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Bed Rest for Preterm Labor

Topic Overview

Expectant management is the close monitoring of a pregnancy for complications. It may involve some bed rest at home or in the hospital. Being on expectant management may mean you are advised to stop working, reduce your activity level, or possibly spend a lot of time resting (partial bed rest).

There is no evidence that long-term bed rest lowers the risk of preterm delivery. footnote 1Studies have shown that strict bed rest for 3 days or more may raise your risk of getting a blood clot in the legs or lungs.footnote 2 Strict bed rest is no longer used to prevent preterm labor. But your doctor may recommend expectant management with some bed rest (partial bed rest).

If you are prescribed partial bed rest

If your doctor or nurse-midwife suggests expectant management for preventing preterm labor, discuss the benefits and risks in light of your condition.

When you are resting or sleeping during late pregnancy, try to lie on your side. This is thought to improve blood flow to the uterus and fetus(es).

Dehydration can trigger contractions, so be sure to drink plenty of fluids each day.

When you are lying down, remember to flex your feet, stretch, and move your legs as much as possible.

References

Citations

  1. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2012). Management of preterm labor. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 127. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 119(6): 1308–1317.
  2. Cunningham FG, et al., eds. (2010). Preterm birth. In Williams Obstetrics, 23rd ed., pp. 804–831. New York: McGraw-Hill.

Credits

Current as of: May 29, 2019

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Sarah Marshall MD - Family Medicine
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito MD - Family Medicine
Kirtly Jones MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology

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