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What were your bedrest experiences?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 

I am the parent of a 32-weeker and a 34-weeker. Currently 20 weeks with #3. I have a mis-shaped uterus that causes lots of preterm contractions and, obviously, preterm births! I am wondering what everyone's experience with bedrest was. There is so much conflicting advice out there. My first child was born unexpectedly early so we did nothing different that time. With #2, I did 17P shots and 3 months of bedrest. We made it an additional 10 days in utero. This time around, my doctor (new one) doesn't believe in bedrest. I am already having contractions ranging from 1-2 an hour to every 10 minutes or so. I understand that bedrest doesn't make a statistical difference in the studies, but it seems unbelievable to me after spending 3 months on the couch last time that I could just not worry about it and still come out fine. Of course, I wasn't on bedrest the first time around and we made it to 32 weeks.

I know everyone here is dealing with the preemies and not the pregnancies, but I thought I would pick your brains since when you ask a board of people in the same exact situation as you, no one ever knows the answer yet! But you all have been through a few high-risk pregnancies, I would guess.

Any thoughts?

post #2 of 12
I don't have any experience with pre-term labor, my problems have always been caused by preeclampsia. My doctors did not mess around and prescribed hospital bedrest for me my last 2 pregnancies. I spent 3 weeks with Raleigh and got to 34 weeks and a month with Randall and made it to 31 weeks before things went downhill. I believe it helped me get the pregnancies a little bit further. A lot of the other moms on the antepartum ward with me were there for pre-term labor.
post #3 of 12
I went into PTL labor at 24 weeks with my first child. It was the most terrifying experience of my entire life. I did everything the doctors told me including going on bedrest.

I did two weeks in the hospital and another nine weeks at home. During that time, I researched and realized there was little evidence to support the bedrest advice, but continued anyway because I was so worried and frankly, because I could..no other kids, had already quit my job, had a supportive husband, ect.

Then at my appointment around 35 weeks, the doctor told me bedrest was no longer necessary. She said the baby would basically be fine is she were to be born that early.

It was a really weird adjustment to go from bedrest to doing whatever I wanted. I still wanted to carry my baby to term, so I kind of took it easy. Long story short, I went into labor on my due date and gave birth the next day.

I knew the second time around I had a greater risk of going into PTL, but I vowed before getting pregnant that I would not go on bedrest again. For one thing, it was a miserable isolating experience for me and I think one of the contributing factors in my PPD later on. Secondly, I had another child to care for and no one to help out. And third, there was no data to prove it worked.

While I did have a lot of contractions starting around 20 weeks or maybe even a little before, I never went into PTL and gave birth at 40 weeks and 1 day again.
post #4 of 12
We just had our third son. I had preterm labor with all of my pregnancies. With my first it started at 32 weeks. With my second, I began to have contractions at 23 weeks and my son was born at 35 weeks. With my third, the contractions started at 12 weeks and my son was born at 31 weeks.

I was on modified bed rest or "taking it easy" with all of these from the point I began having contractions until I was at 34-36 weeks. With my last pregnancy, I went on strict hospital bed rest at 28 weeks when medications stopped working to stop contractions and then my water broke.

I've read the studies too, but I know that for me activity has a significant impact on contractions. Avoiding sex, heavy lifting, housework and exercise are probably more important that true bed rest. My doctor encouraged me to pay attention to my body and to take it really easy when I did feel contractions.

In my most recent pregnancy, when we hit 28 weeks I relaxed about bed rest and ended up doing a few things that had been off limits for months (walking and sex). And then I began to have contractions that were strong enough that I landed in the hospital for the last 3 weeks of my pregnancy. Beyond some point, being in bed didn't totally stop contractions, but it kept the baby's weight off my cervix and kept the amniotic fluid levels up after my water broke. Those things bought Zephan more time in my womb.

So I guess this means I think resting, if not strict bed rest, is important. You probably will need to find some sort of help with your kids. What else is your doctor suggesting? Is she monitoring things closely? Encouraging you to eat well and stay hydrated?
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks everyone for your responses. Sbrinton, I was particularly interested to read your experiences since they are so similar to mine in terms of the gestations of your first two children. I think your advice is really close to what I am telling myself - taking it easy with no sex, walking, or housework, as those things do seem to cause contractions for me, too - even though this doctor has not told me any of that! Just went to another appointment today and he seemed completely unconcerned about the contractions I've been having and told me I didn't need to change my activity level at all. Did mention staying hydrated, which of course I am trying to do. And I am seeing the high-risk clinic once a month where they are doing cervical ultrasounds and at some point will start with FFN tests.

