The Six Stages of Being on Bed Rest


Whenever I exchange pregnancy war stories with someone, (also known as the Mommy Friend First Date script), there is a mixed reaction when I reveal that I spent the last two months of my pregnancy on bed rest. Some women are envious, others think lying down 24/7 is a particular brand of torture. Truth is, it’s both.

1. Excitement (Week 1). You’re tired, your ankles are swollen and your lower back hurts. Having a doctored ordered excuse to kick up your heels and let your partner take full control of the cleaning/cooking/pets and kids sounds pretty freaking good right now. You can stop feeling guilty about not doing that pregnancy yoga DVD, and you’ll finally get to watch Breaking Bad again from the beginning.This is going to be awesome.

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2. Entitlement(Week 1-2). Bed rest is like a fabulous extended spa weekend. You feel like a celebrity as friends and family come to visit you on the regular, bearing gifts of pretty pajama sets, yummy snacks and offering to paint your toe nails. You mention getting a bell to ring for summoning your husband. He laughs this off as a joke. You were not kidding.

3. Boredom(Week 2-3). You’ve reached the end of the internet, and there’s nothing good left on Netflix. All your admirers have gone back to their own lives, so you turn to online pregnancy forums seeking companionship. This is a bad idea, as you inevitably get into an argument on the comments board about vaccinations/breastfeeding/cosleeping and get all worked up with no one to vent to. Eating while laying on your side causes horrible heartburn, so not even snacking brings you joy. You begin to count down the minutes to your hourly potty break, just to have something to do. Getting wheeled into the doctor’s office for your weekly visit may result in hysterical crying as you are THAT excited to breathe fresh air and interact with other humans.

The following stages can strike at any time after week 3, may happen simultaneously and will continue until the birth:

4. Panic. The baby is coming, and you feel like you should be doing things to prepare, like painting the nursery, washing clothes or packing a hospital bag. Since you can’t, you act like a dictator by ordering people around and get frustrated when they aren’t done exactly how you wanted. You read everything you can find on the internet about bedrest, which ranges from articles that say bedrest does nothing to nightmares full of bedrest pregnancies gone horribly wrong.

5. Pain. Everything aches. Your left hip is painful enough to evoke frequent tears from constantly laying on it. Oddly, this will be more painful at night than during the day, making you reverse your sleep cycle. Now you lay awake all night thinking of all the things that could go wrong during the birth. You constantly wake your partner with your shifting around, or you wake them intentionally to share your anxieties. Learning to adjust to little or no sleep is a great skill for new parents to have, so you tell yourself you’re just training for life post baby.

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6. Longing. Similar to the “birth amnesia” phenomenon, post birth, you will forget the icky bits of being bed logged. Inevitably, one day when your toddler is fussy, or running circles around you while you chase his naked butt with a diaper, you will think back and wish for just one more day when you could lie around with zero guilt and no responsibilities.

About the writer


Megan is a divorce attorney turned stay at home mom, at least for now. Previously infertile, she is mom to twin one year old boys thanks to the wonders of modern science. You can find her out for a jog or eating cupcakes, depending on her mood and how many tantrums her kids have had that day.  You can find more of her writing here


Vicki Lesage 2 years ago

So true. I was on bed rest for 3 months with baby #2 and it was all of the above. But all’s well that ends well, right?

Beth Buchanan 2 years ago

Yes! I’m on modified ie. you can go out for ONE day a couple hours=freedom!!! Other than that I am about ready to lose my mind I have watched most everything on Netflix, enjoyed facebook comments and read enough to want to go crazy. I have 6 long weeks left unless she decides to come early….

Sarah Kolkman 2 years ago

Very much!!

Amy 2 years ago

Oh how I remember those last 2 months of my first pregnancy! I was still working full time, and had gone for my monthly OB visit. I was sent straight to the hospital and never went back to my job. I felt SO gipped out of my work party they would have thrown for me (as I was not going back to work after my first-born was born.). I had family visit…no gifts though, no help with housework…my husband worked ALOT during that time. My saving grace was my best friend went on bed rest about 2 weeks after I did (she was carrying twins and was a few weeks behind me in due date). We lived close to each other and would often hang out. The WORST part was having to basically sit in a chair during my baby shower while people came up to greet me! It was worth every second, though. I gave birth to a healthy, full term INDUCED (of course-lol) little boy! I’m just grateful it didn’t happen with my second child…I don’t know WHAT I would have done had I had other kids to take care of!

Catey Carmody 2 years ago

I was on bed rest almost my whole pregnancy and it sucked soooo bad!

