New conclusions about bed rest during pregnancy

So far, my third pregnancy is going well. I’m able to maintain almost all of my normal activities including work, swimming and taking care of my two children. But, I have to admit, one of my fears is that I will suffer a complication that requires bed rest. I can’t imagine taking care of my 4-year-old and 2-year-old from the couch or bed.

But I know that my fear of bed rest is not unrealistic. Each year in the US, one in five pregnancies ends in bed rest. So I was surprised and relieved to see new evidence that bed rest is not an effective treatment for many pregnancy complications.

The most recent review, published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, provides a sweeping analysis that looked at six different systematic reviews from the Cochrane Collaboration on using bed rest for a variety of prenatal complications including miscarriage, hypertension, preeclampsia, preterm birth, multiple gestations and impaired fetal growth. (Regular readers will remember how much we respect reviews from the Cochrane Collaboration.)

The new analysis concluded that “bed rest should be only within a formal clinical trial” because the evidence to date shows that it does more harm than good.

Since then, media outlets across the country have written about the topic. The Washington Post and the New York Times both provided details about the most recent review. And the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists issued a statement that said bed rest should not be routinely recommended to prevent preterm birth.

For my part, I’m about halfway through my pregnancy and healthy as could be at this point, so my medical providers have no reason to recommend bed rest. But if a complication does arise, I’m thankful there’s a body of evidence that describes the most effective – and ineffective – treatment options available.


  1. Larica says:

    Great post. During the pregnancy don’t need bed rest. Because During this time blood circulating is very essential for pregnancy. During this time own should be need some work. Thank you for sharing this article .

  2. anya sai says:

    If your bed rest occurs for a long period of time, it is important to discuss exercises or activities that you are allowed to do to keep your blood circulating. Here is a list of activities : Cooking , Walking , Driving.

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