Bed Rest

My wife was just put on bed rest. Did this happen to you, and how did you cope?

Our Daddy MD Guide’s reply: My wife was put on bed rest with our first set of twins. We also had had four children by then, and I was working full-time. We coped by planning ahead as much as we could. For example, we prepped meals ahead so when I got home I just had to throw a casserole into the oven.

My wife and I quickly learned to prioritize. With four children, we had a large list of things do to, all of the time. The laundry is never done; the cleaning is never done. I tried to stay on top of things so the house didn’t overtake me. Often when a woman is pregnant, the man has to help with the household chores. Even if he’s not good at it, he has to, whether he likes it or not. Also, we got a lot of help from our older kids. They were care providers for their littler siblings.

When my wife was on bed rest, we were realistic about what “bed rest” meant. If you’re not in the hospital, you’re not truly on bed rest. You’re supposed to be lying down all of the time, but especially if you have other children, that’s impossible. We set guidelines. For example if she had to get up to attend to a kid, she did so but then she laid back down as soon as possible. Women can also feel their contractions, so they quickly know if they’re overdoing it. Pretty much, my advice to my wife was there’s no need to cook or clean, just make sure the kids are alive at the end of the day.

Bryan S. Wood, MD, a father of 11 children, an emergency physician, and the president of SelfRefind, in Danville, KY.