I think I am just going to do what makes sense to me... by this time on my third pregnancy I think I know my body better than the doctor who sees me for five minutes once a month... and we'll see how far we get!

So congratulations on Zephan's birth! Is he still in the NICU? How is he doing?

Thanks again -
post #6 of 12
I did a strict bedrest for 8 weeks. It was horrible. The uncertainty, the inability to do anything at all for my other son, the time I had to sit and worry... ugh.

Mine was due to an IC with a rescue cerclage at 19w. From 19w on, I was confined to bed with permission to go to the bathroom and take a very short shower every day. I stopped taking a daily shower about 3 weeks in when I lost my mucus plug.

I had lost 3 pregnancies in the 3 years prior because of the same issue and they were all very shortly after 20w GA. That very strict BR and the cerclage made it possible for me to carry my dd until almost 28w.

FWIW, my doctor told me I could do no bedrest, I could do home Bedrest (the option I chose), or he would be OK with admitting me to the hospital at 19w for the duration. He told me there were no conclusive studies about the effectiveness of BR but in his experience, it helped more women than not. I also had p17 shots after the cerclage and I was told not to do any OB office visits until my gest diabetes test (I didn't quite make it to that )

I credit my OB and BR with my dd's live birth. Otherwise, she would have been born still like some of my other children.

That was my experience, medically. Emotionally, it was much different and very isolating.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for sharing, sunflowers. So sorry for your three losses. Did they put cerclages in the second and third times? You were so brave to keep trying! So glad you (and your child) were able to make it the fourth time!

I know, bedrest is horrible. And I was never as strict as you were. I can definitely see the compelling reason when you have IC. It was the ambiguousness of having contractions with my previous pregnancies that made me never sure whether being on bedrest for 13 weeks was worth it or not. So I'm just looking for a little good anecdotal evidence!
post #8 of 12
With my first pregcy, I had braxton hicks one morning. I was about 27/28weeks. My belly felt like a basketball on and off- a sign of hicks or contactions. Went in to the hospital and had monitoring. Turns out I was also 1 cm dilatioed. Went on bedrest, strict bedrest. I became best friends w the discovery channel, court tv etc. Since this was my first, I just sat on the sofa or in bed. My mom or my MIL or SILs would bring us meals or DH would make when he got home. A few times, I would not have any contractions for hours so I would get up- guess what then I would contract so back down I went.

I was working FT, and had a sales territory and my princess of a boss didnt understand why I had to "sit on my ass" as she said it. Oh well, when she would call, I would say I was at a Drs appt then, sorry I missed your call! While I was on maternity leave, she was fired . It took them months to catch up w me and I quit then.

At 36 weeks and a few days, I got up and didnt delivery until 3 days before my dd. I did take it easy most days though.

With Maggie, I had contractions at 24 weeks and a few days. All it took was about 2 strong ones to dilate me fully. It didnt help Maggie stuck her foot in the birthing canel causing me to dilate. So she was delivered quickly and no time for bedrest which I would have fully traded for!
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Amys1st View Post
So she was delivered quickly and no time for bedrest which I would have fully traded for!
As much as bedrest sucks, it is way better than the NICU - especially at 24 weeks!! How is Maggie doing now? Thanks for sharing.
post #10 of 12
zephan is doing well. he has been home from the nicu for one week. he is breastfeeding as i read on here or i'd write more...
post #11 of 12
Originally Posted by sarlusan View Post
As much as bedrest sucks, it is way better than the NICU - especially at 24 weeks!! How is Maggie doing now? Thanks for sharing.
Maggie will be 3 in Feb and she is doing wonderful Thanks!
post #12 of 12
I have IC also - I lost a baby at 19 weeks, and my living son was born at 35 weeks after 19 weeks of bed rest and an emergency cerclage.

I'm currently 21 weeks pregnant and have been on some sort of modified activity or BR since 12 weeks. I get weekly cervical scans to see the length my cervix and I am certain that BR is helping keeping this kid in. My Peri is much more lax about BR than my OB and when I tried a week on his advice (no BR needed, just take it easy) my cervix shortened considerably.

Trust your gut - if you feel like you need to rest for the safety of the baby then by all means, do so - You know your body and baby better than any doctor.

And yes, there's not a lot of official results showing BR works, but my thought is that if they tell you to walk to get labor going, doesn't it seem to make sense to not do that when you are trying to keep your baby in?
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