Pregnancy: Bedrest for early spotting?

My wife is five weeks pregnant with our second child and she has had some brown colored spotting with lower back pain. Although this happened with our first baby, we are concerned about a miscarriage. Our doctor recommended bed rest, but how can she do that while staying home with our active son?


Peg Plumbo CNM

Peg Plumbo has been a certified nurse-midwife (CNM) since 1976. She has assisted at over 1,000 births and currently teaches in the... Read more

Spotting during early pregnancy can be very normal. Even with the addition of low back pain, all can still be well. As the "blastocyst" implants, some blood is released from the uterine wall.

Despite the fact that bedrest was recommended, no well controlled studies have confirmed its usefulness. It is often recommended simply because it may help and it surely gets the attention of the family.

Pregnancy is a time of maximum physical and emotional energy expenditure, when role flexibility and adjustment are essential. Your wife needs to have periods of rest. Could she nap when the toddler is napping or when you are home? Could she arrange an exchange of children with another mother or join a playgroup?

"Mother's helpers" are a much-overlooked resource as well. Many 10 to 14 year olds are anxious to get some pre-babysitting experience and references. They may be too young to leave alone, but they can play with an active child while Mom rests.

Your pregnancies are relatively close together, and your wife may not have built back up to maximum nutrient and iron stores. She needs to eat an excellent diet with lots of iron. Dietary iron is tolerated much better than supplemental iron.

All will most likely be well, but if her pain and/or bleeding increase, she should slow down her activities and, of course, notify her care provider immediately.

I hope all goes well for you and your family.

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