Preterm Labor and Bedrest at 26 Weeks

  • First time mom here, and I've just been admitted into the hospital on strict bed rest to avoid going back into preterm labor. Last week I had some cramping that the doctor thought might be caused by dehydration, but it developed into spotting. A positive fetal fibronectin test later, I was starting to have active contractions, and a vaginal ultrasound revealed cervical funneling. Tocolytics, betamethasone injections, progesterone injections, Procardia, and strict bed rest have stopped labor from progressing, but the doctors (yes, multiple) are reluctant to send me home in case I go back into labor.

    My poor husband is running his butt off trying to entertain me here at the hospital and going back to the house to visit his family (they made the 11+ hour drive to see us for Christmas since we can't be there) and take care of our two dogs. Unfortunately, he's military and may have to return to a school in a couple of weeks, which would leave me with no one around to help out.

    So, I'm wondering if anyone out there has any pearls of wisdom, antecdotes, etc regarding preterm labor and bedrest before the start of the 3rd trimester. I'm out of entertainment, comfortable positions, and need some encouragment!

  • Wow it sounds like you have had a rough several weeks. As a NICU nurse, I can tell you that as hard as it is, you need to be on bedrest. Your baby will have a much better outcome, the longer you can keep him or her inside. BUT rest assured that if your baby were to be born now, there are sooooo many amazing things that we do. Each week is vital.

    While you may get unbelievably bored, try emailing friends to have someone come visit you each day you are there. Now is the time to start keeping a diary of the trials and tribulations the next several months will bring. Your baby will enjoy reading them when he is older. Make a book list of books you would like to catch up on right now or movies you have never seen. Also, being on these types of forums can be a great way to connect with other moms and make the day go by a little easier.

    Your doctor may feel more comfortable sending you home in a few weeks, but for now you are stuck there. Try to relax and take it easy...once the baby arrives, you will be plenty busy!

    If you need any more advice or have any questions, my NICU experience may come in handy to you. I will keep you and your family in my thoughts this holiday season. Glad you could join Strong moms.

  • I am so sorry to hear that you are in the hospital for the holidays. However, I think you are in the right place. I was pregnant with twins and not due until Jan 18 but they had a different plan. At 26 weeks my son's water broke in the middle of the night. After confirming it was my water but no contractions and dilation i was told i needed to stay in the hospital until delivery. Which meant at least 7 weeks in the hospital on complete bed rest. I wanted to sign myself out but after talking to many doctors including the NICU Doctor  it was best form me to stay. I ended up delivering my babies at 29 weeks and 2 days.  My labor started around 7:30am and i had my first baby at 10:06am it went so fast that i never got an epidural and i ended up going natural and my daughter came out breech. If I had not listened and came home I might not have made it back in  time. I know its very boring and hard on your husband but its worth it in the end. My poor husband was home working, taking care of other kids, housework and trying to see me. Hang in there the reward at the end is so worth it. Plus having a baby in the NICU is so hard. The longer you keep the baby in the less time in the NICU. I think they said for every day you keep the baby in thats 2 less days in the NICU. Good Luck and hang in there you can do it!!!  

  • Hi, Courtney

    Wow.  Your story sounds so familiar.  I went into preterm labor at 28 weeks with my son five years ago.  I was working full time and thinking I could do everything at full speed...being stressed out at work, I wasn't staying hydrated or really eating well either.  Some small spotting led me to the doctor.  I went through the same things at the hospital except that after five hours my labor stopped and my doctor sent me home.  I was on full bed rest for two weeks and put on medicine to keep the contractions at bay.  After that time, I got my doctor's okay to return to work part time.  I would work in the morning and then come home in the afternoon for bedrest until the next day.  I made it through my pregnancy until the 38th week when the doctor took me off of the medicine.  I thought I would go into labor on my own, but I was finally induced at 39 weeks.  My baby boy was beautiful and healthy.  This was my second child.  My first pregnancy was so fun and easy.  I think God intervened during the second one to have me take a step back to remember to take care of myself and the baby.  I'm so thankful as my son has been a true gift in my life.

    You can make it through this.  Hang in there!  Remember who you are doing this for!  I think you will be well taken care of in the hospital.  I wonder if you could go home and be on full bed rest...but then again, unless you have someone who can help care for you full time, the hospital is the best place to be.  When you are at home, you could be tempted to do too much!

    Since you have to be on bedrest, here are some reading suggestions:  The Baby Whisperer, Babywise, The Happiest Baby on the Block (a must read!), and The No Cry Sleep Solution.  These are all so helpful.  I read the first two books with my first two children, and the last two books with my third child (she just turned 3 1/2 months old). 

    Good luck and may God bless you and your family.





  • Thanks for your reply--I appreciate all the info I can get. We've now made it past the 27 week mark, on our way to 28 weeks, so I'm starting to breathe a little easier. I'm still keeping my legs crossed, though! Big Smile

  • Were you on any meds during your hospital stay? Did you have any contractions during your stay at the hospital? I've been here nearly 2 full weeks on Procardia with very few sporadic contractions, so I'm staying optimistic. I've reached 27 weeks and am working towards 28 with high hopes. They tell me my son acts more like a 32 week old baby instead of the 27 week old that he is, so I'm staying optimistic! I'm guessing your twins were in NICU for awhile. Did everything turn out okay with both of them?

