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What Are Some Reasons a Doctor Will Put a Pregnant Woman on Bedrest?

By Kristen Fisher ; Updated June 13, 2017

According to the Cleveland Clinic, nearly 20 percent of women are prescribed bedrest during pregnancy. Bedrest can take many forms -- from simply limiting your activity to being confined to bed all day every day. Bed rest is usually recommended to prevent preterm labor and other pregnancy complications, and it may be used to treat many conditions.

Incompetent Cervix

Having an incompetent or weak cervix means your cervix -- which normally remains closed, long and firm until late in pregnancy -- has begun effacing and dilating before your baby is full term. This condition increases your risk of miscarriage, preterm or premature rupture of the membranes and preterm delivery. Bedrest may help prevent these problems by taking the weight of the baby off the cervix.

High Blood Pressure

Preeclampsia and gestational hypertension are two forms of high blood pressure that occur during pregnancy. Preeclampsia differs from gestational hypertension in that women with preeclampsia also have protein in their urine. These conditions increase the risk of placental abruption, intrauterine growth restriction and preterm delivery. Modified bedrest may help lower your blood pressure; you probably won't be put on complete bedrest for these conditions.

Intrauterine Growth Restriction

Intrauterine growth restriction, or IUGR, occurs when a fetus is abnormally small for gestational age. The condition has many causes, including maternal health problems, genetic defects and decreased blood flow to the placenta and uterus. Bedrest may be prescribed for IUGR to improve circulation to the fetus.

Placenta Complications

Placenta previa, placenta accreta and placental abruption are conditions in which the placenta is formed incorrectly, is in the wrong place in the uterus or doesn't work properly. These problems can deprive your baby of oxygen and nutrients, cause dangerous bleeding and lead to premature birth.

Premature Labor

Bedrest may be recommended for women at risk for premature labor. History of premature birth, carrying multiple babies, unexplained vaginal bleeding, abnormally low or high maternal weight and using drugs, alcohol and cigarettes are all considered risk factors for premature labor. However, not all women with these risk factors should be put on bedrest; a doctor prescribes rest on a case-by-case basis.

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