A Downside to Downtime for Pregnant Women

Every year, about 1 million pregnant women are ordered on bed rest in an effort to delay preterm birth.

mom to be on bed rest

However, Case Western Reserve University nurse researcher Judith Maloni, PhD, RN, says the common practice can have detrimental effects.

She reports that prolonged periods of rest can lead to maternal weight loss, bone loss, muscle atrophy and physical deconditioning. What's more, she says, being confined to bed can bring on depression, and mothers on bed rest often face relationship conflicts with partners and other family members.

In light of these findings, she says, nurses should ensure pregnant women are aware of the potential risks and benefits.

"Nurses can challenge bed rest treatment by functioning as advocates for women and educating them," she says.

Maloni's study was published in a special women's health issue of Biological Research for Nursing.