The Long Third Trimester (on Bedrest!)

The long third trimester on my couch

I was 29 weeks pregnant with my first child when I walked into a routine appointment and discovered things had changed. My cervix had shortened significantly and they admitted me with discussions of NICU stays and the endless list of possible complications. After about a week in the hospital, my little girl had stayed put and things hadn’t worsened, so they agreed that I could go home. That’s when they told me – bed rest. That meant no more work, only the couch or the bed. I thought about all the implications this would have on my day-to-day life but the health of my baby was top priority, so to the couch I went.

I had a condition called an “incompetent cervix" which means my cervix was not strong enough to hold the baby very well – and she still had lots of growing to do. I was fortunate that I was able to stay home and delivered a healthy baby girl at just shy of 37 weeks. But it wasn’t easy to be on bed rest – and now in my second pregnancy about 25 weeks in, they tell me to lay low. These are just some of my personal tips that helped get me through.

•  All those shows you’ve been meaning to watch? Book you’ve been meaning to read? Now is the time!

•  Stock up on quick, easy snacks- something you can grab out of the pantry or fridge, or even just keep beside you on the couch. This was crucial for when my husband was out of the house all day at work.

•  Get yourself a good pregnancy pillow to keep you comfy with all that laying around.
Try to position yourself with your legs elevated as much as possible. If you can, get some compression socks or enlist a family member/friend to give the occasional calf massage. Inactivity such as bed rest can increase your risk of blood clots and these things will help reduce that risk. Check with your OB regarding this.

•  Look into stretches you can do while seated or laying. I would get so stiff from laying down for so long! Of course, check with your OB prior to doing any of the stretches.

•  Try to remind yourself that, while it’s easy to feel lazy or like a burden to your spouse/partner/family, you’re doing the best thing you can do to keep your little one safe.

If you or someone you know is expecting and on bed rest – there is so much you can do – set up a page for them today!

Submitted by Rachayl S., Physicians Assistant living in Virginia with her husband and daughter.

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