Malpractice News

May 23, 2013

Bed rest not so restful for pregnant women

“Bed rest” is one of the most dreaded phrases a pregnant woman can hear when a doctor is prescribing treatment. The problem with pregnancy is that in an attempt to keep fetuses as healthy, doctors avoid prescribing medicines or invasive surgeries whenever they can. Thus, bed rest is sometimes the only option they can offer.

Bed rest prescribed for short cervix 

According to Reuters, “having a short cervix increases a pregnant woman’s chance of delivering prematurely” and bed rest is the treatment generally prescribed for this condition. However, a new study seems to suggest that bed rest actually does nothing to prevent early labor and in some cases may even be detrimental to a woman’s condition.

Preterm labor twice as likely 

In fact, “researchers found that women were more than twice as likely to give birth before 37 weeks when doctors told them to restrict some combination of their work, non-work, and sexual activities.” That’s right; they were more likely, not less. One reason for this, said Dr. William Grobman from Northwestern University in Chicago, might be because “the stress and anxiety that can come with being bedridden may actually increase certain risks.

Other negative side effects of bed rest 

Besides potentially increasing the risk of preterm labor, bed rest was also found to cause side effects such as blood clots, bone loss, and muscle tone deterioration. Grobman urged woman who are counseled by their doctors to go on bed rest to discuss what the reasoning is and “whether there’s data to support that recommendation, given her condition.”


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