How to Help Someone on Bed Rest

When I was pregnant with my daughter Caroline, I was diagnosed with preeclampsia, and then later showed symptoms HELLP syndrome, which meant stints of both home and hospital bed rest. Instead of spending those last uncomfortable weeks of pregnancy distracted by getting to know my new students {I was due the end of September, and put on bed rest 3 days before the start of the new school year}, I spent it confined to a hospital bed, and honestly, somewhat scared for what was going to happen to me, and to my daughter.

If you’ve never been on bed rest, laying around and kicking your feet up for a couple of weeks {or a couple of months for some women} might sound pretty relaxing, but in reality, it’s a time of constant poking and prodding, wires and beeping, making lists in your head of things that you haven’t done before the baby arrives, and your mind running wild in the most unnerving of ways. Bed rest can be an incredibly lonely time, but with a support system of people willing to step up, it can also be a time of great hope, strength, and overwhelming gratitude. Though much of my family is thousands of miles away, I was really fortunate to have people around me who constantly let me know that I was being thought of, prayed for, and cared about. If you’re looking to support a friend or loved one on bed rest, I’ve compiled a list of things that were done for me, and for friends who have also spent time on bed rest that helped to make it a more positive experience…

Bed Rest Help - Featured

:: Pack a Hospital Bag ::

I was sent to Labor & Delivery Testing straight from a normal day of work, and on to the Antepartum Unit weeks before my expected due date – without a chance to go home and grab any essentials. Obviously having a hospital bag ready was something that I had been thinking about, but not something I had yet done {and definitely not one for an extended hospital stay}. And let me tell ya, never underestimate the importance of a shower using your favorite shampoo, and good face-wash, and comfortable pajamas. It’s pretty much an immediate attitude adjustment to be able to feel halfway like yourself, and to have a little bit of familiarity.

:: Wash & Fold Baby Clothes, Blankets, etc. ::

One of my biggest {albeit most ridiculous} fears was bringing a baby home to no clean clothing or blankets and giving her a crazy skin rash because there was nothing ready for her. Doing laundry — something that has always been one of my most detested chores, was one of the few things I absolutely longed to do. If you’re up for adding another load to your already seemingly endless task, it would certainly be appreciated, and might just qualify you for sainthood.

:: Arrange for a Manicure/Pedicure at the Hospital ::

One of the lovely side-effects of preeclampsia is this whole thing called water retention. If you ever wondered how you seemingly gained weight overnight, imagine literally gaining 10+ lbs. overnight. The skin on my hands, feet, legs, literally my whole body was so tight I felt like a sausage in casing. All humor aside, it was pretty miserable. So when my aunt had a manicure and pedicure scheduled for me IN my hospital room, it was a god-send. Even if someone you know isn’t having crazy water retention, the stress relief found in a manicure and/or pedicure is enough to turn an on-edge pregnant person from frazzled to feeling like a million bucks. {Bella Mademoiselle provides spa services at both The Woman’s Hospital of Texas and Texas Children’s Pavilion for Women — you can find them on Facebook and schedule services by calling them at 713-438-7878.}

:: Bring a Favorite Meal or Plan a Girls’ Night In ::

Hospital food can get old in a hurry. Nutrient rich, yes – flavorful, no. And if you’re on home bed rest, that definitely doesn’t mean slaving over a hot stove on your feet. Sometimes the simplest act of bringing a favorite meal can completely lift the spirit of your bedridden friend/family member. If you want to go the extra mile, plan a Girls’ Night In for the Mama-to-be…a night of girl talk, delicious food, and mocktails is sure to be a welcomed distraction.

:: Schedule a House Cleaner ::

Nothing says you care like arranging a house cleaner to show up to get things neat and tidy. Chances are, your friend/family member’s bedrest happened at a really inopportune time, and things might be a little haphazard around her house. Messes and/or disorganization {AND not being able to do anything about it} often mean stress, especially if you’re already reeling from your lack of control over the situation.

:: Buy Her New PJs or a Custom Hospital Gown ::

Never underestimate the value of creature comforts. I arrived at the hospital and was put on bedrest in an outfit that I had worn to work in my classroom all day. I felt absolutely disgusting, and all I wanted was a fresh pair of pajamas – because the backless hospital gown was NOT going to cut it. Nowadays, you can find stylish and comfortable maternity pajamas/lounge wear just about anywhere, and in a variety of price ranges. One of my personal favorite options are these amazing kaftan inspired hospital gowns by James Fox Co. — the goal of these gowns was to serve as a simple comfort in the midst of the unexpected, and a quiet reminder that a mother is also a woman.

:: Gift Cards to Help Pass the Time ::

Hospitals don’t exactly offer a multitude of options when it comes to your viewing pleasure. Every now and then, you might be lucky enough to find a Law & Order marathon, but for the most part — especially during that PAINFULLY boring midday/afternoon time slot — counting ceiling tiles could provide more entertainment than what you’ll find on television. Even if you’re home, OnDemand is only great for so long. Consider purchasing a Netflix, Amazon, or iTunes gift card for the expectant mama. A funny movie, entertaining book, or Beverly Hills 90210 double-feature is always a nice diversion.

:: Visit! ::

Your budget may not allow for gifts or meals, but your time is just as valuable. And often times, the gift of companionship is just what the doctor ordered, especially when you’re feeling the pangs of loneliness while on bedrest. And if you’re not local, and/or visiting is just not an option, a phone date can be just as great. Ultimately, it’s the knowledge that someone is thinking of you that really helps to get you through the toughest days, and a phone call or visit can definitely do just that.

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Amy was born and raised in Northern California before moving to the Houston area in 2003. Amy has a degree in Corporate and Organizational Communication from the University of Houston - where she met her husband Tate, a former football player for the Cougars and current CrossFit gym owner. Amy and Tate enjoyed their first year of marriage as Inner-Loopers before moving out to the suburbs to start a family. Caroline joined their family in September 2012, and life has never been the same since! Aside from her job as mom, Amy works full-time as an English teacher at the junior high level. She loves fresh air, online shopping, baking, and finding new things to do in and around Houston. Amy writes at New Mom Problems where she chronicles her life as a California girl living in Texas, motherhood, being a wife, and teaching middle school.

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