Being put on hospitalized bed rest during pregnancy was my biggest fear when I found out I was expecting twins. However, twin pregnancy bed rest is also very common.
Almost every twin mom I spoke with had encountered some sort of complication with their twin pregnancy, regardless of whether it was identical twins or fraternal twins.
There are plenty of women who experience no twin pregnancy complications, so if you’re currently pregnant with twins, don’t completely freak out.
Plan for the worst (pack your hospital bag very early) and then hope for the best. But if you do get put on bed rest during your pregnancy, here are some tips for how to survive!
Why Does Twin Pregnancy Bed Rest Happen?
It’s no secret the being pregnant with twins carries a higher risk of health complications than a singleton. However, like I said, there are plenty of pregnant women who experience an uncomplicated twin pregnancy.
According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, there is no sufficient evidence that bed rest prevents preterm delivery or preeclampsia. For normal pregnancies, it’s actually not recommended, as the lack of activity can actually cause blood clots and bone loss.
But there are cases when it can help take stress off the body, and because of the greater risk of preterm labor and perinatal death in mothers of multiples, it’s more common. Be sure to talk to your healthcare provider if you have any concerns!
Here are the main reasons why you might be put on hospital bed rest with twins:
- Risk of preterm birth: this is one of the most common. With twins in the third trimester, there’s a high risk of premature birth and bed rest can help prolong the pregnancy and promote fetal growth.
- High blood pressure: many women experience high blood pressure or hypertension, which can also be a symptom of a disorder called preeclampsia. Bed rest helps lower the blood pressure, protecting mom and babies.
- Incompetent cervix: some women genetically have a short cervix, and sometimes, the cervix starts to dilate too early. Either way, twin pregnancy tends to put a lot more pressure on this area. This can be fixed with a procedure called cervical cerclage, but this may be accompanied by some level of bed rest.
- Placenta previa: this happens when the placenta blocks the entrance to the cervix.
Again, be sure to talk to your health care provider if you have any questions or concerns, because in general, unless there are complications or medical conditions, you want to keep some activity level for as long as possible!
My Twin Pregnancy Bed Rest Story
I was no exception to a complicated twin pregnancy. My water broke at just under 30 weeks, which was absolutely terrifying.
Once we arrived at the hospital and it was confirmed, I was told that I was staying put until (hopefully) 34 weeks.
I had to stay in the hospital for FOUR weeks.
I had a just-turned-two-year-old at home.
How could I possibly be away from him for 4 weeks? (I ended up going into labor at 31 weeks, six days, so I only ended up being in the hospital for 2 weeks.)
I actually handled it pretty well, if I do say so myself. My nurses commented frequently on how “I had it together.”
There were 3 little people that helped me keep it together, and their names are Theo, Josie, and Margo (although Josie and Margo didn’t have baby names yet).
I knew that crying and moping around would do me no good, so I made a plan, I stuck to that plan, and I survived hospitalized bed rest.
How to Physically Survive Hospitalized Bed Rest During Pregnancy
Request for a Physical Therapist to Visit You
I was told that recovering from the activity restriction and loss of muscle mass from being on twin pregnancy bed rest was harder than recovering from giving birth.
I was not having that happen to me after everything I went through, so I asked what exercises I could do from bed.
That’s when they told me they would have a physical therapist visit me.
The physical therapist brought me some papers with physical activity I could do, along with those stretchy exercise bands.
She walked me through the exercises I could do while sitting up in my bed. It was amazing and helped keep me sane.
Ask for Things to Make You Comfortable
I had a nurse visit me who was a friend of a friend and she hooked me up with things that I would never have thought to ask for.
Then, I just started thinking of things and kept on asking. Here are a few things I asked for:
- mattress topper to make my bed comfier (they have them but won’t offer unless you ask!)
- humidifier (they did NOT have one, so I had one brought in from home)
- cleaning supplies to clean my humidifier (the nurse then cleaned the humidifier for me)
- a bigger room
- food that’s not actually on the menu
- a hairstylist or manicurist to come in and pamper you (my stylist was going to come to do my hair, but my girls ended up being born before that happened)
- Ambien; it’s safe to take during pregnancy and I could not sleep without it.
Also, keep your fridge stocked with snacks!!
Everyone who came to visit asked what they could bring me. I am usually the kind of person who declines offers of help… but I readily accepted snacks.
I knew friends and family members genuinely wanted to help and bringing me a bag of chips or some fresh strawberries could really turn my day around.
How to Mentally Survive Hospitalized Bed Rest During Pregnancy
The mental aspect was definitely much harder for me than the physical aspect.
I was bored, I was lonely, I was scared for my unborn babies, I was worried about my 2-year old at home, and the list goes on and on.
Remember how I said that I knew moping around and crying would do me no good? There were still nights where I cried for hours.
Decorate Your Room with Items and Pictures From Home
My husband brought in some family pictures as well as a few small decorations.
Food, Food, Food
I suppose that for hospital food, the food I had wasn’t terrible. But still. It’s hospital food.
I had several friends who were wonderful enough to bring me takeout and snacks. Having snacks throughout the day, especially the kind of food I would eat at home, was the best thing ever.
Make a Schedule
It would have been easy for me to lie in bed and watch Netflix allllll day long.
Easy, but not beneficial. So, I made a schedule and kept to it.
While I couldn’t leave my room and wander around the hospital (unless someone was pushing me in a wheelchair), I wasn’t on strict bed rest.
I could move around my room and shower.
There were set ‘activities’ that I did at certain times of the day, such as:
- Online tasks such as paying bills and updating budgets
- Online shopping; I browsed Amazon and Etsy shops for things we still needed for our babies
- Watch TV/Movies
- Eat (keep snacks in your room)
- Crossword puzzles/adult coloring books
- Exercises approved by a physical therapist
- Shower/do makeup
- Nap (They took my vitals at midnight so I stayed awake until then and then took 2 naps during the day.)
It was easy to stay on a routine because there were certain things that they did at the same time every day.
They took my vitals several times throughout the day (including midnight!!!!) and fetal monitoring was done 3 times a day for an hour.
I also rotated between my bed, the couch, and the chair in my room. Not staying in the same spot all day made it feel less like I was in the hospital.
How to Survive Hospitalized Bed Rest if You Have Other Kids at Home
We had two-year-old at the time I was put on bed rest.
I worked part-time but took care of him when my husband was at work.
One of the hardest things was figuring out who was going to take care of him.
My mom stayed for a week and a half, but once she had to go back home, I asked favors from everyone and anyone. I hate asking people for help, but we had no choice.
Theo had just turned two and didn’t like visiting me in the hospital. He wanted to run around and explore and I just wanted him to crawl into bed and cuddle with me.
Here’s what we did to keep him entertained:
- Put on movies and read books to him
- Fed him. If he didn’t come at dinner time, I gave snacks. He still remembers eating applesauce when he visited me at the hospital.
- Went on wheelchair rides around the hospital.
If you have older children it might be easier to play games with them, but there’s only so much you can do with a two-year-old.
If you are currently on twin pregnancy bed rest, I hope this post gives you some helpful tips on how to stay sane.
I hope you have a village of people to reach out to for support. If not, please feel free to reach out to me for encouragement. I 100% mean that!
And as always, if you have any other tips… drop them in the comments!