Bed Rest Survival Guide / How to get by when you can't get up and about

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Carrie Steingruber
UPDATED
October 2, 2014
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While resting sounds nice in theory, you’ve got way too much to do before junior arrives to be propped up on pillows all day. But staying put (and staying sane) is best for you and for baby, so we corralled Melissa Espey-Mueller and Kiesha Baker, both of North Dallas Doula Associates, along with Stephanie D. Johnson, founder and CEO of Bed Rest Concierge, to steal their secrets for surviving confinement. Here’s their how-to manual in a nutshell:

1. Pamper yourself. Keep up your beauty routines to feel fabulous for your next Netflix binge. And being good to yourself can be good for you: Baker says that high blood pressure is the No. 1 reason her clients go on bed rest, but an in-home massage from a prenatal massage therapist can lower your blood pressure and do wonders for your mood.

2. Find ways to communicate. If you’re stuck at the hospital, employ Skype or FaceTime to stay in touch with friends and family. If you’re stuck in your bed upstairs, keep a walkie-talkie or baby monitor with you so you can give orders from afar.

3. Reach out. "You can only watch so much Lifetime,” Baker jokes. In between consuming 28 parenting books and ten seasons of Grey’s, schedule visits from your favorite people. You’ll appreciate the company, and they’ll appreciate the chance to spend time with you before baby arrives. Espey-Mueller also suggests finding an online community of bed-resting moms to share your questions and experiences.

4. Outsource. Enlisting others to do the heavy lifting is not just doctor’s orders, but also the only way to get things done. Local moms have options:
  • Bed Rest Concierge. BRC (972/302-2827; bedrestconcierge.net) can do just about anything — nursery design, laundry, birth announcements — but moms particularly appreciate the mobile spa services (“Who doesn’t want a little glamor during bed rest?” quips Johnson). BRC gives you the option to pay a monthly fee for access to all of their services, or you can order up a manicure or facial as needed.
  • Personal shoppers. All Dallas-area Whole Foods locations (wholefoods.com) offer a concierge service to do the grocery shopping for you. With 24 hours notice, the concierge team will shop to your specifications and deliver the goods to your door. Online services like Artizone (artizone.com/dallas) and Greenling (greenling.com) will also grab grub from local farms and restaurants to leave on your doorstep.
  • Antepartum doulas. Some doulas specialize in taking care of mom pre-baby; North Dallas Doula Associates (northdallasdoulas.com) provides antepartum assistance in addition to birth and postpartum services.
5. Learn something new. The Internet has more online tutorials and classes than you can wade through in a decade of bed rests (no thanks), including childbirth classes. Espey-Mueller recommends the online childbirth class available through local Baylor hospitals; enroll at baylorhealth.com
 
6. Get ready for baby. Take advantage of your free time to cross items off your to-do list: address your baby announcements, pick out a stroller and car seat, decide on The Name, start your baby book, order the finishing touches for the nursery, even coordinate with your church or neighbors to schedule meal delivery postpartum. 
 
7. Don’t be a rebel. “Follow the rules and listen,” Baker emphasizes. “Stay. On. Bed. Rest. That’s how you’re taking care of your baby.”

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