Recently the question ‘Is bedrest essential during a multiple pregnancy?’ seems to have been asked a lot. It’s a question with divided answers – some doctors have a blanket policy of putting all multiple mummies-to-be on bedrest after a certain point (eg 28 weeks), others take a more relaxed approach. And there are different types of bedrest – ranging from strict (no getting up even for meals) to modified (see below).
Now whether or not you go on bedrest is ultimately a question for you and your doctor – in some cases it is no doubt needed. But strict bedrest is not a fun experience for mum, so I would urge you to talk to your doctor and make sure it is medically justified in your particular circumstances.
What is certain is that multiple pregnancies are very taxing on mum’s body. For me it often felt like my body was just not designed to carry two babies at once. My skin stretched like you wouldn’t believe. My shoulders, knees and back ached from the extra weight. A year on I’m still repairing the damage to muscles and joints.
So with all this happening, plus all the internal changes (extra bloodflow, having to nourish two growing babies etc etc) taking it easy is very important. Whatever you think you can do, half it. Chances are you will get a lot more tired than you think, even if you don’t feel it immediately.
For instance, in my first trimester Multidaddy and I took a walk in a local park. We’d often gone before – it’s a bit hilly but nothing serious, and certainly not anything that would be classed as a hike. We were only out for about 45 minutes. However, the next day I started spotting. That was the end of walks with even little slopes for me.
And there was the problem – I couldn’t tell what was going to be too much in advance, or just pushed through the vague feelings of tiredness thinking that I could not possibly be doing too much already. But when you are pregnant with multiples, if you have even a tiny niggling feeling that you might need a break, stop. It might go against the grain, but do it.
By 20 weeks, after a bigger bleed (I overdid it again), I was on a kind of modified bedrest. This essentially meant going from bed, to couch, to car, to seat in restaurant / friend’s house / cinema / sport’s game…. The key here is to go about life, but minimize the time on your feet. Modified bedrest is much much easier (and realistic) than strict bedrest.
After 30 weeks, worries about pre-term labour, and increasing lack of energy, I went out less and less. In the last couple of weeks (35-36) I spent a lot of time asleep, and the vast majority of the rest of the time on the couch / at the table for meals. By this point, I didn’t need a doctor to tell me to slow down, it was painfully obvious to myself.
So, is bedrest necessary? The (annoying) answer is really that it depends on your circumstances. However a blanket policy of strict bedrest should definitely be questioned, and please do explore the more realistic option of modified bedrest. Finally, get in tune with your body, don’t allow your head to overrule your heart on this one, and if you feel the slightest qualm when doing something then you probably should stop.