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Is Bed Rest During Pregnancy Necessary?


An estimated 700,000 pregnant women in the U.S. are told to go on bed rest every year, despite the fact that the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology says it should not be routinely prescribed. Yet, many doctors still recommend it to prevent pre-term birth because that what they’ve always done.

After experiencing bleeding, dilation and pre-term labor at 25 weeks, I was put on bed rest until I delivered my son at 34 weeks. My OB told me that there’s no research proving bed rest works, but there’s not much else they can suggest (although progesterone injections have recently been approved by the FDA for the treatment of pre-term labor). So I sat in bed for nine weeks, unable to care for my other child and slowly losing muscle strength, a handicap that made the first few weeks of caring for a newborn especially exhausting. But my body held out until it was relatively safe to deliver, and I will never know if bed rest is what made the difference.
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Now some OB/GYNs are speaking out against the practice, according to an article in the Los Angeles Times. John Thorp, a maternal-fetal specialist at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, says bed rest is “ruining lives, at least temporarily.” 

"The risks of placing a woman on bed rest outweigh the current evidence it improves outcomes," Anthony Sciscione, director of the Division of Maternal-Fetal Medicine at Delaware's Christiana Hospital is quoted as saying. Dr. Sciscione is hoping for funding to conduct a randomized study on bedrest to finally figure out if it’s truly the best course of action for women at risk for pre-term birth.
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Were you on bed rest? If so, do you think it helped you hold on to the pregnancy longer?