Help me keep my wife from going nuts on bed rest
September 28, 2008 10:16 PM   Subscribe

How can I cheer up, amuse, and otherwise distract my pregnant wife who's just been put on bed rest at week 25?

She has a hard time sitting still for half an hour normally, and now we're looking at weeks, at least, of her only able to get up "when absolutely necessary." How can I make this easier on her?

I'm already doing all the housework, that's no problem - I'm more concerned with her mental state being stuck in bed, or on a couch, all day every day. She can get up, even leave the house on rare occasions (shh), but she can't really do anything - no lifting, no walking around.

What else is there? I'm thinking both things we can do together and things she can do alone when I'm going about my business. (We both work at home.) She's very practical-minded (she's already organized all our junk drawers, for example), and she's set with books (not a big reader, unfortunately) and TV shows.

Games? Knitting? Learn a new language?
posted by El Curioso to Human Relations (22 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Puzzle books? Crosswords and sudoku and the like.
posted by youcancallmeal at 10:25 PM on September 28, 2008

Crafts? I've been getting into decorating all these onesies that I have now acquired with iron-on transfers from printed sheets and clip art as well as making my own patches from fabric. They're as cute as the expensive onesies but WAY cheaper.
posted by k8t at 10:27 PM on September 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

Also: if she doesn't like the tedium of most beginning knitting projects, try cross stitch. The patterns tend to allow for more creativity and variation.
posted by youcancallmeal at 10:28 PM on September 28, 2008

And here's a website with a lot of good ideas.

She can totally baby shop online and make your registry online. I was bored for a few months earlier in my pregnancy and became an obsessive baby bargain hunter on Craig's List, eBay, and coupon sites. I got everything on amazing deals and although it would have been nice to have free stuff as gifts, it was nice to get exactly what we wanted and cheaply.
posted by k8t at 10:31 PM on September 28, 2008

Get a game console like a Playstation or Wii and play together.
posted by TheGoldenOne at 10:44 PM on September 28, 2008

Jigsaw puzzles are always fun - if you get a Jigroll or a PortaPuzzle, or something like that, it's easy to move it from the bed and back.

Also, The Teaching Company lectures are decent (but expensive) - when I was sick, I put them on my ipod, got a notebook, a pen, and a bed-table, and geeked out immensely, until such time as I could move again.

I started trying to teach myself to read kanji when I was in hospital - I'd always wanted to learn, but I'd just never found the time to put the work in, and it seemed like the perfect time, 'cause there wasn't anything else I should be doing. Has your wife always wanted to learn a language, or start drawing, or writing, or plan a dream vacation, or something, but hasn't gotten round to it? Get whatever she needs to start doing that.

Oh, and probably a no-brainer, but make sure she gets plenty of visitors. And an X-Box 360.
posted by spockette at 10:48 PM on September 28, 2008

I would recommend Rosetta Stone for learning a new language. Maybe you both could pick one to learn, so you could practice on each other.
posted by gudrun at 11:03 PM on September 28, 2008

do what my bf did when I was bedridden for 3 weeks with the flu from hell - get her addicted to World of Warcraft.
posted by damnjezebel at 11:15 PM on September 28, 2008

If, like me, she's not likely to take up knitting I'd suggest books and magazines. Find some authors she likes or some genres and hit the used bookstore or library. Netflix- get her some long series that you think she'd like to watch and a comfy backrest. Computer games are fun too.

Logistics are a pita when you're on bed rest and it gets really messy so a really nice thing to do would be to spend some time getting her all set up so everything she needs is within arms reach and can be tidied away by her easily. Get her one of those bed-tables so she can get online and write, some containers she can put her stuff into, tissues, a trashcan, pens and paper, remotes and batteries. Ipod or stereo. Water cooler. Snacks. Lip balm, phone charger, glasses, medication etc. Basically everything she will need during the day.
posted by fshgrl at 11:36 PM on September 28, 2008 [1 favorite]

My wife just finished up her 8th week of extreme bedrest (5 weeks of it in the hospital) and I'm thirding the suggestion of a good game console. If you can get ahold of a Wii, you can download classic games which is awesome is your wife if a fan of old school games. Another fun thing to do is design a baby website and start blogging regularly. Obviously, she won't have too much to write about while on bedrest, but you can maintain the blog once the baby is here. We've also been tearing through our Netflix queue. Good luck!
posted by puritycontrol at 11:38 PM on September 28, 2008

Xbox 360 and get VIVA PINATA or get a netflix account and rent her favorite tv shows from the past. I just bought my wife full set of Little House on the Prairie and she's content.
posted by bleucube at 3:52 AM on September 29, 2008

Learn meditation techniques and practice meditation together. If you do it at the same time each day it will add structure to her day and that is a very good thing when day blends into night on bedrest (been there, with kid2). It will calm her mind (good for her) and calm her body (good for baby). The deep slow breathing will help at the birth too. Plus it's a nice thing to do together as you won't be at her side as a caretaker but at her side to share the experience. Your mind & body benefit too.

