I was on bed rest or had multiples

On Bed Rest Now

If you are on bed rest now, there may be some exercises your doctor will allow you to do. If your doctor allows these exercises, they can help prevent some of the deconditioning that will occur with bed rest and can help prevent blood clots. You can print out the During Bed Rest Permission Packet for your doctor.

Be absolutely sure to show your doctor and get your doctor’s permission before trying any of them.

Recovering From Bed Rest

If you were on bed rest and you’re feeling sluggish or weak, there’s a good reason for that. Your body’s natural ability to regulate your blood pressure is out of practice after being horizontal so much of the time. Normally, when you stand up, your blood vessels respond by constricting to help move blood back up north, towards your head.


When those blood vessels are out of practice, this response takes a bit longer, which leaves you feeling faint when you stand up. The medical term for that is postural hypotension, and it can occur with any positional change, whether that’s sitting to standing or lying down to sitting. It may make you feel weak, dizzy, or lightheaded, and it can even result in a fall. Before you start an exercise program, it’s important to get your circulatory system working like it should again.


In a rare longitudinal study (where the same subjects are tested again years or decades later), researchers were able to show just how much bed rest affects the body. In 1966, a group of researchers put 5 healthy young men on bed rest for 3 weeks. The researchers took a variety of measurements to determine the immediate effects of bed rest on the men’s bodies. The men were then released to recover and get back to their normal lives.


Thirty years later, the same 5 men returned. This time, the researchers took measurements to determine the effects of 30 years of aging on their bodies. As it turned out, 3 weeks of bed rest in their 20s was harder on their bodies than 30 years of aging, particularly their bodies’ ability to transport oxygen to their muscles and their physical work capacity.1


Getting up again from bed rest is tough, and there’s a good reason for that. The negative side effects after bed rest are temporary, but it’s important to understand why it’s so hard to get moving again. Don’t get frustrated. Take it slow, listen to your body (and your doctor), and you’ll recover just fine.


If you had multiples, there’s a good chance your activity level was decreased more than someone carrying one baby, and you may even have been placed on bed rest. Because your starting point is farther back than someone who had an uncomplicated single baby birth, we’ll need to do a little prep work with a special circuit designed to get your body accustomed to exercise again before starting a circuit program.


Print out the After Bed Rest Permission Packet for your doctor and put it in your overnight bag for the hospital, or if you’ve already had your babies, email the packet to your doctor or bring it to a checkup.

Even if you’re no longer on bed rest and you’ve had your baby, you’ll still need your physician’s approval to start exercising. Also, before getting started the first time, you must watch the prerequisite videos: Ground Rules and The Basics Series. Once you’ve watched those and you have your physician’s approval (you can print out and give your physician the After Bed Rest Permission Packet), you’re ready to go!

1. McGuire DK, Levine BD, Williamson JW, et al. A 30-Year Follow-Up of the Dallas Bed Rest and Training Study II. Effect of Age on Cardiovascular Adaptation to Exercise Training. Circulation. 2001;104(12):1358-1366.