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Chelsea at Crunch Gym

Forty Weeks of Fitness!

Chelsea, our pregnancy fitness expert, is a certified personal trainer at Crunch gym in San Francisco, California. She gave birth to her daughter, Madeira Re, in July 2006. Read more

Making the Best of Bedrest

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Sticking to a schedule will help you structure your days, make you feel as if you're accomplishing something, and give you something to look forward to. If you are able, take a shower each morning, change out of your pajamas and into comfortable clothes, and do your makeup and hair (if those are part of your normal morning routine). This will help boost your self esteem and make you feel somewhat normal. Keep a hairbrush, clips, mascara, lipstick, and other beauty items in a little bag near your bed so you can freshen up before guests arrive. Open the drapes and windows to your room for fresh air. Keep the room as cheery and comfortable as possible. In the winter, have a portable heater and extra blankets nearby in case you get cold. In the summer, keep a portable fan or air conditioning unit handy.

You may find yourself feeling jealous of your friends or partner for being able to lead normal, active lives while you are shut in. You may also feel intense loneliness, isolation, helplessness, boredom, guilt, and fear. These feelings are all normal and be prepared to have some bad days. Don't hesitate to reach out to your close friends, family, partner, and religious or professional counselors if you are feeling desperate. Try to stay positive and focused on the goal: delivering a healthy baby. Keep in mind that every day she is still inside you is a victory, and the better her chances for survival. Hang an ultrasound picture of your baby where you can see it and use it as a focal point for meditation and a constant reminder of why you are doing all this. Take advantage of this time to bond with your unborn baby. You will probably be able to feel every poke, turn, and hiccup more acutely than other mothers-to-be who may be on the run and too busy to notice. Try to think of this time as a special opportunity to sing, talk, and read to your baby.

There are several simple ways you can stay healthy and relatively comfortable while on bedrest. Dehydration increases the risk of preterm labor and contributes to constipation, so make sure you drink at least 8 to 10 glasses of fluids every day. Eating smaller meals more frequently may help you feel better and maintain a more balanced blood sugar level, so eat 6 to 8 small meals each day. Gently stretch your legs and arms several times a day to improve circulation and prevent clotting.

Once you have delivered your baby and try to return to your normal routine, you may be surprised how hard it is. Depending on how long you were on bedrest, your muscle tissue may have deteriorated, your energy levels dropped, and your cardiovascular system may have weakened. Bedrest is also a type of sensory deprivation so you may feel overwhelmed when you first go outside - everything may seem too bright, too fast, and too chaotic. You may feel exhausted quickly and it may take several months for you to feel like yourself again. Be patient and ease back into your normal routine slowly.

Sidelines National Support Network provides support, education, and advocacy for women with high-risk pregnancies and their families. You can contact them at or 888.447.4754 (888 HI RISK).

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