Bed Rest During Pregnancy {Reader Question}

Gratefully, I’ve been blessed with four healthy, full-term pregnancies.  I have no experience with bed rest, but understand that it is a concern for many expecting mamas.

Just yesterday I received the following question:

Do you or any of your followers have ideas for a care package to give to a friend that is on bed rest in the hospital with her twin boys at 25 weeks? Not sure what a mother-to-be would like to have with her for the hospital stay.

What a friend, right?!

I’ve not been there, but here are a few ideas off the top of my head:

  • magazines
  • lotion
  • manicure kit
  • favorite music or dvd
  • photo frame for a sonogram picture (motivation by the bedside)
  • simple bouquet of flowers
  • devotional for moms
  • fresh fruit or other favorite snacks

Those of you who have been there, and all other creative types, what do you recommend?  What would be nice to have in the hospital (or even at home) while on bed rest?

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Comments

  1. Those are all wonderful ideas, Amy! One of the greatest gifts I was given when hospitalized in preterm labor was the gift of peace of mind that things were covered on the home front. Having someone feed our cat, provide childcare for our son, make sure no bills got lost in the shuffle, check on the house, etc, etc. was a load off my mind and enabled me to focus on the job at hand– getting that baby safely into this world!

  2. I would think having food prepared for the rest of my family or even brought to me in the hospital would be great. Also crossword puzzles, books, etc would be good to give as a gift.

    Also in this specific case of preterm labor with twins, if she knows of anyone else who had been through that situation that they could call with questions. I had our twins at 30 weeks (emergency c-section) but the biggest support I received was talking to other people who had been through having twins early and how after the lengthy NICU stay they could develop to full health.

  3. Sudoku books, healthy snacks, paperback books or books from the library (come back and get them to return).

  4. All the items on the list are great! I went on bedrest during my first pregnancy for 13 weeks and the one thing I craved the most was company! Of course my husband and my mom were around, but there’s only so much to talk about after the first couple days. So if you can make time to visit, even its short, it will be nice entertainment and a nice distraction :) Also-some hospitals will allow beauticians to come in do hair, makeup, nails, etc…

  5. My sister was in the hospital last year with her triplets on bed rest for awhile and then a baby in the NICU. One thing that was helpful, was something to laugh about. Funny movies or something that could help take your mind off of things. Good books that were not too heavy reading, if they have a hobby like knitting, crocheting or suduko, that is really nice.
    Healthy snacks, they have a lot of snacks in the hospital, but they get tiring. Some stock like homemade granola bars, oatmeal cookies, trail mix, etc. Things that they can eat when they tired of hospital food or don’t want to bother the nurse.
    Visit her……it is gets tiring sitting there with no one around. Find out when is a good time, and just listen!

  6. Jill F. says:

    I would suggest a sleep mask to block out sunlight when she needs a nap. Earplugs may also be helpful because hospitals can be quite noisy. I am a mom of three with a 4 week old. Can you tell I’m thinking about sleep a lot?

  7. A good friend of mine was in the hospital for several weeks before her twins were born. Her husband created a gift basket for his wife. She was allowed to open ONE gift a day. There were enough gifts in the basket to last until the babies due date. The gifts were small items like socks, small bottle of lotion, her favorite soap, a book, etc. I honestly don’t remember everything that was in that basket. What I do remember is how much she looked forward to opening those small gifts every day!

  8. I was in the hospital on bedrest for 11 weeks. It was horrible! Some of my saviors were: Word Search books, (so I kept my mind busy and didn’t totally lose it!), some minor scrapbooking projects (little books or pages I could work on…they were great and made time fly by!) Plain M&M’s (I was in a teaching hospital in the city and all the interns loved coming in my room because I always had snacks…hence, visitors!!), magazines, home decorating books, and notebooks for journaling, writing down ideas, etc.

  9. Maybe a deck of cards or two-player board games would be a welcome distraction? I’ve never been there, either, so I can’t speak with much authority…

    I’d agree with others, though, on helping out on the home front. What about getting several friends together and purchasing a professional home cleaning service for her? She could schedule it whenever she wants – now, to care for the family at home, or later, right before she comes home from the hospital.

