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Strict Bed Rest Guidelines for Pregnant Mothers: Why is it Advised?

Medically reviewed by Ruben Macapinlac, MD, DPPS · Pediatrics · Philippine Pediatric Society

Written by Patrick Juanico · Updated Sep 05, 2022

Strict Bed Rest Guidelines for Pregnant Mothers: Why is it Advised?

During pregnancy, rest and avoiding doing strenuous activity for the mother is important. This avoids any possible complications that might arise like bleeding during labor and even stillbirth or miscarriage. When is strict bed rest advised by doctors? 

When is Bed Rest Advised?

Your doctor may recommend strict bed rest for pregnant women in cases of or in prevention of the following:  

However, doctors no longer frequently suggest bed rest to pregnant women. This is because studies show that inactivity of mothers during pregnancy can cause more serious complications.

Strict bed rest guidelines are only recommended in unique cases. 

What Do The Studies Show?

There are some people that think that bed rest can help to prevent premature birth, but that is not actually the case as there is no evidence that shows this.

Doctors usually encourage pregnant women to be physically active, especially as they build the strength to carry the extra weight from the baby.

However, there may be times when the doctor may ask the mother to follow strict bed rest guidelines to ease certain pregnancy pains and make sure that they keep away from being too stressed, which may lead to other complications.

Strict Bed Rest Guidelines for Mothers

Here are some reminders for when your doctor orders you to undergo bed rest:

Sleep on your side

Doctors would usually ask you to sleep on your side especially if you are already in the third trimester of pregnancy. Sleeping on your back can cause some blockage to vital blood vessels going to your womb, which might restrict the oxygen supply of the baby.

Use pregnancy pillows

Some mothers need the aid of pillows for them to be able to sleep more comfortably. There are pregnancy pillows that you can buy in the market. But you can also just put regular pillows in between your bent knees and on the side of/under your belly.

Improve your sleeping environment

This means that you should sleep in a room where it is dark and away from many electronic devices. It is also important to sleep at a temperature that is comfortable for you.

Do not overeat

Although maintaining a healthy diet and getting proper nutrition during pregnancy is important, you should also remember not to overeat. Overeating can cause heartburn, which will cause problems to your breathing.

Eat frequently but in small amounts to avoid getting heartburn.

Relax before going to bed

Doing some light and relaxing activities before going to bed can drastically improve your overall quality of sleep during pregnancy. You can choose to have a shower, listen to music, or even do some light reading before going to sleep.

Leisure walks

It might seem contradictory to ask a mother to do a little physical activity while being ordered to undergo bed rest. But again, the potential risks of inactivity can pose more serious health problems. Leisure walks, even just around the house, are recommended. 

Risks of Extended Bed Rest

Bed rest is rarely advised to mothers now, especially as studies have shown that there are more potential health risks than benefits.

Some of the risks that you might experience with extensive bed rest while being pregnant are

  • Muscular deconditioning due to inactivity
  • Reduction in bone mass
  • The feeling of weakness, especially in limbs
  • Blood clotting in your deep veins (like your leg) 
  • Key Takeaways

    Bed rest is not usually prescribed by doctors as the risks outweigh the benefits. However, it is best to consult and follow your doctor to ensure a safe and healthy pregnancy. 
    When it comes to appropriate exercise during pregnancy, avoid strenuous activity that may put you and your baby at risk. Always consult your doctor for what is safe and appropriate. 

    Learn more about Pregnancy Problems here


    Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

    Medically reviewed by

    Ruben Macapinlac, MD, DPPS

    Pediatrics · Philippine Pediatric Society

    Written by Patrick Juanico · Updated Sep 05, 2022

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