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Messages - DFTLEE

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I had horrible back pain with my first pregnancy. Part of it was due to my daughter's position in my belly, but the other part was due to the fact that I was carrying her high and directly in front of me and not really in my hips at all. As a result, the erector muscles of my back were working overtime to compensate for the additional pull and weight of my belly. On recommendation of a friend, I got a really good maternity belt (I highly recommend getting fitted for it at a maternity shop if possible. perhaps after one of your OB visits!!). The belt pulled my daughter off of my sciatic nerve and provided additional support to my struggling back muscles.

The other thing that I recommend, if you haven't already, is to get a body pillow. I am currently recommending the Snoogle. It's a large pillow in the shape of a "C". With it you can comfortably support your neck, your belly and place some of the pillow between your knees and thus aid your low back and hips. You can order one from

Hope this helps!!

Darline Turner-Lee, Bedrest Coach
Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond

Making the Best of Bed Rest / Safe Exercises while On Bedrest
« on: November 13, 2011 at 11:03 PM »
Hello Ladies,
It's Darline Turner-Lee, @mamasonbedrest if you're on Twitter. I am so thankful to Angela and those of you who joined us on the chat last week, asking about guidance for exercises to do while on bed rest. Just wanted to let you know, If you are looking for guidance on how to stay toned and strong while safely using movement to preventing aches and pains while on bed rest, then Bedrest Fitness online is for you!

Bedrest Fitness online is a live version of my DVD Bedrest Fitness. For 4 weekly sessions, I will lead you through a series of stretching and toning exercises that are simple yet effective in stimulating your muscles without putting your pregnancy at risk. Full details including what you will need as far as computer connection and webcam are at Early bird registration ends Friday, November 18th. Hope to SEE you!! ;)

Darline Turner-Lee
Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond

Hey Ladies,
Just wanted to let you know that there are some very interesting things happening for mamas on bed rest.

I currently have a giveaway going on. The kind folks at have given me 6 copies of What to Expect When You're Expecting to share. So Share we will! Submit a comment on the following blog post sharing some of your expectations for your child, yourself and motherhood and be eligible to win.

Dr. Diane Sanford, Clinical Psychologist and the author of "Life Will Never Be the Same: The Real Mom's Guide To Post partum Depression" Stopped in for a podcast interview and shared info on her upcoming self care challenge. From November 14-18 there will be tips and encouragement for mamas to take care of themselves and ward off "The baby Blues". There will also be some fabulous prizes available for participants. Hear what Dr. Sanford had to say here, For more on the Self Care Challenge, visit

Finally, Dr. Judith Maloni, a researcher at Case Western Reserve University is working on a study funded by NIH looking at high risk pregnancy, bedrest and rates of post partum depression. The study is gearing up and we'll have more information soon. Participation is strictly voluntary, but a great opportunity to make your voices heard.

That's it. Hope all is well and do feel free to comment and take advantage of the various giveaways for mamas on bed rest!!

Darline Turner-lee, Bedrest Coach,
Owner and founder of Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond.

Hello Ladies,
Due to popular demand, Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond is happy to announce upcoming informational webinars on exercise while on bed rest. These 30 minute sessions will address the basics of exercising while on bed rest, what you’ll need and how to position yourself in bed to do the exercises. Participants will need internet access, a webcam and a very light resistance exercise band. The webinars are free and will be limited to 10 participants per session. Webinars will begin on March 11, 2011. For more information see our latest blog, To save your spot, send an e-mail to and put "Sign Me up for the Exercise Webinar" in the subject line.

Thanks all and I look forward to sharing with you!
Darline Turner-Lee, Bedrest Coach
Owner, Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond 

Making the Best of Bed Rest / Re: Bed or not?
« on: February 18, 2011 at 09:24 AM »
Hi All,
I know that exercise during bed rest is extremely controversial, but it can be done. As would be expected, exercise has to be modified to suit the needs of mamas on bed rest. Unfortunately, most hospital staff has no idea what to do for women on bed rest so they simply say to do nothing. Sometimes a physical therapist may recommend an exercise or two, but by and large, nothing is prescribed which is sad.

When exercising on bed rest, the key is to do passive and/or non-weight bearing movements. Arm exercises are generally good because they don't illicit much action from the abs. I recommend that my clients use the lightest exercise band that they can find do arm curls, light flies, etc... Legs can be a bit trickier, but again, when done passively/assisted, you can work the muscles without much of any pull on the abs.

I have examples of leg exercises that can be done on bed rest and it is included in what I call the Bedrest Success Kit. It's what people get when they sign up for my newsletter. It's totally free and gives you instructions on how to do exercises, especially lower body exercises, while on bed rest. Start with those and by all means, if you have other questions, feel free to contact me.

Thanks for including me in the discussion, Angela!!

Darline Turner-Lee, PA-C, ACSM Exercise Specialist and Perinatal Fitness Instructor
Owner, Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond

It's a really tough question. In theory, just because you went into preterm labor in your first pregnancy doesn't mean that you'll have preterm labor with the second or subsequent pregnancies unless you have a medical condition that predisposes you, something like a uterine or cervical abnormality. But it's not uncommon for a woman to experience preterm labor with all pregnancies.

That being said, I have to agree with the other reply. Your body knows best what it can and cannot do. I always recommend to my clients to start with gentle walking, no speed, no times, just strolling. You may be a person who can do short bursts of exercise, say 5-10 minutes, but more than that causes uterine irritation. Then you'll have to take 5-10 minute walking breaks throughout the day. Experiment with durations that work for you and adjust your exercise accordingly.

