A day in the life of a mum on bedrest at Mater Mothers’ Hospitals

A day in the life of a mum on bedrest at Mater Mothers’ Hospitals

No two pregnancy journeys are the same. Each mum-to-be has their own story and path from conception to birth and while we always hope for a healthy pregnancy, for some women they may need to spend some extra time at Mater Mothers’ Hospitals before birth while their pregnancy is monitored. 

Mater Occupational Therapist Mary Matthews and her team are trying to make this often unexpected and stressful time, a little easier for these mums-to-be.

“It’s not uncommon for women to be admitted to hospital early in their pregnancy and advised bedrest or restricted or limited movement as we assess their pregnancy,” Mary said.

“This can be a stressful and often very vulnerable time for pregnant women.”

Jessica is one mum who has spent the last eight weeks at Mater Mothers’ Private Brisbane after being considered high risk at her 24 week appointment with her obstetrician.

“I went for my regular check up with my obstetrician and when she did my scan she noticed my cervix was short. That afternoon I had an ultrasound, and they determined I was considered high risk and was admitted to Mater Mothers’ Private Brisbane that evening,” Jessica said.

As with many women who are unexpectedly admitted to hospital, it was an overwhelming experience for Jessica.

“When I was first admitted, I had little strength as my blood pressure was so low. Luckily, I had a lot of support from other mums, the midwives and my occupational therapist,” Jessica said.

Mary says the occupational therapy team have worked to develop specialised programs to assist these mums-to-be to relax into their new ‘normal’ of being in hospital.

“Our occupational therapists work with mums one-on-one to support them with their stress management as well as run groups during the week to help connect other mums in similar circumstances,” Mary said.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity for the women to share some of their experiences and support each other under the trained guidance of a psychosocial occupational therapist.”

The programs run for these patients on bedrest have really helped Jessica stay positive and keep herself busy.

“They taught me breathing techniques, strategies to ground myself and were very supportive. I don’t know what I would have done without them. They taught me strategies that I will be able to use when I go home as well,” Jessica said.

 “I have been attending the cooking and craft classes as well as the mums’ support group. The classes were a great opportunity to talk to other mums, as well as something to look forward to each week.”

The programs are also supporting the overall perinatal mental health of women.

“Perinatal mental health is a significant area of concern. The World Health Organisation outlines that worldwide about 10% of pregnant women and 13% of women who have just given birth experience a mental disorder, primarily depression and these risks are even higher for women who are exposed to external factors including emergency situations and extreme stress,” Mary said.

Jessica said; “connecting with other mums provided a great deal of support in my overall mental health and wellbeing. It gave me reassurance about the future and provided a positive social distraction from the challenges I was facing. After being in hospital for a while, it was also great to also be supportive to other Mums. I also made a friend that I keep in close contact with. 

Eight weeks later, Jessica has just reached the 32 week mark and is now ready to be discharged.

“The baby and I are doing really well so I am looking forward to getting home to my own bed. It will also be a good chance for my husband and I to organise the nursery and prepare for our little one to arrive,” Jessica said.

Thanks to the collaboration between Mater Mothers and Mumma Got Skills, virtual craft sessions were developed in response to COVID-19 meaning Jessica can continue with these sessions online at home.

“I am so thankful for the support and will continue to practice the things I learnt while in hospital at home.”

You can read our comprehensive range of online resources for pregnancy, birthing and parenting in ‘Your Journey’.


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For urgent assessment at any stage of your pregnancy, please present to your nearest emergency centre or Mater Mothers’ 24/7 Pregnancy Assessment Centre in South Brisbane.

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