It was my second prenatal check-up and I’m roughly at my 12th week of pregnancy when the ultrasound revealed that I am carrying twins. “I recommend that you should be extra cautious with this pregnancy by compelling yourself to bed rest starting at 7 months”, my obstetrician said. She explained that I should have bed rest because twin pregnancies have a high risk for premature labor, and the ones who will suffer the consequences the most are my unborn babies.
To be honest, my obstetrician’s prescription to stay in bed was not a welcome change from my usual routine. In fact, I even planned to get back to work a few months after my wedding and swore that even if I get pregnant, I will still continue to work and be financially productive no matter what. But this time, I guess I’m left with no other choice but to make sure my babies will be okay.
Your health care provider knows how difficult bed rest is, but I bet she won’t put you on this if it were not for the benefits bed rest can do for you and for your baby. Here are the reasons why bed rest is important.
#1 Bed rest decreases pressure on the cervix
When you lie on your side, the weight of your abdomen will rest on the bed putting minimal pressure to the lower part of the uterus (cervix). This is especially helpful in cases of incompetent cervix. Incompetent cervix is an obstetrical condition wherein the mother has painless cervical dilatation in the 2nd or early 3rd trimester, followed with prolapse and rupture of membranes and unfortunately expulsion of the immature fetus.
#2 Bed rest increases blood flow to the baby
When you are at rest, your body will only be using minimal energy from the nutrients carried by blood. Hence, much of these nutrients will be redirected to the fetal circulation. Assuming a left lateral recumbent position will also prevent the major blood vessels supplying the fetus from getting impinged by the weight of the uterus, thus increasing blood flow and enhancing the delivery of nutrients to the baby.
#3 Bed rest decreases the risk of vaginal bleeding
Vaginal bleeding usually occurs when the placenta is implanted low at the cervical opening (know as placenta previa). Patients with placenta previa will benefit most with complete bed rest because bed rest will defy the forces of gravity, putting very small pressure on the placenta, thereby preventing placental blood vessels from getting severed.
#4 Bed rest may help stop preterm contractions
This is a widely accepted fact; although very little details are available which explains how bed rest helps stop contractions. It could be that during bed rest, external stimulation to the abdomen is avoided, which eventually helps in stopping preterm contractions.
#5 Bed rest maximizes oxygen delivery to the babies especially in cases of twin or
When you are rested, it is expected that your body oxygen demand is minimal. This is good because it will favor transport of oxygen to the area where it is most needed—the growing baby. Oxygen demand is appreciably increased in twin or other multiples of pregnancy. Hence, bed rest is strongly indicated.
Bed rest will definitely be tough, especially for women who used to be on-the-go. But like any other challenges that come our way, a good rationalization and simple understanding of the need of having to do something, in this case–to do bed rest, helps a lot to push us through and beat the odds. After all, each day of bed rest brings us closer to the day with our baby in our arms.