From binge-watching to babysitters—7 practical ways to survive bed rest

There are many reasons why doctors recommend bed rest. You may be experiencing symptoms of premature labor, or dealing with an issue like pre-eclampsia. It may seem like a daunting and dreadful task to lay around for weeks, perhaps months on end, but it will go by faster than you think. With a little help (and a lot of surrender) you can do this.


Here are some great tips for surviving bed rest with your sanity intact.

1. Get details

Your physician should give you instructions and parameters for your bed rest. For instance, are you allowed to do everything but lift objects greater than five pounds? Or should you be confined to bed except for trips to the bathroom?

Be sure to get explicit instructions and a thorough list of do’s and don’ts. For instance, ask if you should be using a wheelchair when visiting the doctor. Take notes—pregnancy brain is a thing.

2. Hire a babysitter or get help from family and friends

Being on bed rest with your first child is substantially easier than being on bed rest with your second or third. Having a toddler may make the simple task of staying confined to bed seem nearly impossible.

Try to schedule care for siblings as if you are working full time. Hopefully, siblings are in school, but if they are not, try finding friends, family, or even a daycare that can care for them the majority of the day. Care.com is an excellent resource that screens providers if paying for care is an option for you.

3. Try a meal train

If you are the main cook in your household, losing the ability to cook for your family may prove to be difficult. Never be afraid to ask for help! Ask a close friend to coordinate meals for your family.

There is even a handy app called MealTrain that can people can use to sign up for meals with a simple link. It makes it easy to see who is coming and when, and to be able to plan pizza delivery accordingly!

4. Ask people to come over

Spoiler: You are going to get bored. Scheduling visitors will help ease the boredom and provide you some socializing time and good conversation with other adults. Play cards, have tea, talk, but don’t feel the need to be the consummate hostess.

You may also need help doing things around the house. Laundry doesn’t stop for bed rest, and neither do dishes. Try scheduling a helper once a day for an hour. Not only can you two catch up socially, but you can get the help you need to get household chores done.

Lotsa Helping Hands is a great tool where you can list your needs and the times of day you need help or visitors—and with a link, people can sign up to help you. You can easily coordinate this yourself, or a good friend can take the responsibility from you. For ease of use, meals can also be coordinated on this site.

5. Binge-watch

Entertainment makes the time go by quickly, of course. Borrow some great reads from friends, write letters to dear relatives, buy a sudoku or crossword puzzle book. Play cards with friends and family. Take up knitting, crocheting, or that DIY project you pinned 18 months ago.

Ask friends for recommendations on their favorite shows or movies. Binge-watching a great show will help hours of bed rest go by quickly.

Here is a list of shows (comedy and drama) with multiple seasons so you can get the most mileage from your binge:

  • The Office
  • Parks and Rec
  • How to Get Away with Murder
  • Parenthood
  • Scandal
  • Gossip Girl
  • Orange is the New Black
  • Mad Men
  • Grey’s Anatomy
  • West Wing
  • Grace and Frankie
  • Breaking Bad
  • Shameless
  • The Crown
  • Daredevil
  • Pretty Little Liars
  • Dexter
  • Lie to Me
  • Law & Order
  • Criminal Minds
  • Vampire Diaries
  • How I Met Your Mother
  • Gilmore Girls
  • One Tree Hill
  • Dawson’s Creek
  • New Girl
  • Grace and Frankie

6. Hire help if you need to

If you find that friends are too busy or family lives out of state, you might consider hiring help. Even a couple of hours a week will help ease your burden and get you the extra assistance you need. There are so many people looking for part-time work. Hire a reliable teenager in the neighborhood, or ask around and see if you know anyone looking for a part-time gig.

7. Let some things go

You can’t do it all, especially from your bed. Surrender to the chaos of your home and your family. Laundry can be done and folded sparingly with help, your house can be messy, your kids can watch a little more TV.

In the grand scheme of things, this bed rest is a short period of your life. Prioritize delivering a healthy baby over household chores and activities. You will be glad you did.

Bed rest isn’t the end of the world. It is a short-term situation in favor of a long-term goal. Keep your eye on the prize, mama. Reach out, be honest, relax and let things go. You deserve the rest you are getting.

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