    • Oh, of course! I would love it if someone would play a game of 5-point pitch with me if I was bedridden!

      • Michelle says:

        I agree on the cards! I was in for 10 days before my daughter was born and those were so helpful to pass the time.

        One other note comes to mind. When it was time to leave the hospital, it took my husband 4 trips to the car to get everything loaded up. I don’t know how to avoid the fact that you collect things while you are in for so long. And we didn’t live close enough to make quick trips home. We certainly should have had the bigger car with us. Oh well, we made it work!

  10. I have never been on bed rest but have had a few friends that have been. Visits are what they enjoyed best. They all talked about how boring and lonely it could be. I love all the gift and help ideas and would just add that balloons are silly but a fun gift too.

  11. My aunt was on bed rest for awhile at home and she struggled with it. I know she enjoyed taking pictures with ribbons, bows, letters, ect. all while lying in bed. This was all because one of her friends volunteered to take baby bump picture (you don’t have to be a professional photographer, just go over with a camera and enjoy all the rewards). Although this was only one day of fun it really helped to take her mind off of it. Plus she was able to look at the pictures a few days later online after her friend had edited a few and emailed them to her (you can use flickr, shutterfly, photobucket or any other online photo storage to make it easier). She also enjoyed people just coming over to talk or even just sit there with her (as it can get very boring sitting by yourself knowing you want to do so many things but can not). Simple crafts with minimal supplies are always fun. She began making bows with the help of a very loving niece or daughter there to glue after she had situated the bow in place. Just be sure to make sure all of your craft supplies are safe.

  12. Chelsea says:

    This topic came up with a friend of Facebook recently. I have also been in bedrest with 3 pregnancies. Although the longest was 3 weeks. I am currently pregnant and have a game plan. I have always wanted the time to put our family values “down on paper.” What we believe, WHY we believe it, hopes and family vision that goes beyond our generation. It will be a great grounding tool when there is worry and carries a momma’s heart out further than herself into generations ahead.
    A laptop is a must. Scrapbooking on the computer is much easier than it used to be. And doesn’t require glue and cutting tools in bed. LOL
    Friends would be VERY helpful. Make dates with them! When my husband was in the hospital for 6 weeks I made one cabinet a “pantry” so he could give his guests snacks and they stayed longer.

  13. Kelly E says:

    So many great ideas! Helping on the homefront would ease my mind, so would brief hospital visits. Yummy homemade snacks…because we all know how boring weak orange jello and popcicles can be :( Magazines, Magazines, Magazines (in the essence of being frugal I would ask friends what mags they have laying around the house that they are finished with). A mind teasers game pad would be fun as well.

    • Oh, that’s a good idea to collect magazines from others. I end up tossing a lot of mine, because recycling won’t take them.

  14. This poor woman will likely be there a LONG time. I was only in the hospital 14 days before my baby came. I watched a LOT of dvds on my laptop. I read a lot of magazines and books (good mind distracting fiction as well as preemie info). I liked the crossword out of the newspaper (old was fine). I was desperate for cheddar cheese sticks and hostess cupcakes, but I had no dietary restrictions. Teabags…the hospital had fancy flavors and I liked my good ole caffeine free Lipton. :) I didn’t have any children at home when I had bed rest, but if I ever do bed rest again I’d hope someone with kids would remember to have play dates with my kids and check in with my hubby about help with stuff on the homefront. It probably depends on the closeness of the friendship and the distance the hospital is from home, but…I was 70 miles from home and coordinating sending laundry home and getting back went awry. I had to send my mom out to buy me underwear!! Those face wash cloths were handy…I always felt sweaty and greasy even on days I was allowed to shower, so washing my face with an actual face product helped. Some exercise bands (though PT will probably give her some since she’ll have a long stay) to use in bed. Drinks for guests who may visit. nice fluffy socks. Those pocket toothbrushes swisher things that don’t require water would have been great. I brushed with my drink of water and spit in the barf bucket…gross. VISITS!!

