
Relaxation during pregnancy has been shown to have clear benefits for mum and her growing baby.
a positive effect on Mum’s emotional health;
fewer hospital admissions;
fewer obstetric complications;
fewer preterm babies;
reduction in caesarean section rates;
fewer postnatal complications;
lowering of fetal heart rate; higher-birth-weight babies;
improved scores on the Neonatal Behaviour Assessment Scale,
improvement of the mum’s physiological and endocrine measures (eg lowering blood pressure and controlling blood sugar levels).
So is resting in bed enough relaxation for these effects?
Many studies have looked at the effects of relaxation on the pregnant mum’s heart rate and blood pressure.
They have found that active relaxation such as self-stimulated imagery, muscle relaxation, yoga therapy, or guided meditation, brought greater improvements to a mum’s heart rate and blood pressure, than passive techniques, like sitting quietly or resting in bed. These type of relaxation techniques also helped to decrease stress levels in the Mum, which had positive effects on her baby’s development, and pregnancy and birth outcomes.
Knowing my client was a super fit mum with two other children to think about, I knew the thought of “Bed Rest” for 2 weeks or more weeks would be anything but relaxing for her, and would probably increase her blood pressure. So I told her about the above research.
Luckily she had done the Hypnobirthing Australia™ programme which incorporates these techniques.
So rather than just staying in bed and getting more and more frustrated I reminded her about all the tools she had to lower her blood pressure, while at the same time getting in some awesome practise for her birth.
Perhaps you are someone who would love to lie around in bed all day.
But if you are not, what are you going to do?
Here are some things to do to make the most of “Bed Rest”
- Focus on your breathing: Breathing properly has amazing effects on our bodies, so learn how to breath well.
- Learn some progressive relaxation techniques: this is a great way to help you understand where you hold your tension, then you can really learn to release and let go of these parts before your birth.
- Don’t forget to eat well: you need to be nutritionally fit for birth and breast feeding too
- Get your baby in the best position: This can be more challenging when in bed, but remember the principles of optimal fetal positioning .
- Do your pelvic floor muscle training!
- Educate yourself on how to have the best birth possible: Knowledge is power, so here are a couple of my favourite websites : Midwife Thinking and Sara Wickham
- Practise your massage and acupressure techniques for birth with you partner 🙂
- You could even do the Online Hypnobirthing Australia™ course, if you haven’t had time to attend face to face classes
- Bond with your baby.
- Enjoy the benefits of a calm pregnancy, and know you are learning some great tools to make birth, breastfeeding and early parenting so much more stress free and enjoyable.