I haven’t even started being a mother and I already feel like a failure.” For mothers struggling with the effect of bed rest on their families, on their finances, and on their own mental health, adhering strictly to the obstetrician’s orders can serve as an antidote to feelings of powerlessness, a doctor-approved avenue through which the mother’s will can be exercised over her own body.
A difficult pregnancy can be transformed into a task that is worked day by day, and online message chains are filled with reminders that the discomfort and stress of being bedridden will all be worth it once the baby has been born healthy. I made it to 39 weeks and actually had to be induced. My bed rest baby is now 2 years old.” These testimonials motivate bedridden mothers to keep going, to believe in their own ability to change the course of their pregnancy, and to “keep that baby cooking!
(Community members likewise talk about successful interventions with the drug terbutaline, which the FDA warned in 2011 “should not be used for prevention or prolonged treatment . Contractions or tenderness that follow a day during which she got up or walked more often than she feels she should have are easily perceived as a consequence of her own carelessness or neglect.
Clinical trials are rarely cited on bed-rest message boards, though the moderator of one forum sent me a paper published in 2015 in the that claimed to show a decrease in very low birth weights and very premature outcomes.
It was a statistical analysis of survey responses rather than a controlled trial, and it made no distinction between patients on bed rest for two days and patients on bed rest for weeks or months at a time.
n message boards and in chat rooms, mothers with high-risk pregnancies convene to trade advice regarding bed rest.
Women compare the amount of bed rest prescribed (I saw a range from two weeks to twenty-five), ask one another for clarification of their doctors’ orders (are you allowed to sit up?
), give practical suggestions (get a minifridge to put by your bed), and discuss ways to pass the time (coloring books, puzzles, Hulu, crocheting, knitting, journaling, posting on Internet message boards).
They trade tips on how to reduce back pain, leg cramps, and numbness in the extremities.
Messages are supportive and punctuated by smiley faces and small pixelated images of flowers.
Below every post on babycenter.com’s Bed Rest Club is a button that allows you to send the writer a virtual hug.