Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Dear Birth Peeps,

I want to thank all of you who helped us reach our fundraising goal to publish Ancient Map for Modern Birth. Enough money was raised to ensure the design for an e-book!

On this cold morning of November 17th, I am sitting by my fireplace reading the newest edition of Harper's magazine which arrived yesterday with a stunning cover photo of a pregnant woman lying on her side; the feature article: “The Bed-Rest Hoax” by Alexandra Kleeman. I highly recommend this excellent article to all birth peeps (as well as a subscription to Harper’s, a magazine that’s been in circulation since 1850 and covers a wide range of articles and short stories).

Kleeman reminds us that in spite of research over the past ten years that shows bed-rest has no health benefits (in treating hypertension, a shortened cervix, miscarriage, or impaired fetal growth), it is still being prescribed regularly.  Each year, 700,000 pregnant women are put on bed-rest, ranging from a few hours a day to complete bed-rest for days, weeks, even months. Do some birth attendants do this out of habit, or out of wanting to give the woman something to do to make them both feel like they are "treating" the problem?
 Consequences of bed-rest include: bone loss, blood clots, muscle atrophy, weight loss, and psychological stress. In addition to the physical complications, bed-rest means loss of income and difficulties with older child-care. Although it is not mentioned in the article, bed-rest often interferes with eating a healthy pregnancy diet which is an essential part of holistic management of any diagnosis leading to the recommendation for bed-rest. If research does not support this treatment, from where did it come? One of the most interesting parts of Kleeman’s article is the historical roots she uncovered beginning with a treatise written in 1863 by John Hilton called Rest and Pain. As they say, “old habits die hard,” and this one applies! The history of bed-rest is fascinating and enlightening.
 Get up and go get the magazine and read this article. It will make you think twice about bed-rest in pregnancy.

Stay warm, 


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  2. I have spontaneously taken days of bed rest here and there. My anxiety is so bad that I feel like I'm having a constant heart attack. The days I stay tucked in bed, away from the horrors of the outside world, I find the baby stays calm and my anxiety is greatly reduced for a few hours.

    My nervous system calms down, my IBS calms down and I can relax enough to eat.

    Why is bed rest so bad?

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