  15. Those are all great suggestions. I was on bedrest for the last few weeks of my first pregnancy and though I didn’t have to stay in bed or flat on my back I was not allowed to do much at all. Books and magazines are great, also word finds and crossword puzzles. I also agree that offering help at home is wonderful. With us I was not allowed to clean/cook and so on and the hubby was still working so he could have time off when the baby came. It made it really hard on both of us because I couldn’t help out around the house and was lonely during the day but when he got home he was tired and worked on keeping the house clean. Not very original but that’s all I can think of at the moment.

  16. HalfDozenMomma says:

    a Kindle or a Nook or even a iPad (and no, I’m really not a techie!)
    scrapbooking supplies (get an album all ready for pictures of the new baby)
    writing supplies (journal this adventure, create a home organization notebook, work on the family budget, make scripture memory cards ~ think of all you could memorize!)
    a mini-fridge within arms’ reach stocked with fruit, water, etc.,
    massages (legs, feet, lower back)
    …and whatever you do, do not bring Stress with you for this event! Seriously, work to concentrate on all that you are getting done (bed rest is the required hard work for your wee one) rather than all you aren’t able to do
    Blessings, peace and JOY to you!

  17. A beginning crochet book, yarn, and hooks. She can take up a productive new hobby! :)

  18. I was on bed rest for 10 weeks with our first.
    Fortunately, only one week of that was spent in the hospital.

    When I went home, my husband rented a bedside table like the ones hospitals used for the remaining weeks. With that table, I was able to get my wedding scrapbook finished and prepare the baby’s scrapbook a much as I could without a baby yet.

    The hospital table was a great rental. It helped to have what I wanted nearby and it made it easier to do fun things while just sitting for so long.

    My husband also offered to have someone come teach me to quilt and sew, which I thought was very kind, but I just kept on with the reading, scrapping, TV-watching and visiting.

    At the hospital, I echo the suggestions for magazines, but books were too much for me to read because of all the medicines I had to take. Snacks to enjoy and share are also a great idea, as are visitors and nice music, comfy nightgowns, photos and things to make the room ‘hers.’

    • I did not know that part of your story, Amy! (Either that, or I had forgotten… entirely possible.) What a fabulous idea to rent that table! Smart hubby.

  19. I have totally been there! I was on bed rest for 4 months with my twins. I am sure a care package would be very much appreciated. Amy’s ideas are spot on. I think that letters and visitis are just irreplaceable when you are spending all that time in your bed. Also, for a care package, you might want to include some high protein snacks and/or drinks that can be kept by the bedside.

  20. I was on bed rest for 4 1/2 months with placenta previa, and 1 1/2 months with pre-eclampsia (another pregnancy). Some of the time in the hospital was spent with the lights dimmed, it was nice to have audio dramas. I liked the AD Chronicles (a Bible historic fiction). When I could sit-up, my computer was invaluable. But when I was lying down, it was harder to use. Visit your friend, and make every effort to call once a day. (Be aware that she may have to call you back, because of nurses, doctors or medicines she is taking.) It was sometimes very lonely. The best thing to do is to be a friend, and join her in this difficult time in her life.

  21. How about “One Thousand Gifts” and a blank diary to start her list of blessings?

  22. Also, headphones and an mp3 player loaded with books from LibriVox.

  23. My cousin-in-law was on bed rest for 3 months (at home) before the birth of her twin girls this spring. She lives very far away from me, but I knew she was home alone most days while her husband worked. And, this was her first pregnancy, and she was 42. I wanted her to know we were thinking of her, so I sent poignant books about babies, laugh-out-loud books, and even just new magazines that I subscribe to, all through Amazon Prime and the mail. I know she was cheered up to receive a surprise every few weeks and it helped pass the time.

    • So nice of you to think of her, even from far away!

