New research is raising fresh concern that an age-old treatment for troubled pregnancies — bed rest — doesn’t seem to prevent premature birth and might even worsen that risk.
Doctors have known for years that there’s no good evidence that bed rest offers any benefit for certain pregnancy complications, and it can cause side effects in the mother, not to mention emotional and financial strain. Yet estimates suggest nearly one in five moms-to-be is told to cut her activity — ranging from quitting work to actually staying in bed all day — at some point during pregnancy.
Now, spurred by the latest study, some specialists are issuing a call for strict studies to finally settle the question — and, until then, for doctors not to assume that a prescription to take it easy can’t hurt.
“Bed rest is misperceived as an inexpensive, innocuous, logical recommendation,” Joseph Biggio Jr. of the University of Alabama at Birmingham wrote in the latest issue of the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology.