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Does Bed Rest During Pregnancy Help?

Does Bed Rest During Pregnancy Help?

In the past, women were frequently put on bed rest as their pregnancy advanced, particularly if there were complications, such as a danger of going into early labor and/or losing the baby. While to some women, the idea of bed rest may come as a relief, it also can bring its own set of problems.

Let’s take a closer look at bed rest during pregnancy.

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Why Would My Doctor Prescribe Bed Rest?

There are many reasons why doctors still prescribe bed rest for their pregnant patients. Some of the most common reasons are:

  • Vaginal bleeding or suspected problems with the placenta.
  • Contractions or other signs that preterm labor is possible.
  • An incompetent cervix. This is a term given to a cervix if it is weak or threatens to open up before the baby is carried to term.
  • A multiple pregnancy (i.e. carrying twins, triplets, etc.)
  • A less-than-average pattern of fetal growth (i.e. the baby is not growing as fast as the doctor would like)

Are There Different Kinds of Bed Rest?

Yes. Bed rest might mean different things to different doctors, so make sure you ask about what your restrictions are. In its mildest form, bed rest might simply mean slowing down, such as cutting hours at work, only doing light housework, and avoiding any heavy lifting or strenuous activity. A stricter form of bed rest might mean that you have to spend most of your time sitting or lying down and will not be allowed to do even light work.

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In its strictest form, women on total bed rest must be in bed at all times and lie on their side, even while eating. They will have to take sponge baths to maintain personal hygiene, and will also have to use a bed pan for their bathroom needs since they are not allowed to get up and use the toilet. If bed rest is this strict, it will often require hospitalization so that a woman with these restrictions can still get the care she needs.

Are There Side Effects to Bed Rest?

There are side effects to bed rest, especially if it is strict. Women should be aware of these going into the rest itself. These side effects can include:

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  • An increased chance of blood clots. When you are in a resting position for a long period of time, this can make your circulation sluggish and blood clots easier to form. Blood clots can lead to serious complications if they become lodged in the heart, lungs or brain.
  • Joint and muscle aches and pains from inactivity.
  • Muscle weakness due to inactivity. This can make it harder to begin recovering from the pregnancy after the baby is born.
  • Emotional problems like boredom, isolation, and anxiety.

What Makes Bed Rest During Pregnancy Easier?

If you are put on bed rest, it will be easier for you if you are able to follow the tips below:

  • Know the rules – Talk to your doctor at the beginning and make sure you understand exactly what restrictions you are on. Is it okay to get up and walk around the house? To take a shower or go to the bathroom? Do you need to be in bed all the time?  Knowing your parameters will help decrease your anxiety.
  • Plan ahead – Be sure you have what you need within reach, including a water glass, snacks, personal care products, and different ways to entertain yourself (see below). Having a cell phone to be able to make calls and talk to people is also nice.
  • Keep yourself entertained – The day can seem very long, especially if you are on total bed rest. In order to keep yourself distracted, make sure you have plenty of things around you to pass the time. Books, movies, crossword puzzles, knitting, drawing — whatever it is that makes you happy, do it!  Also, if your doctor says it’s okay, see if friends or family can come over periodically for visits to decrease your feelings of isolation.
  • Accept your own feelings – Even if you are keeping yourself distracted, bed rest can take an emotional toll on you. Anxiety, boredom, worry about the pregnancy, even a little depression, are common for women in this situation. Talking about your feelings — and being prepared for them in advance — can help.
  • Ask for help – If you are not able to do housework, shop, or run errands, see if friends or family members can help you with some of these day-to-day tasks. It will take pressure off of both you and your partner.

Conclusion

Bed rest is difficult on any woman. Just remember: this, too, shall pass! While it is not an ideal situation, it will not last forever. Being prepared, having good support, and keeping yourself entertained are all great ways to make this time as easy on yourself as possible.

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Published on January 30, 2019

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

How to Support a Working Mother as a Working Father

In roughly 60 percent of two-parent households with children under the age of 18, both parents work full time. But who takes time off work when the kids are sick in your house? And if you are a manager, how do you react when a man says he needs time to take his baby to the pediatrician?

The sad truth is, the default in many companies and families is to value the man’s work over the woman’s—even when there is no significant difference in their professional obligations or compensation. This translates into stereotypes in the workplace that women are the primary caregivers, which can negatively impact women’s success on the job and their upward mobility.

According to a Pew Research Center analysis of long-term time-use data (1965–2011), fathers in dual-income couples devote significantly less time than mothers do to child care.[1] Dads are doing more than twice as much housework as they used to (from an average of about four hours per week to about 10 hours), but there is still a significant imbalance.

