Home > Patients & Visitors > Health Library > Bed Rest for Preterm Labor
Expectant management is the close monitoring of a pregnancy for complications. It may involve some bed rest at home or in the hospital. Being on expectant management may mean you are advised to stop working, reduce your activity level, or possibly spend a lot of time resting (partial bed rest).
There is no evidence that long-term bed rest lowers the risk of preterm delivery.footnote 1Studies have shown that strict bed rest for 3 days or more may raise your risk of getting a blood clotin the legs or lungs.footnote 2Strict bed rest is no longer used to prevent preterm labor. But your doctor may recommend expectant management with some bed rest (partial bed rest).
If your doctor or nurse-midwife suggests expectant management for preventing preterm labor, discuss the benefits and risks in light of your condition.
When you are resting or sleeping during late pregnancy, try to lie on your side. This is thought to improve blood flow to the uterus and fetus(es).
Dehydration can trigger contractions, so be sure to drink plenty of fluids each day.
When you are lying down, remember to flex your feet, stretch, and move your legs as much as possible.
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (2012). Management of preterm labor. ACOG Practice Bulletin No. 127. Obstetrics and Gynecology, 119(6): 1308-1317.
Cunningham FG, et al., eds. (2010). Preterm birth. In Williams Obstetrics, 23rd ed., pp. 804-831. New York: McGraw-Hill.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerSarah A. Marshall, MD - Family MedicineAdam Husney, MD - Family MedicineKathleen Romito, MD - Family MedicineSpecialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reproductive Endocrinology
Current as ofNovember 21, 2017
Current as of:
November 21, 2017
Sarah A. Marshall, MD - Family Medicine & Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine & Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology, Reproductive Endocrinology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2018 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Our interactive Decision Points guide you through making key health decisions by combining medical information with your personal information.
You'll find Decision Points to help you answer questions about:
Get started learning more about your health!
Our Interactive Tools can help you make smart decisions for a healthier life. You'll find personal calculators and tools for health and fitness, lifestyle checkups and pregnancy.
Feeling under the weather?
Use our interactive symptom checker to evaluate your symptoms and determine appropriate action or treatment.