  • Thanks for the reading suggestions--now the trick is getting my husband to go out and look for those books... :-) He is doing a good job of bringing me novels to read, so that's helping. I'm also using the time to learn guitar (which I had tried once before when I had too much else going on) so, other than the bad days when I just want to get out of bed and nothing sounds fun, I'm keeping pretty well occupied.

    I'm so glad to hear that you managed to carry your son full-term. Since we've gone 2 weeks without incident, I'm hoping I can do the same. I have an ultrasound Tuesday to recheck my cervix, and I'm really hoping they'll have good news then. I'm hoping I can be changed to modified bed rest, as my husband will be returning to training soon, and I'll have no one here to take care of me, but I'm sure I'll come up with something if I stay on strict bed rest.

    Thanks for your advice and encouragement!

  • Yes, i took lots of meds, not so much to stop labor. I took things like prenatal vitamin, fish oil, progestrone, etc. In the 2 1/2 weeks i was in the hospital i had maybe 4 contractions so it was a shock when i went into full blown labor so fast. Thank god everything has turned out good so far. Yes they were in the NICU. They were born on 11/4/09 and my daughter just came home on christmas eve. my son has to stay longer, i am hoping this week he will be able to come home. he is still on oxygen but doing good. 

  • I know the hospitals around us will allow you to bring in things like Xboxs and such, as well as laptops if your going to be staying for an unknown amount of time that is going to be signifcant. I'd Check and see what kind of rules they have on bringing those kind of things as well. If nothing the handheld games might also work i can tellyou from experince you can only read so many days in a row before you start to just not want to anymore no matter how good the book is. The picking up giutar thing sounds cool i used to play when i had more times on my hand also try things like knitting and cross stitch it takes alot of concertration so i'll help keep your mind off things. Keep us updated.

  • Crochet! My grandmother taught me the chain stitch when I was young, so I googled crochet and found a series of left handed tutorials on you tube, and now I'm working on an afghan for my son. Granted, it won't be something we keep on display, lol, but I'm hoping by the time I finish it I should be practiced enough to make another for my sister's baby. The hour on the monitor this morning flew by while I was busy working on it. Yay!

    Anyone out there know of some safe exercises I can do while on bed rest? My legs are starting to feel achy, and I get pins and needles in my feet when i get up to go to the bathroom. I try to continually work my feet (roll them around, flex and extend), but if there are some better exercises, I'd love to try them.

    Thanks for all the responses--it's been a big help talking to moms with experience.

  • Hi,

    I was admitted to the hospital at 20 weeks - i was in for a stitch and little did I know that I was having contractions as well.  I stayed in the hospital for one week on indocin and then went home.  I was back in a week later for my emergency stitch.  I stayed on strict bedrest for five months.  My advice - go shopping for the baby online - see if someone can get you a laptop.  Also, stay away from websites that are not positive. I was always googling things I should not have and then wound up having a panic attack over something I should not have been reading.  In the end, my boy was born at 36 weeks - almost 37 weeks and did not have to go into the NICU.  I know it seems like a long way to go, and believe me I understand...but it is all worth it in the end.

  • I am a 3 time preemie mom.. with my last baby I was admitted for preterm labor at 24 weeks and spent 8 weeks on strict hospital bedrest, magnesium sulfate, and terbutaline for breakthrough contraction which happened a good 5 times a day for my whole stay.  He was finally born at 32 weeks due to a placental abruption.

    He had underdeveloped lungs, required a vent, then cpap, had a 5 week NICU stay and unfortunately at 14 months still has a a host of medical issues.  He is developmentally delayed, has suspected cerebral palsy, has feeding and aspiration issues requiring thickened feeds, has chronic lung disease and is on a home oxygen saturation monitor and spent the first 10 months on an apnea monitor, requires about 5 different daily meds, and has ahd 13 hospitalizations.  He gets physical, occupational, and speech (feeding) therapies weekly.  Hes also had 2 surgeries (a hydrocele repair and eye muscle surgery).

    Now my other 2 prteemies, a 35 weeker and a 34 weeker were completely healthy and home in 3 days :)

  • Wow, SativaStarr, I'll keep you and your son in my prayers. I'm a 'gotta know everything there is to know on the subject' kind of person, so as soon as I found out I was pregnant, I bought an OB/GYN textbook, borrowed my mom's nursing OB/GYN texts, and started reading medical journals online on obstetrics. Luckily, knowing all the bad things that can go wrong doesn't upset me--it actually makes me feel better that everything is going well with the baby, and then when something goes wrong (when I went into pre-term labor, for example), I knew exactly what the doctor and nurses were talking about, so they could use medical terms around me and I still knew what they were saying.

    What scared me was the fact that we might not be able to stop labor, but once they did, I relaxed quite a bit. Now my biggest challenge is keeping entertained and finding a comfy position!

    I really like hearing all the different stories you ladies have added on here--it helps to remind me that everyone's experience is different and gives me different perspectives to contemplate.

    I have a question for all you mommies out there: when sleeping on your side, did you ever feel like you were squashing your baby? I wake up on my side and feel like I'm putting too much weight on my abdomen, but sleeping with all my weight completely on my hips is devastatingly uncomfortable. I've added a wedge to elevate my upper half, which helps, but I'd like to know if I'm just being paranoid about squishing Carson!