      • I guess my original point, which I neglected to say, lol, is don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone! My relative is someone I’ve only met a handful of times and lives 1,000 miles away…but I thought maybe I could help her in some small way. It made us both feel good in the end.

        I appreciate you covering such important topics Amy, and I think your readers/commenters are awesome!

  24. My friend was in hospital the last 6 weeks or so of her pregnancy and really appreciated visits above all else! But also things to make the hospital room feel personal so we took her pictures of our daughter (her God-daughter) and a new bit of ‘artwork’ every week (daughter was 3 at the time so it wasn’t very artistic but colourful and fun, and also turned into a talking point with the nurses!) She had a laptop in with her, too, and internet access. I think without it she would have gone stir-crazy!

    We had their spare housekeys, and I did some cleaning and ironing for them and the odd meal for her husband, as did other friends. Also, she got me to go through all the baby stuff in their nursery which that had bought/been given but wasn’t unpacked or ready to use. It was their first baby and her husband didn’t feel confident that he knew what should go where! So, as she couldn’t do it herself, the next best thing was getting a friend who was also a mum to do it for her.

    To make up for the time I was spending in her house(!) I got her to do some chores for me that could be done from her bed e.g. she made the invitations for my daughter’s birthday party, wrapped up the pass the parcel, packed the party bags etc. So, she was able to help me out, and was kept occupied at the same time. I think it made a change from feeling like she was the one everyone else had to help.

  25. I was in the hospital for six weeks with our first- many of these ideas are great! Some of my favorites, or things I wished I had:

    - Fresh flowers, especially fragrant ones, to mask the “hospital smell.” My husband brought some wonderful smelling lilies that the nurses always commented on. Anything beautiful to look at or fresh to smell!
    -”Would you rather” cards and other simple games were silly and gave my husband and I something to laugh about as we passed the time.
    - Magazines or very light books- nothing with sick or dying babies or children.
    - Simple meals/basic groceries for my husband.
    - A laptop, and a calling card if you don’t have a cell phone.
    - One family brought dinner and ate with us at the hospital!
    - Nice note cards to catch up on thank-you notes or write notes.
    - A way to play some music or listen to audio books.
    - Visits and phone calls- it doesn’t have to be long, even 5 or 15 minutes can break up the day.
    - Gift cards for the hospital beautician or massage, if they have/ can use one.

  26. Kristen Trappett says:

    Oh my bordom!!! visits Visits, does she have other kids, I would definetly do something for them, and then maybe some more visits like a weekly one she could look forward to. Cook dinner for her and her husband and then bring it to the hospital I am sure the hospital food rotation is going to get really old after a couple of rotations through it.

  27. A laptop!!! I spent months on bed rest with 2 pregnancies and having a laptop kept me sane. My brain had turned to mush and I couldn’t read anymore, but I could surf the net. I was able to get hooked up with other women going through the same thing. http://www.sidelines.org/ is a wonderful site to pass along. They connected me with someone who had had a similar experience. It was helpful to talk to someone who could understand.

    Of course, a good understanding friend to stop by to visit is wonderful too!!!

  28. I suggest delivering a home-cooked meal to the mama-to-be…OR to her family at home. She’ll be super appreciative either way.

    The meal need not be extravagant. Try spaghetti, garlic bread, and a bottle of sparkling cider. Or cheese enchiladas, guacamole & chips, and a bottle of lemonade.

    If you’re strapped for time, a bag of healthy snacks is always a welcome gift. Include dried mangos, nuts, beef jerky, fresh fruit, muffins, or cookies.

  29. I’m an L&D nurse, and all these suggestions are great, boredom is probably the number one problem of being on bedrest (next to worrying about your babies). I would suggest lots of pillows of many different sizes in bright pillow cases. Not only do the bright colors liven up the room, they are much less likely to get mixed up with the hospital laundry. Blankets from home are also nice, not just for mom but also for dad. Be sure to check about hospital policy around flowers, some don’t allow. If you’re looking for something to help with the hospital smell try scented candles instead, just don’t burn them in the hospital.

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