An integrative literature review that has been published in Biological Research for Nursing, titled Women's Health Across the Lifespan, has concluded: (1) bed rest isn't always the best solution to preventing preterm labor; and (2) bed rest could harm both the mother and the baby. (Source)According to the study, up to one million women are put on bed rest each year. However, the study notes that this is done based on the assumptions that bed rest is safe for both the mother and the developing baby AND that bed rest is an effective way to delay or prevent preterm labor. However, the author of the study concluded that two decades of research do not support the assumptions. In fact, the study notes the following:
In addition to the impact of an overall negative pregnancy experience for the mother, which has largely been ignored by medical professionals, the researcher found a number of troubling issues with bed rest, including such concerns as: -- Loss of muscle function, muscle atrophy, sore muscles -- Bone loss -- Maternal weight loss, lower fetal weight -- Fatigue, sleep cycle changes, boredom -- Both antepartum and postpartum depression, mood changes -- Nasal congestion, reflux, indigestion, back and muscle aches (Source)The author asserts that nurses can advocate on behalf of their patients and educate them about the research as well as the potential complications of bed rest. I'm not a doctor and I'm simply sharing the results of a new study. I wouldn't ever offer medical advice, but this study does make me think. Is bed rest prescribed simply because it's something that has been done for a long time and so we assume it works? Or does it really work in some cases -- cases that broad medical reviews don't capture? Do you have any experience with bed rest? An opinion one way or the other?