Kirsty Gardner 2 years ago

I had 3 weeks of it and went insane after the first week I even remember trying to con babies dad into letting me do dishes and I hate dishes he gave on till he saw me leaning into the sink cos standing was painful then it was back to bed for me :( and I didn’t get presents either should have had this list way back then

Jackie Weber 2 years ago

I was put on bedrest at 16 weeks… even spent 9 weeks in trandelenburg position (feet above my head) in the hospital… fun times NOT! But in the end it was worth it to have my rainbow baby!

Melanie Crain Cheshire 2 years ago

Ah yes I remember this…

Jennifer Falkner 2 years ago

Yup. Mine was most of my pregnancy. :(

Helen Russo 2 years ago

yep, pretty much…every time I’d sit down, lay down or whatever once the doctor told me to stay down as much as possible (my bp would shoot to the stratosphere just walking to the bathroom) I’d see something that needed doing that ONLY I could do… No, no I NEED to get that speck of dust over there…
It’s amazing how much you now see to do that you wouldn’t have batted an eyelash at two weeks earlier!

AlyssanDavid Stover 2 years ago

Best 11 months total between my 3 children, and i enjoyed every minute of it that was not scary! My job was to lie still and keep my baby safe inside me. To get up and do the dishes might of meant a 3 month stay in the NICU or not bringing them home altogether. I was lucky to have so many house guests, and visitors to keep me company when I was allowed to see/talk to people! Got to color and watch cartoons with my children, and really took advantage of the time I got to bond with them before their new sibling was born. 11 months of no cooking and cleaning, and being forced to slow down and reflect on life. Every mom should be so lucky! Now I just dream of a simple weekend of relaxing!

Michelle Shipley Dumler 2 years ago

Did 5 weeks of it myself…totally relate to all of those! :) Sometimes simultaniously.

Sara Moncrief 2 years ago

19 weeks. Almost all in hospital. Still delivered a 2# baby that spent 9 weeks in the nicu.

Desiree Johnson 2 years ago

I also had two months of bed rest. One month was in the hospital. I would say there was no point when I felt happy to be on it—just felt like it was hard work to keep my baby inside, and I missed my other baby. When I finished at 37 weeks (at home), I couldn’t wait to clean all the things!

Beth Amy 2 years ago

Months upon months. All worth it though. My quadruplets enter high school with honors this July!

Ashly Morton 2 years ago

Oh wow that does sound familiar!!!

Carrie Peterson 2 years ago

I was on strict bedrest for 31 weeks during which time I had 4 surgeries (2 emergent) and 47 ultrasounds. My team of doctors told me “I was one for the record books.” To say this was the most difficult time of my life is the biggest understatement, but after all of it, I had my miracle baby and I thank God every single day for him. I would do it all again for him in a heartbeat.

Sara Kish 2 years ago

Been on bedrest at the hospital twice during two of my pregnancies, both times around 6 weeks, so 12 weeks total of hospital bedrest it was a challenge that’s for sure, but all my babies are healthy and happy so that’s all that matters.

Eryn Cobb 2 years ago

I think this article missed the worst part: the isolation and loneliness.

Shanna Joy 2 years ago

I didn’t last long on home bedrest. From 27 weeks to 32 weeks 5 days ( 47 LONG days) I was in the hospital on bed rest leaving my 2 other children home. Don’t wish that on anyone. My baby was born 8 weeks early. Bed rest should be taken seriously- having a baby in the nicu is a painful experience.

Eryn Cobb 2 years ago

I was on bed rest with all 3 of mine…3 weeks, 5 weeks, and 8 weeks. I don’t really feel like my experience was like this list! Actually, the first time it was. The other two it was more like “Cry. Repeat until you fall asleep. Watch desperate housewives on Netflix. Cry. Repeat.”

Rachel DeFord-McDonough 2 years ago

My bed rest was horrific. At 20 weeks I had an emergent double cerclage placed and that started my bed rest journey. I was on bed rest for FOUR months. I lost every ounce of muscle in my body. My situation was terrifying. Every day was filled with fear. We didn’t think my daughter would survive. I got weekly 17p injections. I got ultrasounds every two weeks. They had to stop my contractions at 32 weeks and I was given steroid shots. It was pure Hell. My husband did EVERYTHING. I cried everyday. I only got out of bed to use the restroom and to take a sit down shower, with a shower chair. Our families live within 5 minutes. They maybe came to see me 5 times during those four months. My friends fell off of the face of the Earth. One promised to visit weekly and kept that promise twice. I was so lonely and so sad. I missed the entire summer. Nobody brought me gifts, food, books, etc. Honestly, I would have cared more about human interaction. It got to the point where I’d cry if anyone called me, because they couldn’t even be bothered to send me a text. I was induced during my 36th week and the doctor was surprised. He didn’t think I’d make it. I did what I had to. I saved my child. I know a handful of people that were on “bed rest”. They went shopping, to the zoo, had photo shoots, etc. Now that I understand the risks and I did everything in my power to protect my child, I think less of those that only thought about their own wants.

