Expectant mothers with high-risk pregnancies or in need of close observation during pregnancy are often recommended for hospital bed rest. Round-the-clock care may be required for a few days or several months depending on the extent of the women's condition.Seton Medical Center Austin recently opened a 16-bed antepartum unit dedicated specifically to pregnant women needing bed rest and special attention.
"It was nice to know that the unit was there so I didn't have to worry about having to try to do it at home," said Sarah, a recent antepartum patient in the unit. "If I was at home, I know I would have kept getting up to do work around the house which would have put my babies at risk."
By "it" she means bed rest. The new mother spent more than one month in the care of the antepartum team before delivering triplets.
The goal of care antepartum, the period of time before birth, is to maintain the pregnancy as long as possible to better ensure of a healthy baby and delivery.
"We want the best outcome for both mother and baby," said Sharon Perry, RN, Seton Austin director of maternity services.
Women pregnant with multiple are often recommended for bed rest. Statistics show that seventy percent of multiples are born before their due date. With triplets, quadruplets and other higher order multiples, the odds are higher.
It's not just multiples that might require an expectant mother to require hospital care. Diabetes, asthma and pregnancy-induced hypertension¬ are other conditions that may warrant admission to the antepartum unit. Not to mention complications that a occur pregnancy with no known cause.
Yet, bed rest can be…well, boring.
For Sarah she was most appreciative of the personal refrigerators so she could store some of her favorite snacks because "getting used to the food was challenging".
Sarah maintained her pregnancy through to 33 weeks which she credits to the hospital bed rest. The five pound babies were cared for in the NICU a few floors above the unit.
What was Sarah's favorite part? "I was always a hop, skip and a jump from my babies," she replied.
Dr. Stephanie Reich, ob/gyn, spoke to KXAN about the antepartum unit.
To read more about what to expect, visit Seton Baby Talk.