Pregnancy bed rest can be a trying period. On the one hand, you feel helpless to do anything when you think you should be doing a thousand things to get ready for the new arrival. On the other hand, if your health care provider has advised bed rest, you know it is in your baby's best interests and yourself to stay put.
What if we told you there are things you can do while on bed rest – a whole 100 of them! – that will not only keep you physically and mentally relaxed but also have you emerge at the other end with the feeling of having used your time well?
This game plan to tackle your bed rest during pregnancy helps you with the following outcomes:
- Keep your body healthy and rested
- Keep your mind positive and focus on the joys that await
- Utilize the time to prepare yourself and your family for the challenges ahead
- Stay connected and in tune with everything around you
- Be organized and ready for when the baby arrives.
The list is conveniently broken up into categories so you can find what you need right now.
- Read: If you are a regular reader, this is your best opportunity to catch up on everything you have missed in the past years. If you are not a regular reader, now is the best time to start.
- Listen to more music than ever: Create playlists of old favorites and try out stuff you have never heard before.
- Movies: Ever wanted to watch the film that won the Oscar in 1982? Now is a perfect time. From classics to winners of Razzies, this is your chance to turn movie-maniac.
- Check out all the new streaming platforms. Watch something you have never heard of in a language you don't understand a word of.
- Social media: So, what is the deal with all those suggested reels on Insta? Find out—plan for those awesome videos of baby and you.
- Series: Binge-watch all seasons of an old favorite and relive those great times.
- Start a movie club: Preferably with someone who precisely understands what you are going through. And can give you great suggestions keeping your condition in mind.
- Games: Download everything you have ever wanted to play. Keep them fun and non-violent. The idea is to relax, not get worked up!
- Curate an impressive list of soothing music just for baby and you.
- Colouring books: Specially designed for adults, this can be a great way to keep your mind focussed and agile and gift yourself a stress-free couple of hours.
Solidify your Relationships
- Bond at a deeper level with your children. It is time to listen more. And talk more. Also, prepare them for their new baby sister or brother.
- Please read to the kids and have them read to you. It is painless quality time that they will love and won't tire you out.
- Make plans with your partner. Discuss how to take time out for yourselves when the baby arrives.
- Talk to your partner about stuff you have never discussed before. For instance, do you know if they had a garden swing growing up? Find out!
- Call your parents frequently. Let them share stories of their experience with pregnancy and bringing up babies.
- Call your siblings. Bond. Reconnect. They may be more excited about your pregnancy than you think and could be the best resource if you need help once the baby arrives.
- Call that friend from high school that you lost touch with.
- Talk regularly to your best friend at work to not feel too out of touch when you get back.
- Take the time to make amends with someone you had a falling out with. The positive vibes will do wonders for you and your baby!
- Make new friends from your pregnancy bed rest support groups. You could be sharing an incredible journey.
- Eat well. Have someone cut up your fruit or salad for you. Everything you eat affects your baby too, so pay due attention to your health.
- Give in to cravings. Take your time to think about what you want to eat on cheat days. Guilt-free indulgence doesn't come along often enough in life!
- Book a home spa service for a relaxing afternoon. (Check with your health care provider for do's and don'ts)
- Get a home mani-pedi. (Again, check with your doctor how long you can safely sit up if you are on complete bed rest.)
- Check out those home remedies you've always wanted to try out – like a hair pack or a home-made fruit facial. Rope in a family member to help you put everything together.
- Take long naps as often as you can. Your body will thank you.
- Invite a friend, colleague, or family member for lunch—order in. Take advantage of the downtime to get some quality time without worrying about cooking or cleaning up after. Also great for your morale!
- Make that bucket list! Let the happy feelings flow as you sit down to think about what you have to do in life. Just thinking and planning for it can put you in a good mood.
- Try out nail art. You may find that it's a great new hobby. At worst, you would still have whiled away some time fun time.
- It is the time to try out all those YouTube tutorials you have faithfully watched over the years. It keeps your unique make-up from drying up too.
Plan for baby
- It is the time for you to indulge in all things baby happily! Go online and browse for long, happy hours. Find everything from the perfect first napkin to that ideal baby onesie for the trip back home.
- Check with parents you know, about the baby implements you need. There may be some fancy equipment you could do without.
- Plan for every stage of the baby's development – from where to put the playpen to how far you need to go with baby-proofing your home.
