Due to pregnancy complications during my twin pregnancy, I was placed on activity restriction starting in my first trimester. By the end of the pregnancy I was not allowed to leave the bed for more than a few minutes use the bathroom or grab a bite to eat. The doctor was attempting to take the pressure off my cervix to prevent early labor. Despite the prolonged bed rest, I was hospitalized at 24 weeks for preterm labor. With the help of medications to stop contractions, I managed to carry the pregnancy to the third trimester. New research suggests bed rest may not be as effective as some doctors believe for some pregnant women. 

SleepAccording to a new study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology, bed rest for women with a short cervix does not help deter early birth. More than 600 women were interviewed for the study. The majority of women placed on rest of any kind were covered by private insurance and tended to be older than women who were not placed on activity restriction. Based on information collected by researchers, women placed on rest (with a short cervix) were more likely to give birth early- the opposite effect doctors were hoping for. 

What Does This Study Mean to Women Looking at Bed Rest?
Though the study suggests no benefit from bed rest for women with a short cervix, obstetricians are not likely to change their treatment methods just yet. The study was relatively small with less than 700 participants. Information was revealed using questionnaires – there was no mention of medical record review to reinforce information provided by study participants. If future studies with medical record review and more participants are completed, treatment protocols may be changed to reflect the ineffective nature of bed rest for certain pregnancy complications. 

Source: Grobman, William A. MD, MBA; Gilbert, Sharon A. MBA, PhD; Iams, Jay D. MD; Spong, Catherine Y. MD; Saade, George MD; Mercer, Brian M. MD; Tita, Alan T. N. MD, PhD; Rouse, Dwight J. MD; Sorokin, Yoram MD; Leveno, Kenneth J. MD; Tolosa, Jorge E. MD, MSCE; Thorp, John M. MD; Caritis, Steve N. MD; Peter Van Dorsten, J. MD; for the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) Maternal-Fetal Medicine Units (MFMU) Network. Activity Restriction Among Women With a Short Cervix. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e3182917529.

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