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Coping with bedrest during pregnancy
Q: My wife has been told by her doctor to stay on bed rest. She's only 32 weeks pregnant and this is our first child. She has always been the one in charge of the household and has difficulty staying in one place. What can I do to help her out?
A: I'm sorry that your wife needs to stay on bed rest, but I appreciate your desire to help her adjust. Your support is very important at this moment. It is really difficult to stay on bed rest, particularly for active people.

Here are a few ideas that might help:

Spend time talking to your wife about what she needs to feel settled in bed, and help her organize the space around her. Bring her a telephone and telephone book, tissues, wet wipes, a wastebasket, books, magazines and/or catalogs, a notebook and pens. A laptop computer is very helpful. For extra comfort, place extra pillows and an egg crate mattress on the bed.

Make sure she has nutritious food supplies at hand. Consider keeping a cooler or mini-refrigerator close to the bed.

Help her find some entertainment. This could include books on tape, musical cassettes or CDs, or the radio. Other possibilities are television and movies on VCR or DVD (don't forget the remote control).

Review the household tasks that need to be covered, and remember that you don't need to do everything yourself. Consider hiring a housekeeper, and a delivery service for groceries or laundry. Enlist the support of family members and friends to help with other tasks such as providing prepared meals, picking up takeout food, and regular visits to provide your wife with social contacts.

Think about ways to pamper your wife. Provide a massage or arrange for a massage therapist to come to your home. Ask if she'd enjoy a manicure, facial or haircut.

With a little creativity perhaps you can create some romantic moments together. Prepare a picnic in bed or a candlelight dinner. Buy some massage oil and see if you can give each other hand or foot massages.

It sounds like you are being very supportive, and that you and your wife share the same goal—trying to make this the healthiest pregnancy it can be. Good luck to both of you!

Laura E. Stachel M.D. Obstetrician & Gynecologist