During my twin pregnancy, I spent nearly eleven weeks on bed rest, nine of which were spent in the hospital. Having a high-risk pregnancy and being on bed rest is a time full of worry and stress. It can really take a toll on your family. For you, it can be lonely and even boring. I am excited to share my strategies for being productive while I was physically restricted to help my babies safely arrive in this world. Enjoy!
1. Create a routine involving simple exercises.
Make a daily schedule for yourself. While I was in the hospital, a physical therapist provided me with a set of bed rest approved exercises. They were very simple things like ankle rolls, bicep curls with a resistance band, Kegels, etc. Repeating these activities every morning and evening was a crucial part of my schedule, and the practice helped me stay sane while I was locked in the hospital.
Remember that not every bed rest situation is the same — some women are allowed quite a bit of freedom to move around while others are advised to stay horizontal. It’s always a good idea to speak with a doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
2. Create your Baby Registry.
There is no better time to shop online than while you’re on bed rest! I’m pretty sure I shopped online almost every day that I was in the hospital, but since I couldn’t buy every single thing that I wanted, I ended up making extensive wish lists. Amazon, Target, and BabyList are by far my favorite baby registries. Amazon and Target will give you a free welcome box with a few great products plus a 15% completion discount to purchase items on your registry once you’re near your due date. On BabyList, you can add items from any website, including small shops like Etsy. These sites make shopping so enjoyable, even from the discomfort of your own bed!
I don’t know about you, but shopping online makes me want to buy things right away. Some things you just have to have, right? For those impulse buys (and every other online purchase), I definitely recommend using Ebates, TopCashback, and Honey to save some money. Read my Top 3 Ways to Shop Smart & Save Money Online for more details and tips.
3. Make some extra cash online.
Especially if you like shopping online, you should use some of your time growing a baby (or babies) to make some money or at least get some free gift cards. My absolute favorite place for this is Swagbucks — it is the easiest and most enjoyable way for me to get gift cards to justify my shopping desires. I also like SurveySavvy, Paid Viewpoint, Harris Poll Online, YouGov, and Pinecone Research. When you sign up for more survey panels, you have more opportunities to make a bit of money.
There are also a variety of jobs that allow you to work from home. If you want to make some more money, you could consider freelance writing, proofreading, virtual assisting, blogging, or selling handmade crafts. That leads me to my next (and favorite) point:
4. Get crafty!
I spent just about every day of my time on bed rest crocheting. I made blankets, hats, and cute baby booties. I built up a collection of my favorite yarn and searched for new projects to try. I tried my hand at using a hat loom; I practiced calligraphy, and I colored. I even did online classes in watercolor painting and knitting through Creativebug. You can learn just about any artistic skill on Creativebug! There are endless ways to get in touch with your crafty side and create new things.
5. Paint your nails.
Painting my nails became an art form for me. I tried something new every few days. I experimented with stripes, french tips, chevron patterns, and dozens of great colors. Julep is my very favorite nail polish; they come out with new colors every month!
6. Work on puzzles.
I became a Sudoku master while I was in the hospital. Okay okay, maybe I’m not a master, but I went from struggling through beginner puzzles to being able to complete some pretty hard ones. It was so therapeutic to use some brain power to solve a problem. There are so many options when it comes to puzzles: there are crossword puzzles, word searches, and of course, jigsaw puzzles. Here’s a favorite of mine.
7. Read a good book.
I’m honestly not much of a reader — I prefer listening to audiobooks so that I can still use my hands — but I know that for many of you reading is part of your identity. There are hundreds of thousands of great books out there. I dabbled in Jane Austen’s Persuasion, the Matched Trilogy, and Mindy Kaling’s Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (I know, a wildly ironic choice for hospital confinement). Whatever your preferred genre, there is no better time to relax with a good book.
8. Find a new TV show to watch.
Mindless entertainment is perfect for bed rest! I wanted to watch something that was not at all like real life, so I watched every season of Once Upon A Time that was on Netflix then. Other recommendations I received were Downton Abbey (because you get waited on hand and foot in the hospital) and the Good Wife. Find something you like, and binge on!
9. Focus on gratitude.
I believe this is by far the most important thing you can do for yourself while on bed rest: Having gratitude can make all the difference during a hard time. Being confined to the hospital is indescribably challenging and extremely emotionally taxing for you and every member of your family. My family was very blessed to have received endless help from family and friends while we were struggling along. I always felt better when I focused on those angelic helpers, my happy toddler, and every day that I woke up still pregnant. You are doing wonders for your unborn child’s development by resting. Remember that you have a noble job and stay strong!
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If you found these survival tips helpful, be sure to check out these other posts from Ready For All Things: