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Bedrest Tips

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Bedrest Tips

Bedrest is tough! You are probably wondering how you are going to cope. Please be aware that it may take days to weeks to adjust to this dramatic change in life-style.

Basic Survival Tactics

  • Organization is a key to successful bedrest. Every aspect of your life these next few weeks or months needs to be thought through and written down. Most of the things you did for your household will need to be done by someone else.
  • Figure out and write down who will do each task.
  • Utilize a note pad to list the nonessential things you would like to have done or have done by support persons. They can then check the list regularly for your requests. In this manner you decrease the amount of verbal requests you make for individual items and thus allow your support person to be organized in doing or getting them.
  • You will need to find other activities to occupy your time. List every quiet activity you do or have ever wanted to learn, such as crocheting, knitting, needle work, organizing the photo album, writing to friends, reading about baby care, parenting, or that novel you never had time to read. You will then need to make a list of everything necessary for each project so they can be bagged and placed within your reach. You will be amazed how frustrating it can be to have forgotten to have a support person get you a pair of scissors before they left when you have your heart set on needle work.
  • Other activities you might want to include are: listening to music or the radio, doing jigsaw or crossword puzzles.
  • Structuring your day and week often helps to make the time pass. First, separate day and night: if you are restricted to rest in bed, you might fold back the sheets and blankets to the bottom of the bed and use another coverlet if you are cold. Thus, one is a “day” bed and the other a “night” one. Open your drapes during the day to “brighten” your room.
  • Continue your usual activity of personal grooming and dressing. In the long run this will help you feel more human and prepared for unexpected visitors and events.
  • Divide the day with different types of activities to help differentiate morning, afternoon and evening. This can include rotation between bed, lounge, and couch. Mealtimes also become dividers during the day.
  • You may find a sheet over the couch is more comfortable than the rough fabric of most sofas. It is also easier to wash than a sofa, especially if you are eating lying down.
  • Plan more entertaining activities for the weekend and Friday evenings. As long as you remain on bedrest, you can entertain. So…you may need to entertain in the bedroom; your friends won’t mind and you’ll love the company.
  • If you have trouble sleeping, structure your pre-bedtime activity to make it different from the rest of the day. You may need to eliminate daytime naps. You may also want to try some of the old-fashioned remedies, such as warm shower and warm milk.
  • You CAN still be a productive member of the family, you just may need to be more creative. For example, store the peanut butter under the bed so you can make sandwiches, fold laundry, make out the grocery list, etc.

General Hints

  • Have duplicate house keys made and give to close friends and neighbors, or hide a key so that they can let themselves in as needed. Encourage others to let themselves in after they’ve called to let you know they are coming.
  • If your primary support person has the type of job where you cannot always reach him/her, e.g., sales, driver, construction, etc., you might want to consider renting a beeper so that you are reassured that you can reach them at any time. The cost is around $35-$45/month with a 3-month minimum rental period.
  • Hospital beds, over-the-bed stands and wheelchairs are available to rent through medical supply companies if desired.
  • Utilize a family member, friend, or neighbor or hire a local teenager or someone from a homemaking agency to assist with house cleaning, laundry, errands, shopping, and meal preparation. The area you rest in the majority of the time is where the largest cleaning effort is often of most benefit. Resting in a somewhat orderly environment can be more calming to the nerves depending on your personality.
  • Develop a method to insure you take your medication as ordered. For example, place a 24-hour supply of pills in a cup.
  • Make sure you have a phone within reach at all times. This may simply mean getting a longer extension cord so that you can move from one resting place to another with the phone, or one of the new remote phones.
  • Keep your address book with names and phone numbers by the telephone so you can call friends when you get the urge.
  • Write to all of your friends and family and suggest they drop you a postcard. Mail can become an event to look forward to with anticipation.
  • You may want to put some lights on timers so that they come on automatically at dusk, then you don’t have to get up.
  • If you don’t have a TV with remote control, borrow or buy one if possible. If you have a VCR or DVD, taped movies are a fun diversion.
  • Change position about every two hours-remember sidelying is best. Also empty your bladder about every two hours while awake.

Nutritional Eating

  • Have your support person pack a cooler with water, drinks, munchies, lunch, etc., when you are left on your own. It also helps to have a cooler even when others are present as it increases your sense of independence.
  • Nutritious snacks that tolerate room temperature can be stored by your resting place. These include fruit rolls, granola bars, fresh fruit, raisins, nuts, etc.
  • Make sure you add fiber and fluids to your diet to decrease constipation which can be accented by your pregnancy and lack of mobility.

Preparation for Baby

  • Now’s the time to read all about pregnancy, labor and delivery, child care, breastfeeding, child management, etc.
  • Make a list of the items you have for your baby and those you still need. Look through catalogues or have someone pick them up for you. Remember stores often have to order cribs, so plan in advance for this item.
  • Make baby items such as blankets, quilts, booties, etc. Depending on the season and your inclination, you may even have the time to make a detailed Christmas Stocking.
  • Keep a journal of your pregnancy for your child for when they are older.
  • The techniques of prepared childbirth can be learned by reading and practicing on your own if need be. A friend who has been through the classes may be able to assist you in learning the techniques if you have questions. There are many books on the market covering this topic.

Despite all the above suggestions and recommendations, there will be times that you will feel depressed. Crying, talking to the baby and talking to others all help combat the blues. It may be necessary to make an extra effort to initiate contact with friends or family, but do it!

Please remember that difficult time can strengthen or mature us and our relationships with family and friends.