Angela of Keep ‘Em Cookin’ has become a “cyber” friend of mine during my high-risk, always-end-up-on-bed rest pregnancies. She is my go-to gal for all my pregnancy needs! And now, she is here to share her top tips to keep that bun in the oven during pregnancy.
Create a Routine
Nearly every woman I know who spent time on bed rest has said that establishing a routine was the first step in adjusting to bed rest. There’s comfort in knowing what to expect each day, and it gives you the chance to celebrate the small victories. “Yay! I’ve made it to my morning snack!”
Ask for Help
Asking for help is the worst part of bed rest for so many women. You’re a grown woman, suddenly depending on others for clean clothes, a refill on your water bottle and even just a lousy piece of toast. Friends and family DO want to help, they just aren’t sure how. Maybe they don’t want to intrude or whittle away at the last of your independence. Don’t be shy. Just ask!
Days spent on bed rest are long. Verrrrry long. You’re going to need a team of online pals around the clock. Join the pregnancy boards, and especially check out online support groups for women on bed rest, like Sidelines, KeepEmCookin and the Facebook bedrest groups. Twitter is amazing too!
Invite People Over
You’ve been in the same sweatpants for three days, you haven’t colored your hair in weeks, and you haven’t seen your toes in months. Your best friends don’t care one bit! Really! And, this is a great time to be a good friend to them. You will be so happy to hear about life on the outside and to think about someone else’s troubles that you will become the greatest listener of all time.
Learn Something New
A high-risk pregnancy can be all consuming. You have to find ways to think about something other than your little bean. Order travel brochures to look at exotic locales and plan a dream vacation. Get lost in home décor and design websites, like HomeDecorators.com or Dwell.com. When you’re too distracted to read or to watch yet another episode of Law & Order, listen to a foreign language learning CD or a book on CD about financial planning.
Doing good feels good. Ask friends and family if there is something you can do for them during this time: research their family tree, clip coupons, do some online shopping for them. Check with nonprofit or religious organizations to see if they need volunteers to make phone calls, or go to VolunteerMatch.org to discover other opportunities.
Find a Way to Relax
Anxiety is a common response when you’re diagnosed with a high-risk pregnancy. One minute you’re happy and glowing, and the next you’re thinking about your baby’s health and maybe even survival. You need a way to shut down the fear and worry and instead create a feeling of calm. Try something repetitive, like knitting or crocheting. Say a prayer, visualize a favorite place, or take 10 minutes to meditate. You can even try this bed rest meditation exercise created by a hypnotherapist: http://www.birthdownload.com/index.php/bed-rest-in-pregnancy.
Have a Mantra
When you have all the time in the world to think, it’s easy for your brain to get trapped in cycles of negative thinking (about the messy house, missing your job, worrying about Baby). Stop! Replace those thoughts just as they begin with something positive. For example: In this moment, I am exactly where I need to be. Or try: I’m doing the most important job in the world. You’ll want to find a mantra the best addresses your biggest worries. And when all else fails, remember… this is only temporary. This is only temporary… This is only temporary…
Visit Keep ‘Em Cookin’ to get more tips on preventing preterm birth.
Angela Davids is the founder of Keep ‘Em Cookin‘, an educational organization that provides current information on high-risk pregnancy and offers online support for women on bed rest through a forum and weekly live chats. Follow Angela on Twitter.
See all of Casi’s Being Pregnant posts here.