Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Bed-Rest Exercises, Arts and Crafts, and Other Activities

To all of my fellow best-rest preggers out there--pull your hair into a ponytail, turn up the Black-Eyed Peas on your I-Phone, and let’s get this bed-party started!  Of course, please refrain from moving an ounce of your body off the hospital bed while performing any of these activities!

Disclaimer: I must strongly advise against doing any of these exercises without the consent of your doctor and a physical therapist.  Also, if you feel fatigued, discomfort, or contractions, immediately stop, lay on your left side, and drink plenty of water.   

I.  Biceps, Triceps, Shoulders, Oh My! 
Ask the nurse for two water bottles, weighing approximately one pound each.  If water bottles are not available, ask the housekeeper for two full bottles of the hospital’s antibacterial hand sanitizers (these are usually placed in holders throughout the hospital).  If you still strike out, be creative and look around your hospital room and even ask the nurses for suggestions.  Also, you can use a resistance band (from home) and tie it to the edge of your bed.
1  Baby-Holder Biceps: In a reclined or even upright position (again if you are allowed) perform simple bicep curls while holding a water bottle in each hand.  Perform about 20 reps  or stop if your arms start feeling fatigued.  Just be in touch with your body and DO NOT push yourself!

2.  Tough-Momma Triceps: With a water bottle in each hand, extend arms over your head and hold upward, then extend back, bending at the elbow.  These are simple triceps extensions you have probably seen people perform at the gym numerous times.  Again, perform about 20 reps, or, if you are an experienced gym-rat, do more, but just pace yourself. According to the hospital's physical therapist, triceps are more important to develop than biceps.  

3.  Spud-Sprouting Shoulders: With a water bottle in each hand, position arms over your head, on each side of shoulders, and slightly in front of head.  Then, lower to sides of shoulders.  Try to repeat 20 times.  This is a simple, shoulder press exercise that again, can be performed either in a reclined position or sitting upright.  

II.  Derrier Do’s

1.  Bed-Bridge:  Lie flat on your back (lower your hospital bed so it is level) and bend your knees so they are in a bridge position.  Be very careful not to put any pressure on your beautiful bump as you lift your butt from the bed and gently squeeze your glutes together.  Perform about 10 of these, paying careful attention to just use the muscles in your quads and glutes.

2.  Little-Lamb Leg-Lifts:  With a couple pillows supporting your head and neck, slightly bend your left leg while keeping your right leg straight.  Raise your right leg and lower, completing about 15 reps.  Then, switch legs and repeat on left leg.

3.  Stripling-Thighs Side Lifts: Lie on right side (please turn onto side gently!) Bend right leg and straighten left leg.  Lift leg up and then down for about 15 reps.

4. Cutie-Pie Clam Shells: While still lying on right side, bend both legs, creating a clamshell image.  Keeping both legs bent, lift left leg (opening clamshell) and then close (closing clamshell) Perform about 10 reps.  Then you can gently fold left leg over right and pat it out, giving your tush and thigh a little massage/stretch

5.  Repeat #3 and #4 on left side but exercise extreme caution when turning over!

III.  Kegels

I was advised to do these throughout my pregnancy but now on bed rest, the hospital physical therapist said that it is totally safe to continue these exercises.  They help strengthen the walls of your vagina and will aid in delivery as well as possibly prevent accidents after delivery.  I am not sure if your doc will advise to do kegels if your baby is breached or if you need a c-sec—so with all of these activities, again, PLEASE ask first.

If you don’t already know how to do kegels, shame on you!  You should have begun doing these at the beginning of your pregnancy. You basically squeeze your vaginal muscles together, like you are stopping the flow of urine.  Release and squeeze throughout the day—try to do these in increments of 10 a few times daily.

IV: Arts and Crafts

My friend, Heather, introduced me to the Knifty Knitter which is the best invention ever for never-knitted-before-novices.  With Heather’s help and a little instruction booklet, I began knitting little baby hats that are amazingly adorable! Although, I had an ulterior motive (baby shower cake) for gifting the first hat I knitted to a fellow inmate, I plan to knit hats for all of the other women (and promise not to barter services).  Any other kinds of arts and crafts activities would be a wonderful diversion.  
V: Other Activities

I recommended the development of a book, and DVD library (also a hospital Netflix subscription would be ideal if a system were developed to monitor that the DVDs are safely returned).  At Regional, each room comes equipped with a DVD player, and while the hospital does have a few DVDs, the reacquisition of the movies from the patients' rooms are not carefully monitored and the supply has now dwindled.

Also, another wonderful technical advancement is the development of Skype (my husband recently set this up on my laptop). Not all of the patients have their own lap top and, of course can only use Skype if their family at home has Skype access.  But, if so, it would be wonderful if the hospital could provide a loaner-laptop that could be circulated among the patients, allowing them video and auditory access to their loved ones at home.  

While the nurses are well-intentioned at their attempts to scrounge for magazines that are freely distributed to the women, magazine quantities as well as quantities are limited.  Eye candy magazines like In Style, Cosmo, or even People would be extremely appreciated!  Girly-girl novels, (I’m talking Sophie Kinsella, Candice Bushnell, Stephenie Meyer) not anything dark or depressing, would also be a wonderful distraction if acquired (when I am discharged I plan on rifling through my book collection and am donating all of my old books to the antepartum unit—if any of you blog followers have light-hearted books to donate, send them my way and I will distribute).
While my well-wishers have sent much-appreciated gifts of sweets and chocolates, many of the women in the unit have developed gestational diabetes as a result of inactivity, medication, and eating too much sugar. Of course when on bed rest, a comforting activity is to watch TV and eat bon-bons, but instead of refined sugared concoctions, I would recommend gifts of different flavored sugar free gum, sugar free mints, sugar-free jello, and even fresh fruit.    

As I have noted in previous blogs, some women have been here for months and are completely severed from their lives, spouses, jobs, and children at home.  This long lasting detachment can have major psychological and emotional implications.  I recommended that a weekly support group be arranged, so the patients can have the option to meet one another, develop relationships, and share stories.  I was lucky enough to be wheeled into another patients' room yesterday and we bonded by swapping stories.  Also, I would recommend that a hospital social worker visit the long-term patients on a weekly basis to offer counseling services. 

If anyone else has any other ideas or fun activities for bed-rest-lock-down, or even house arrest lock-down, for that matter, please comment under this blog and I will be happy to make suggestions or attempt on my own!!

1 comment:

  1. Sam, I don't know how you do it....manage to make us laugh and cry all at the same time while enduring your incarceration. I'm with you sister in spirit. Arts & crafts project en route.

    Love from St. Pete,