Pregnancy-induced hypertension is an older term that is sometimes used interchangeably with preeclampsia. If you have high blood pressure and not the other symptoms of preeclampsia (swelling and protein in the urine), your doctor may refer to your condition as chronic hypertension. Any of these terms means that your blood pressure is too high.
One in five pregnant women spends a week or more of her pregnancy on bed rest, as treatment for any of several things—preterm labor, vaginal bleeding, placenta previa, preeclampsia, chronic high blood pressure, sciatic pain. A milder treatment for some of the same conditions is “decreased activity”—staying home most of the time, avoiding exercise, and putting your feet up for a while several times a day. Bed rest is usually prescribed with a qualifying term—partial, moderate, or strict:
Strict bed rest. You must remain in bed (or on the couch, if your doctor approves) at least 23 hours a day. You are allowed a shower only every other day, and you must remain on your side throughout all your meals. Your food, drink, and anything else you may need must be brought to you. You can get up very briefly to use the bathroom or a bedside commode, but not for any other reason. If you are at home on strict bed rest, remember that your next stop is the hospital! Knowing this may help you follow the rules at home.
Your doctor or midwife may have his or her own particular rules regarding bed rest. Follow your practitioner’s specifications; your health and your baby’s health may depend on it.
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Ask Tori RN®, by registered nurse and resident author of The Joy of Pregnancy, is a helpful and reassuring resource for parents-to-be.
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