- Watch as many tutorials as you can on best practices for the baby. From the right age to stop using cloth napkins to making your safe shampoo for the baby, experienced mothers can give you tips on pretty much everything. Feeling prepared keeps you happy and relaxed, which spells great news for the baby!
- Take your time to think of where everything should go. Having a specific place planned for everything from wipes to strollers will ensure your house remains uncluttered after the birth.
- Plan little outings for the baby and you when you are up and about. Think of all that you will need to carry on those trips. It will help you be organized right from the start.
- Look at all the options available when it comes to everything the baby needs. Unlike many mothers, you are getting precious time to weigh the pros and cons of every choice you make.
- Plan for the events you plan to host concerning pregnancy and birth.
- Look at all the baby photos you can to decide what kind of shot you want to announce the baby's birth with.
- Make a list of family and friends who can help out when the baby arrives. Talk to them. Agree on what you expect and what they can realistically do for you.
Plan for your life post-delivery
- When you start, the third trimester is a great time to start making a realistic plan for your weight-loss journey after the baby arrives. It is when you can begin to research the safe and healthy ways to get back to your average weight.
- Make a plan for how to manage to breastfeed when you have to return to work.
- Watch hairstyling videos and practice them. The quicker you can get them done, the more prepared you are for life as a mommy!
- Budgets and space permitting, stock up on everything for as many as three months, if possible. It will leave you with more time for the baby and less occasion to stress about running out of stuff.
- Gadgets, cupboards, shelf space, a new car – whatever might make your life easier when you are on your feet again, start thinking about making it happen. You need all the get-by help you can.
- Reconcile to the fact that your entertainment options are going to be limited to 'kid-friendly' ones for a few years. Check out the most popular children's' animation films and books to get a taste of them. It is also your chance to whet what you are going to expose your child to.
- Plan your maternity wardrobe. You don't have to continue wearing your pregnancy outfits, and it isn't realistic to plan on wearing your old clothes soon.
- Talk to friends or pregnancy circle buddies about post-partum blues. Being prepared could help you address it and handle it in case you need to.
- Discuss with your husband or other family members about the division of chores once the baby arrives. Make sure there is enough time for you to focus on healing and child-care before taking up responsibilities around the house in a phased manner.
- Plan a solo trip for whenever you feel ready to leave the baby for a night or two. Just the planning process – picking a destination, thinking about what you will do, planning out the logistics - can help you relax.
Plan for your home
- Set up convenient changing stations at various spots around the house. It will save you the time and effort lost in carrying the baby back to the one designated changing area.
- Think of all the things you can change around the house to make it safer for the baby to start crawling and walking.
- Do a mental audit of everything with sharp edges or edges that stick out. Life will be much smoother if you have it all taken care of before the baby comes.
- Screw down everything possible. Wall-mount everything possible. (You do the planning. Your partner will take care of the execution.)
- Make up a cleaning schedule. Assigning days to routine tasks might make it all more manageable for later.
- Arrange for a deep clean of your home before the big day. Change the drapes, vacuum spots you usually tend to ignore – like the tops of the refrigerator or shelves. Make this an excuse to make your home as right as new. It is also a great time to declutter.
- If anything needs a fresh coat of paint, now is the time. Take off for a day or two to a friend's place or a nice hotel to escape the fumes and come back to a fresh-looking home.
- If you have always considered having a new workstation, put in, or improve that would make your home more functional, this is the best time to plan and execute it.
- Have a friend come over to help you organize your wardrobe. Be stringent with what to keep and what to dispose of. Less clutter means less stress.
- Have your partner bring you all the necessary papers or your older children's drawings that you always meant to sort and file. Please put them in folders, properly labeled, and have them safely stored away before you have to deal with all the mess in person again.
Declutter your digital space and make room for what matters
- Back up your phone gallery and clear space for the new adventure. Also, look up options for digital storage if you don't already have it. You wouldn't want to lose even one of those precious new memories.
- Go through every single folder in each one of your gadgets. It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get everything sorted. Be handy with the delete button.
- Go through your mail and unsubscribe from every mailing list that has always distracted or annoyed you.
- Take a nice hard look at your social media pages and declutter. People you don't know, photos that seemed cool then but embarrass you now – kick them all out with gusto.
