Pregnancy Survival Guide: How to Make Your Pregnancy Pleasurable

Pregnancy is the most enjoyable and yet one of the most challenging phase of any woman’s life. It is a phase of mixed emotions…you are happy but still worried about getting a new responsibility, your hormone and mood fluctuations take you on a ride and you might feel ready to welcome the new bundle of joy at one moment and might feel overwhelmed at other moment.

Plenty of advice keep pouring in from family, friends and well-wishers. Eat well, eat healthy, do pregnancy exercises and take enough rest- the list of advice is endless.

Take enough rest. This one advice rings like a melody in my ears. I could take rest whenever my body demanded for it without any feeling of guilt. My first pregnancy went smooth and healthy and I delivered a healthy child. I took enough rest during and after pregnancy.

This “enough rest” became a luxury for me during my second pregnancy as I had to take care of an overactive toddler.  Things went well till five months of my pregnancy and then my doctor restricted me to bed rest for the rest of my pregnancy due to low placenta.

Taking enough rest is enjoyable but getting confined to bed for a long period can really come crushing your spirit and may become an ordeal. There are various medical situations and complications like hypertension, including preeclampsia and eclampsia, previous history of miscarriages indicating upcoming complications, premature labour, low placenta and certain cervix changes that restrict an expecting mother to bed.

A few days back I visited my friend who is expecting her first child. It is a late pregnancy with lots of complications and she has been confined to bed for the remaining eight months. She was in tears and felt depressed. Her situation reminded me of my second pregnancy twelve years back.

Surviving bed rest might seem very challenging in the beginning but with some creativity and ingenuity, you can make it work. Here are a few tips that I used to survive my bed rest during pregnancy and they really worked.

Choose a good area in your house: It can be your bed room if you are comfortable. But seeing the same walls for 24 hours or getting confined to the same room might bore you and make you feel aloof. You can come to your bedroom at the end of the day. For the day time rest, you can make some adjustments in the active area of your house. You can place your small cot in a place which has enough natural lighting and from where you can see the activities and other members of your family. This will make you feel involved in family matters and keep your mind active.

Keep activities area accessible:  A strict bed rest with less flexibility is more challenging than the one which gives you some privilege.  If you can sit up, eat your meals and make frequent trips to restrooms, you need not worry about setting up your resting area close to these activities. However, if it is a strictly restricted bed rest, you have to keep that in account.

Keep necessary items reachable: Being independent with things will help you feel better. Make sure your necessary items are reachable.  Have a fully charged phone with you for emergency calls but make sure it is at an arm’s distance from you so that the radiations are not harming you and your growing baby. A traditional landline phone would be better. Have enough healthy snacks like crackers, peanut butter, fresh fruits, salads, nuts etc. that you can munch in between to feel better and avoid nausea.  Have enough water on your side to drink at regular intervals and keep you hydrated. If you love reading, stack up with books and magazines that you would like to read. Make sure that you have enough lighting (preferably natural light during day time) to not strain your eyes. If you are a music lover, keep music accessible to you.

Feel comfortable: With passing days and growing belly, it might become difficult to keep lying the whole day on bed. Lying on back and on your tummy is a strictly no-no during pregnancy. You have no option but to lay sideways. Put enough pillows and cushions to make you comfortable.

Seek support: Come out of your hesitation and inhibition. Seek help and support from your family, friends and relatives. Accept any and all kind of help from any source (real world or virtual world) and do not feel uncomfortable about it.  Invite your friends and relatives to have tea with you or to simply chat with you or play a board game. Keep a list of things that you need ready and ask them to get it for you. Do not hesitate to ask for help in household chores.  Ask them to visit you regularly with books, movies and magazines.  Internet or virtual world is a great way to connect to moms who are also in bed rest during pregnancy.  Join the bed rest message boards and chat rooms to share tips and advices.

Make the best use of it: Stick to a schedule and have a to-do list ready.  Wake up, clean yourself and change into comfy clothing. Having a plan for the day will make you look forward to the day and will give you a sense of accomplishment.  After the baby arrives, you will be too busy to take care of so many things that you can do now when in bed rest.

There are plenty of things that you can do and avoid you from getting bored or depressed or getting addicted to TV.

  • Choosing a doctor for your child, quality child care and writing a birth plan.
  • A journal of your pregnancy and your bed rest.
  • Deciding a name for the coming member using ideas from books and Internet.
  • Making a family tree to share with your child later.
  • Organizing the family album (you never get a chance to do that otherwise).
  • Writing letters and correspondences.
  • Contacting your job to know about the maternity benefits.
  • Write Thank You Cards for all your support (friends, family and relatives).
  • Write Thank You cards if your baby shower is over.
  • If your baby shower is due, write invitation cards, emails and also start addressing Thank You envelopes for those who might give you a gift.
  • Listen to your favourite music.
  • Watch movies that you did not get a chance to watch.
  • Utilize the time to become parenting expert. Read books on parenting tips and articles online on pregnancy health. Read articles that help a new mother like breastfeeding tips, helping your child’s early development etc. You can also make a folder of useful articles to help you later.
  • Read, Read and Read. If you love reading, you will not get a golden time like this. Read your favourite novels and revisit your childhood stories.
  • If you like some art and craft you can spend time in that. Some embroidery, knitting and art like pencil shading; doodling etc. will keep you happy and engaged. You will find no time for them once the baby arrives. If you love knitting, knit some things like blanket for your baby.
  • Stock up for the items that you might need in the first few months when the baby comes. It can be baby diapers, clothing, baby care products, things to make a nursery. Use your phone to call the local stores or purchase online and things will be delivered to your doorsteps.
  • Support your support. You are getting support from your spouse, your immediate family members and friends. Now it is your turn to support them. You can make a beautiful Thank You Card or write a personal note, use your skills of knitting and embroidery to make some gift or just order something online for them to express your gratitude and appreciation.

Keep a variety of activities on your list to keep you engaged and motivated. You can chat, play video games or surf Internet. Keep the list ready suiting your areas of interest and keeping in mind the need of your body.

Surviving bed rest with older child/children to take care of: Things are easier with first pregnancy but it becomes a little more challenging if you have an older child or children to take care of. Accept all the help that you can get from friends and family. If you do not have enough support systems in place, look out for professional help like a baby sitter or a day care.  Make your kids understand your problem in an age appropriate way.  Try spending more quality time in bed so that you do not have a guilt pang for not being with them. Reading stories together, playing some board games, solving puzzles together,  having a meal together in the bed or taking a nap together, hugging and chatting …there are a number of things that you can do with them while in bed. If your child is old and goes to school, you can help in homework and school projects while in bed.

Be positive. Keep the baby in mind all the times. A happy baby comes out of a happy mother. It is easier to feel frustrated and depressed lying in the bed all day. But you are doing it for the love of your baby.

These tips will help you sail smoothly through the challenging time of bed rest during your pregnancy.

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