Bed Rest In Pregnancy May Not Be As Great As We All Thought – So Get Off Your Butt

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shutterstock_113033893__1368796737_142.196.156.251The seemingly harmless advice that doctors have been doling out to pregnant women for years – stay off your feet – may not be doing anything to lessen the risk for premature birth. In fact, it may be doing quite the opposite.

From Huff

Doctors have known for years that there’s no good evidence that bed rest offers any benefit for certain pregnancy complications, and it can cause side effects in the mother, not to mention emotional and financial strain. Yet estimates suggest nearly 1 in 5 moms-to-be is told to cut her activity – ranging from quitting work to actually staying in bed all day – at some point during pregnancy.

I’m obviously no doctor – but I am about to give birth any day now. I am at the point where I am pretty uncomfortable at all times. I can attest to the fact that if I am sedentary for any period of time, I actually feel worse – not better. When I wake up in the morning, I am stiff and sore. After I write these five articles I am set to do today, my back will undoubtedly be killing me. My days are spent walking laps around my house, rocking on a birthing ball, and basically trying to do all of the stuff I normally do – just a lot slower. Imagine a life-sized Weeble-Wobble going about her daily activities. That’s me.

That’s why when I read the headline Bed Rest During Pregnancy May Worsen The Risk For Premature Birth, I actually wasn’t surprised. It turns out it may be so widely prescribed because there aren’t a lot of treatments that actually help prematurity and other problems: “‘Patients want you to do something, and physicians want to do something,’ explained Dr. Catherine Spong, a maternal-fetal medicine specialist at the National Institutes of Health who co-authored the latest research.” So rather than prescribe nothing – physicians may feel it’s no harm no foul to tell a woman to get her rest. Hmm.

The results of some studies aren’t supporting this “benign” treatment, though; “Some 37 percent of women who took the precautions had a premature baby, compared with just 17 percent of the women who didn’t scale back, the researchers report in Obstetrics & Gynecology.”

This makes sense to me. The stress, boredom and anxiety of not being able to work, care for children or go about your daily life would be way too hard for me to handle. The data definitely shows that we need more, stricter studies to see if this advice is doing women any good.

(photo: Ermolaev Alexander/ Shutterstock)