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Is Bed Rest Best?

While more pregnant women are being put on bed rest, pre-term labors are on the rise. Is there a connection? Are there other options to bed rest? Tricia O'Brien, Features Editor of American Baby Magazine, explains.

Many women are put on bed rest towards the end of their pregnancy to try to ward off pre-term labor. However, statistics show that pre-term labor is actually on the rise. "Doctors don't really know what to make of it," says O'Brien. In fact, The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecology - ACOG - just recently stated that bed rest shouldn't be prescribed routinely by doctors; it should only be used in certain, high risk circumstances.

If you are prescribed bed rest, there may be some questions running through your mind like, "Should I get a second opinion?" It all depends on your confidence in your doctor. If you trust your OBGYN, follow his or her suggestions. Communication is key.

Maybe it's not feasible for you to stop working and stay in bed, or maybe you already have other children in the house that you need to take care of. There may be other options that your doctor can consider. All you have to do is ask. For some women, certain medications can be used instead of bed rest. "It's a case by case basis, but you can ask your doctor," says O'Brien.

Keep in mind, too, that there are certain risks to staying in bed all the time. "Your muscles weaken, your bone mass can weaken, and the biggest risk is that you can form a blood clot in your leg that can travel to your lung," says O'Brien. "At that point, it can be very dangerous."

If bed rest is your only option, though, don't fret. There are many ways you can keep yourself occupied. Online classes can be a great option. Maybe there was a class in high school or college that you always wanted to take but never had time. Look into local schools in your area that offer classes online and sign up.

In the same respect, look into learning a new language. Classes are available in many forms, from lessons on tape to computer programs and online tutorials. Some websites even have podcasts available for downloading to your iPod or MP3 player. Get out your laptop and start perusing the internet!

You can also try taking up a new hobby like knitting or crafting. "If you want to practice the crossword puzzle, why not?" says O'Brien. Or, try writing a blog about what you're going through. It will keep family and friends up to date on your experience and you can get your emotions out. Many people find writing to be very therapeutic and calming.

If you're feeling stressed, alone and burnt out, support groups are available online as well. "There are different groups you can log on to - www.sidelines.org is one. These are women who have high risk pregnancies," says O'Brien. "You can log on and get support from other women who are going through what you're going through.

For more information on bed rest, as well as tips on other parenting topics, click here to visit American Baby.com.

By Erin Petrun