- Open the photos app on your laptop and sit down to the challenging task of tagging faces and locations and deleting multiple copies. You will never have so much time in hand again! Do it a little bit each day, and you will be ready by the time your bundle of joy arrives!
- Remove all the apps from your phone, laptop, and tab that you never use. Research for the new ones you may need to keep track of baby's shots or feeding schedules.
- Create an online journal (just for yourself if you don't want to make it public) and record each day's progress. A few years down the line, you may find it immensely gratifying to go through your experience and remind yourself of how strong you were.
- Join online support groups of expecting mothers, especially ones on bed rest. You will find the information far more precise than what you get in a general google search.
- Familiarise yourself with hashtags and prowl the net for inspiration. You will need it once you start your motherhood journey.
- Create folders in your phone for things you need to file away – baby recipes, baby clothes inspiration.
Keep 'pregnancy-brain' at bay.
- Check out that Sudoko you always promised yourself you would. Keep at it till you are a pro.
- Don't just pick a name for your child—research for names with beautiful meanings and sounds.
- Check with your doctor for safe exercises for those on pregnancy bed rest. Do as much as you can manage.
- Memorize something every day. If you love reading, set yourself the task of memorizing a lovely poem or quote every day. If sports is your thing, remember stats related to your favorite teams. 'Pregnancy brain' is a real thing, and using brain-boosting tricks like this one can help you keep your cognitive function more or less intact.
- Get yourself one of those jigsaw puzzles with a bazillion pieces. You will never have so much time in hand again!
- Try your hand at knitting or embroidery. You will love that you can make something for your baby with your own hands. It is also great for calming anxiety and relieving stress.
- Watch a few TED talks. It is an excellent opportunity to build on your general awareness, be inspired by remarkable people, and gain new perspectives. Every step you take towards improving yourself also makes you a better parent.
- Take the time to make handwritten thank you notes to everyone who came – or are coming - to your baby shower. Instead of a generic message typed out to all, make it personal for each. Use all the time you have to spread some good vibes.
- Volunteer: While you are in bed, you can still help out a cause you care about by offering to make calls for them. Human interaction is significant for you too!
- Try your hand at blogging. Think about stuff you have always been passionate about or jot down your experiences with pregnancy and bed rest. Have fun and perhaps even build up a fall-back option if it takes you longer to get back to work.
Empower yourself with a new hobby or skill
- Learn a language, either something you have always wanted to or something that will give you an edge in your career in the future.
- Take an online course. It could be related to your work field or introduce you to something you have always wondered about. There are plenty of free learning resources you can choose from.
- Pick up some cool baking techniques that will make you feel like a pro. The internet abounds with those videos!
- Learn about organizational techniques that will help you keep your home neat and organized.
- Learn some cool magic tricks to entertain your kids.
- Learn something new about the Universe. Think of surprising your significant other by pointing out a constellation when you are out on a long night drive sometime in the future.
- Learn the names of the plants in your garden and the birds and animals in your neighborhood.
- Learn Photoshop or any other great photo editing software. You will love putting creative touches to the thousands of pictures you will be taking soon.
- Calligraphy. It is beautiful. And you can learn it online.
- Take virtual tours of museums, zoos, or whatever catches your fancy. You will soon find yourself an expert in a whole new subject matter.
Some more on bonding with the baby (and keeping yourself sane)
- Talk to your baby. It helps to start the bonding early. If you feel embarrassed by the sound of your voice, don't worry – you will get over it soon enough.
- Start a baby registry. It's fun to do and practice.
- Facetime with everybody you mean for the baby to be close to.
- Make a baby scrapbook. Start with a picture of your pregnancy test. Add everything along the way – including the receipt of the first time you shop exclusively for baby! (online, of course)
- Practice kids' hairstyles.
- Start a recipe board on Pinterest for quick, easy, and nutritious meals when you are together as a family.
- Play scrabble or other long-winded board games like Monopoly with your family – on a real board, not online.
- Create a routine and stick to it. Even if you are on bed rest, having an idea about what you are doing to be doing the following hour will help you feel in control.
- Make charts for everything. Weekly menu. Chores rotation. Cleaning schedule. Grocery shopping. It helps while away the time, but when you are out of your confinement, you will feel like things are still under control.
- Get in touch with your spiritual side. Pray. Give in to the feeling of being enveloped by the love of a power that is greater than individuals.
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