Erika Duenwald 2 years ago

Nearly 5 months of bedrest here due to an emergency cerclage at 17 weeks. It was awful, it was scary and it was depressing as hell…but, I would do it over and over again for my little boy. We made it to a healthy, happy 35 weeks and he is now a happy, energetic one year old!

Melissa Downing 2 years ago

Two months in the hospital and after a one week stint at home I was grateful for the ability to press the button at the hospital and have someone there to help me and bring me meals. I tried to separate day and night by only allowing myself to watch the morning and noon news and no more t.v. until after 5pm. The hospital channels sucked anyway. Only MySpace then so not so much fun. I made it thru okay but it was an exercise in mental strength. Hang in there ladies!

Rachel Besancon Hammett 2 years ago

I was on strict bed rest in the hospital from 25 weeks on with an incompetent cervix. This was VERY accurate!!

Candis Geerts 2 years ago

I was on bed rest with my first. Got bored pretty quickly. Never stayed in bed; tried to do as much as I could around the house before baby came.

Lisa Stork 2 years ago

I was only on full bed rest for a week and a half but I managed to go through all of these. It sucked and I can’t imagine doing it any longer. I got them to agree to half days for the rest and it was my sanity. It was worth it to
Make it to 37 weeks and get to bring him home on time!

Tiffany Ribordy 2 years ago

I had to have a dnc from a baby we lost just three months before getting pregnant with my youngest so my anxiety was already high. I did not enjoy one minute of bed rest. Worst part was just laying there not able to do anything and not able to sleep because of my anxiety. I did cheat a little. The highlight of my day was taking benadryl right before my husband would drive me around every night for about an hour so I could get hopefully some sleep that night. Never would’ve made it through without those nightly drives.

Paula Gill 2 years ago

Bedrest the first time sucked, as I was in a location where I knew very few people. It was from week 26 thru 33 when I delivered due to preeclampsia. Second baby was from 20 weeks, thru to 38 weeks! This one was easier ‘cos I had a few coping techniques and knew what to expect, but so much more guilt laden as I had a three year old at home too :( My heart goes out to anyone who has to deal with this.

Racheal Tolar 2 years ago

Ugh laying on your left side allll the time was awful! Hurt my hip so much! And eating while laying down… Yuck :/ made my heartburn even worse!

Kimberly Ifcic 2 years ago

So true! 5 1/2 months of bed rest took a huge hit on my psyche and heart.

Jennifer Toscano Wilkin 2 years ago

This is true!

Melissa Mathison 2 years ago

I got bed rested on my last two pregnancies. From 27 weeks to 36 weeks with my second and from 13 weeks to 34 weeks with my third. Both were miserable since my now ex husband wouldn’t do anything to help out. Thankfully family and friends were able to pitch in. I was so bored and hated the helpless feeling.

Heather Abbate 2 years ago

Minus step two and it’s all spot on. Since hubby was deployed and I had no friends or family nearby, I just went straight into the boredom part. I can say I’ve seen about 90% of what Netflix has to offer and my friends who were also pregnant at the same time were always saying how lucky I was to do nothing while they were out baby clothes shopping and getting foot rubs from their hubby. I wanted to kick them. HARD. That’s before you incorporate the three appointments a week (each was 100 miles round trip since that was the closest OB with the care required) to monitor baby due to pregnancy complications at 25 weeks. Every week up until 42 weeks when I was induced. Yeah, it was a total blast.

Shere Stickels 2 years ago

With both of my pregnancies I had high blood pressure, so high during the 2nd one that the doc thought I was going to have a stroke if I stepped a foot outside the hospital. They wanted to do an amnio on me on my 23 birthday to see if my daughter’s lungs were developed enough to go ahead and deliver her because of the hbp, the stress tests showed that my hbp was not affecting my daughter so I rejected the amnio and told them if she’s not being harmed I’d prefer her to stay in until term or she’s ready (I was 36 weeks along anyway what’s 4 more weeks of pain and misery if it means a happy healthy baby). So they put me in a strict diet and bed rest. I didn’t make it through the first day before taking care of my eldest (11 months old at the time) or cleaning, 3 days later my baby broke my water. She was a tad early but happy and healthy. I could do 4 weeks of bed rest on my head now that they are 4 and 3.

