Objective: To explore women's experience of bed rest in high risk pregnancy.
Design: Naturalistic, qualitative.
Sample, Setting: Twelve adult, pregnant women on prescribed bed rest of a minimum of 20 hours per day and for at least 3-weeks duration were interviewed in one Western state of the U.S.A. regarding their experiences.
Findings: Three major themes were perceptions of high risk pregnancy, perceptions of bed rest, and the experience of time and restricted movement. The women described a high level of physical, emotional, familial, and economic hardship resulting from the bed-rest experience. Having adequate income, health insurance, and a supportive relative to take over household responsibilities were dimensions of successful maintenance of bed rest in the women.
Conclusions: The routine obstetric procedure of bed-rest should be reevaluated in light of its lack of demonstrated effectiveness and potential to seriously harm women and their families.
Clinical Implications: Women should be fully informed about controversies surrounding the efficacy of bed rest in pregnancy and encouraged to participate in decisions when complications occur regarding the prescription of prolonged bed rest.