“Bed rest does not appear to improve the rate of preterm birth and should not be routinely recommended.” -American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
“The majority of women who are on bed rest don’t need to be, and many experience physical, emotional, and financial complications that are completely unnecessary.” -Mark Taslimi, M.D., professor of maternal-fetal medicine at Stanford University
“Just because something is widely believed doesn’t make it true. Scientifically, bed rest is simply not a valid treatment.” -John Thorp, M.D., a maternal-fetal specialist at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill
Disclaimer: Nothing contained in this post should be considered medical advice. If you have concerns or questions, please consult with your healthcare provider.
Several weeks ago, someone I care about was put on bed rest (at seven months pregnant) for some worrisome cramping she had been and continues to be experiencing. Her situation catapulted preterm labor and bed rest onto my radar screen with big flashing red lights. I had never really given preterm labor or bed rest much thought because I had never experienced them nor had anyone close to me. As I started digging into the scientific literature on these subjects, I was totally blown away by what I discovered. I’ve been researching pregnancy and childbirth topics for over seven years, but, yet again, I’m asking myself, “How did I not know this before?”
Before I dive into those stunning facts, let me first set the scene with the not-so-pretty reality of the bed rest experience.
Bed Rest Challenges
“Rest cure” has been recommended to women as a means of treating a wide variety of physical and emotional ailments since the 1800’s. Almost a million American women are prescribed bed rest during their pregnancies every year for all types of pregnancy complications.