Candace Bartel 2 years ago

OMG are you freaking kidding me???? I was put on bed rest with my first because of heavy bleeding, and there were no visits, no presents of cute pj sets, and no snacks. I was miserable and worried, so it’s not like I am sad that I didn’t get those things.

Shannon Zemlak 2 years ago

Eleven weeks of it, 10 of those incarcerated in the hospital and I agree it was awful. I enjoyed no part of it. Shari, I’m sorry you had no support because visitors saved me.

Shari Wippert 2 years ago

Bedrest is awful! I was on bedrest with my youngest, and since I have absolutely no support system here and my husband is a workaholic/obsessive gamer (totally odd combination) my two oldest had to be sent to stay with their grandparents because I just couldn’t keep up with a hyperactive autistic 3 yr old and a 2 year old who followed along and does the exact same thing two seconds later! Now, with my youngest quickly approaching 1, I often wish for the days when I could just lounge around and watch That 70’s Show all day long! I still remember the moment about a week after I had my baby, when my hips finally pulled back together though. Intense pain followed by intense relief! Lol!

Lori Stover 2 years ago

SOO true! I was so miserable the day before I was put on bed rest and in so much pain ( hadn’t really thought about this being contractions) that I even said I would welcome it. 4 weeks in I was begging for it to end. 11 weeks later after 3 hospital stays I had a healthy full term – induced! Baby!

Ashley ‘Ristuccia’ Sorvillo 2 years ago

I skipped right to 3. I HATED bedrest. I would get so mad when people would tell me how nice it must be to lay around all day.

Kori Tomelden 2 years ago

It sucks, but I understood why it was necessary. My youngest was born healthy and ultimately that’s what mattered.

Melissa Scully 2 years ago

Lol so true

Kayra Johnson 2 years ago

I was on bedrest before Facebook or Netflix. Lost part of my mind during those weeks. Never recovered it b

    Lori Stover 2 years ago

    I developed an addiction to people’s court, lol, and other shows like that.

Jennifer Bishop 2 years ago

Yes – this is completely accurate. I spent over 2 months on bedrest including a month in the hospital (thank goodness my husband was able to work from home to be able to take care of our 2 yo). What fun.

Tricia Loomis Oostema 2 years ago

Bed rest at 26weeks until 35weeks when my son was born. It was not 1 bit of fun especially having a 3yr old and 18month old at home. My husband was scared to come home everyday not knowing what the house would be like! The huge thing I was taught though was that I had a huge support system I didn’t even realize. When they could family and friends helped with child care, shopping, cleaning, and cooking. 5 years later and I’m still thankful and always try to pay it forward!

Cher A Torti 2 years ago

Bed rest with twins….twice. I was terrible at it. But all 4 babies are here and healthy so it was worth it.

Christy Pelley 2 years ago

I can so relate to this!!

Tonya 2 years ago

Bed rest was the worse. I had the joy on still trying to take care of a 3yo while on bed rest. My husband had just started a new job and couldn’t take anytime off. I wish I had been lucky enough to have had a support system.

Jenn Ransom 2 years ago

This is totally on point! I was on bedrest from week 24 with my daughter, and it SUCKED! I hated it so bad. I can’t imagine how horrible it would have been if I’d needed it for my younger ones.

Jen Goering Conner 2 years ago

Went through all those and a few more with my second one!! Finally get off bed rest and NOTHING! No contractions, none if the issues that put me there…. He is still like that at 7!!! 😉

    Geralin Castellano 2 years ago

    Same exact thing I dealt with lol!!

    Lori Stover 2 years ago

    Yep, had to be induced finally!

    Jen Goering Conner 2 years ago

    Had mine induce me 2 weeks early!! Good thing too, he was 23 1/2 inches and 8.3 lbs then!!! But, my hubby is 6’8!

Mary Schneider 2 years ago

YES and it was sucktastic… I was running an in-home daycare. I was *supposed* to be on for almost 4 months… and couldn’t be, because SOMEONE had to keep running my daycare. We depended on my income. (My ex was working, but we were young and just starting out).

It’s a wonder my doc didn’t have a nervous breakdown. lol All she did was yell at me for not following her rules. She saw me through two pregnancies, though, and we all made it. Fun times.

Bethany Ramos 2 years ago

Megan, this post is great! I’m happy I never had to be on bed rest because I probably wouldn’t have handled it as gracefully as you. :-) I remember feeling stir crazy when my midwife told me to lay in bed for 24 hours after having a baby, and I didn’t even want to do that.


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