Also, give her a massage every night. Her legs especially will start feeling weak and blah, so give them some attention.

And yes give her lots to read but find a big killer book (war & peace, cryptonomicon) that you or she have always wanted to read (or thought you should read), and read it out loud in bed together, a little bit each night.

Structure & togetherness --- much more important IMO than filling time.
posted by headnsouth at 5:06 AM on September 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

Also depending on what "when absolutely necessary" means to her doctor, see if you can set up a small table & chairs in the bedroom so she can share meals with you without feeling like a spoonfed invalid. I was able to do that at the beginning of my bedrest and I really missed it when I wasn't allowed to anymore.
posted by headnsouth at 5:22 AM on September 29, 2008

Norman Cousin (Anatomy of an Illness) recommended laughter. Get movies in series; watch all the Cary Grant screwball comedies, then Jimmy Stewart, etc. Round up family and friends and ask people to call weekly at a given time, so that she can have something to look forward to at noon, for instance. Remind people that she needs her spirits lifted. When I was pregannt, my mother-in-law loved telling me horror stories about birth and ways infants could be harmed. thanks. Your library may loan artwork; rotate what's on the walls. Try to have a schedule to the day; it helps. Some nice scented powder is a good gift, and fresh flowers.
posted by theora55 at 6:20 AM on September 29, 2008

Netflix on demand.
posted by ewkpates at 6:32 AM on September 29, 2008

I've heard that World of Warcraft is good for this.
posted by amtho at 6:34 AM on September 29, 2008

Even if she isn't much of a gamer, she will enjoy at least a few games for the Nintendo DS.

This earlier thread might help with selection.

Also, once I was in a huge, day-long scavenger hunt and the person organizing it arranged to have a close friend who was bed-ridden be the holder of one of the clues, so all day long she got visitor after visitor dropping by to chat and joke for a while before going on to the next task.
Perhaps your wife would enjoy something like that, a day where you arrange to have all your local friends drop in at staggered times, maybe each one bringing her a flower to create a lovely bouquet by the end of the day.
posted by Brody's chum at 8:01 AM on September 29, 2008 [1 favorite]

I recommend getting some podcasts going. Via iPod, thru your stereo, PC or whatever. I rarely fail to lose track of time when listening to Radiolab or This American Life. Seconding the game console, meditation and laughter.
posted by sapere aude at 8:27 AM on September 29, 2008

I wanted to learn knitting to fill in dead time associated with waiting (for kids, for doctors, etc). Knitting was too friggen' complicated for me so I learned crochet instead, which is easier, more portable, with a shorter learning curve. It's been addictive and makes time pass quickly. It's also well supported with online communities like and instructional sites and videos.
posted by Breav at 8:39 AM on September 29, 2008

I did bedrest for 14 weeks with first kid, 10 with second, and six with third.

Sidelines is a support group for women on bedrest during pregnancy. It's all done via phone and internet. Sometimes it just helps to have someone who's been there to commiserate with.

Try to keep in mind how difficult it is to do lots of things on your left side...trying to stay propped up to enjoy puzzles, games, knitting or even reading can become very straining on your neck and shoulder, so invest in some large body pillows to help her stay comfortable.

Audio books may be easier than real books (due to the "propping up" issue I mentioned), or order entire seasons of her favorite TV shows. Make her a small table with absolutely everything she could possibly need during the day (on wheels would be ideal)...and think of everything. Nail file/clippers, hairbrush, floss, notepad/pen, cordless phone, gum, younameit.

I actualy got so bored on bedrest I would play scrabble with myself. Your wife's mental capabilities will be challenged to the brink, so no matter how crazy she goes, take it easy on her!

Also, find some support for yourself, because being the go-to guy is noble and loving, but also incredibly draining, even when done as a labor of love. Take care of yourself by setting up times for friends to visit. We used to have a couple we loved come by, and the wife would stay home with me for the afternoon and the husband would hit the road with my husband.

Oh! And have someone come in and do her nails, or wash her hair, or shave her can start to feel so scuzzy after laying around so long that even the most un-girly girl will appreciate the pampering.

Best of luck to you both--you'll get through it!
posted by agentwills at 10:09 AM on September 29, 2008

If she isn't having a planned C-section, she could prepare for natural birth by learning a relaxation technique like Hypnobirthing. Your wife will have plenty of time to read the book and do the daily breathing exercises to the CD that comes with it. I took Hypnobirthing classes with my husband and found it gave me the confidence I needed for both of my unmedicated births. I think the structure of the classes is helpful if you start closer to the due date and don't have a lot of time on your hands, but the book and CD are sufficient otherwise.
posted by Dragonness at 10:47 AM on September 29, 2008

Also, try to keep a routine, even though she's not going anywhere. Still set an alarm, have her eat breakfast/get dressed, etc etc etc at the same time each day. It helps one feel sane.
posted by agentwills at 11:10 AM on September 29, 2008

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