This is not just an issue between spouses; it’s a workplace culture issue. In many offices, it is still taboo for dads to openly express that they have family obligations that need their attention. In contrast, the assumption that moms will be on the front lines of any family crisis is one that runs deep.

Consider an example from my company. A few years back, one of our team members joined us for an off-site meeting soon after returning from maternity leave. Not even two hours into her trip, her husband called to say that the baby had been crying nonstop. While there was little our colleague could practically do to help with the situation, this call was clearly unsettling, and the result was that her attention was divided for the rest of an important business dinner.

This was her first night away since the baby’s birth, and I know that her spouse had already been on several business trips before this event. Yet, I doubt she called him during his conferences to ask child-care questions. Like so many moms everywhere, she was expected to figure things out on her own.

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The numbers show that this story is far from the exception. In another Pew survey, 47 percent of dual-income parents agreed that the moms take on more of the work when a child gets sick.[2] In addition, 39 percent of working mothers said they had taken a significant amount of time off from work to care for their child compared to just 24 percent of working fathers. Mothers are also more likely than fathers (27 percent to 10 percent) to say they had quit their job at some point for family reasons.

Before any amazing stay-at-home-dads post an angry rebuttal comment, I want to be very clear that I am not judging how families choose to divide and conquer their personal and professional responsibilities; that’s 100 percent their prerogative. Rather, I am taking aim at the culture of inequity that persists even when spouses have similar or identical professional responsibilities. This is an important issue for all of us because we are leaving untapped business and human potential on the table.

What’s more, I think my fellow men can do a lot about this. For those out there who still privately think that being a good dad just means helping out mom, it’s time to man up. Stop expecting working partners—who have similar professional responsibilities—to bear the majority of the child-care responsibilities as well.

Consider these ways to support your working spouse:

1. Have higher expectations for yourself as a father; you are a parent, not a babysitter.

Know who your pediatrician is and how to reach him or her. Have a back-up plan for transportation and emergency coverage.

Don’t simply expect your partner to manage all these invisible tasks on her own. Parenting takes effort and preparation for the unexpected.

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As in other areas of life, the way to build confidence is to learn by doing. Moms aren’t born knowing how to do this stuff any more than dads are.

2. Treat your partner the way you’d want to be treated.

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve heard a man on a business trip say to his wife on a call something to the effect of, “I am in the middle of a meeting. What do you want me to do about it?”

However, when the tables are turned, men often make that same call at the first sign of trouble.

Distractions like this make it difficult to focus and engage with work, which perpetuates the stereotype that working moms aren’t sufficiently committed.

When you’re in charge of the kids, do what she would do: Figure it out.

3. When you need to take care of your kids, don’t make an excuse that revolves around your partner’s availability.

This implies that the children are her first priority and your second.

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I admit I have been guilty in the past of telling clients, “I have the kids today because my wife had something she could not move.” What I should have said was, “I’m taking care of my kids today.”

Why is it so hard for men to admit they have personal responsibilities? Remember that you are setting an example for your sons and daughters, and do the right thing.

4. As a manager, be supportive of both your male and female colleagues when unexpected situations arise at home.

No one likes or wants disruptions, but life happens, and everyone will face a day when the troubling phone call comes from his sitter, her school nurse, or even elderly parents.

Accommodating personal needs is not a sign of weakness as a leader. Employees will be more likely to do great work if they know that you care about their personal obligations and family—and show them that you care about your own.

5. Don’t keep score or track time.

At home, it’s juvenile to get into debates about who last changed a diaper or did the dishes; everyone needs to contribute, but the big picture is what matters. Is everyone healthy and getting enough sleep? Are you enjoying each other’s company?

In business, too, avoid the trap of punching a clock. The focus should be on outcomes and performance rather than effort and inputs. That’s the way to maintain momentum toward overall goals.

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The Bottom Line

To be clear, I recognize that a great many working dads are doing a terrific job both on the home front and in their professional lives. My concern is that these standouts often aren’t visible to their colleagues; they intentionally or inadvertently let their work as parents fly under the radar. Dads need to be open and honest about family responsibilities to change perceptions in the workplace.

The question “How do you balance it all?” should not be something that’s just asked of women. Frankly, no one can answer that question. Juggling a career and parental responsibilities is tough. At times, really tough.

But it’s something that more parents should be doing together, as a team. This can be a real bonus for the couple relationship as well, because nothing gets in the way of good partnership faster than feelings of inequity.

On the plus side, I can tell you that parenting skills really do get better with practice—and that’s great for people of both sexes. I think our cultural expectations that women are the “nurturers” and men are the “providers” needs to evolve. Expanding these definitions will open the doors to richer contributions from everyone, because women can and should be both—and so should men.

Featured photo credit: NeONBRAND via unsplash.com

Reference

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