One thing that I find my clients don't do enough is drink water. I'm talking at least 16 (but preferably 24 or 32 oz) while exercising and immediately after. Dehydration is known to cause uterine irritability, so staying hydrated is essential if you are exercising.

You may want to consider getting a maternity support brace as well. Sometimes the additional weight on the pelvis doesn't sit well (pun intended!) and by giving your body extra support, you may find that you are able to walk more comfortably and for longer periods of time or more often.

If you still find that you cannot walk comfortably, try swimming. Many women love the feeling of weightlessness and swimming is great exercise that is very easy on the joints and doesn't tend to cause the lower abdominal issues that even walking can bring on. One thing that I really like about swimming is that you get upper and lower body involved. So many women ignore their upper bodies while pregnant forgetting that you'll be carrying your child either in a sling or carrier on your body, or (more uncomfortable for me) carrying them in a car seat. At the very least, you'll be hoisting them in and out of the car in the car seat and those things weigh a ton! Add a diaper bag, a bag of groceries and/or an older sibling and you are doing some serious strength training! Why not condition before the baby is born? A light resistance band will enable you to do a wide variety of upper body exercises while sitting in a chair or even in bed! They put no stress on your abdomen and yet keep your arms toned and supple.

I hope this gives you some options and Ideas. Good luck!
Darline Turner-Lee, Certified Perinatal Fitness Instructor, ACSM Clinical Exercise Specialist

Making the Best of Bed Rest / Flu Shot
« on: December 14, 2010 at 08:49 PM »
Hi Ladies,
I am trying to get a sense of whether or not the flu shot is a standard practice or not. please be so kind as to give response to my poll. Thanks.

Making the Best of Bed Rest / Re: Tips for hips?
« on: May 11, 2010 at 02:17 PM »
hello Ladies,
It's Darline, an exercise specialist and perinatal fitness instructor. Angela sent me the link to your posts. so sorry that you are all suffering so with hip and low back pain.

When I was pregnant with both my kiddos, I found that wrapping my body around a body pillow to sleep helped immensely. Part of the problem, is that the Q angle, the angle of the thigh bone at the hip insertion, becomes accentuated during pregnancy as the hips spread in preparation for childbirth. As a result, the muscles, ligaments and tendons are working overtime to "hold you all together." You may also note some knee pain as the tendons and ligaments helping to support the thigh bones are also strained at the knee insertion.

Things get a bit dicier when a woman is on bed rest because she does not have the ability to move freely about and stretch the ligaments and tendons and get movement into the joint space.

Here are 5 of exercises that you can do to try to get some movement back in your hips and alleviate some of the stiffness. I will try to describe them from the position of lying propped on your back and lying on your left side. Check with your OB/midwife before performing these exercises as some situations, i.e. cervical shortening, may be an issue and they may not want you performing certain movements.

Hip Abductors: If you are lying on your left side, bend your knees so that your hips and knees are at 90 degree angles. (You'll look like you're sitting in a chair, but on your side. You may keep the pillow between your knees if you wish). Your feet should be stacked right on top of the left. Gently press your heels together and open your knees until your right knee is pointing up towards the ceiling. Hold for 1-2 secs and then return to the starting position. Repeat 10X. If you don't have to remain on your left side and your OB/midwife consents, roll onto your right side, place a pillow behind your back so that you are slightly rolled backward (to relieve pressure on the inferior vena cava, the large blood vessel taking blood back to your heart from your legs) and repeat the exercise on your right side.

Hip Circles: Laying on your left side the same as for the hip abductors, raise your right knee towards the ceiling. If it's not too difficult, reach down and gently grab your right knee and gently rotate your knee (and hence your hips) in small circles. If you can't reach your knee, use an exercise band or towel to assist. If you have permission, roll onto the right side, (see positioning above) and circle the right knee and hip.

Leg ab(ad)duction: If you are able to lay on your back, prop yourself up on some pillows and rest comfortably with your legs stretched out in front of your. Flex your feet so your toes are pointing to the ceiling, but don't lock your knees. Legs should be resting comfortably on the bed. Slowly open your legs as wide as you can without straining whatsoever. (Your legs should gently glide over your mattress like you are making a snow angel) Repeat 10 times.

Leg Sweeps: If you aren't allowed to lay on your back, you may be able to do leg swings. Lay on your left side with a pillow between your knees. Gently extend your right leg. Very slowly and gently sweep your right leg in front of you, then sweep it back behind you as far as you can comfortably go without straining. Repeat 10X. If you are allowed to do so, repeat on the right side, positioning yourself with a pillow behind your back as previously stated.

Knee Flexion/Extensions: This exercise can be done laying on your side or propped up on your back. We'll address the side lying position first. On your left side, with or without the pillow between your legs (which ever is more comfortable), start with your legs bent as if you are sitting on a chair. Gently extend your legs until you are lying straight on your left side. Then slowly draw your knees back to the starting position. Repeat 10X and if you are able, repeat on the right side.

If you prefer to do them in a pseudo supine position, lay on your back, propped up on pillows, legs straight out in front of you. Slowly drag your feet towards your bottom as far as is comfortable. DON'T STRAIN TO BRING YOUR FEET ALL THE WAY TO YOUR BOTTOM! (This can be done assisted with an exercise band or with a bath towel.) Release to starting position. Repeat 10 X.

Full Body Stretch: It is so easy to get stiff while on bed rest. You should stretch at least once an hour. Here is a stretch you can easily do while on your left side. Lay on your left side comfortably with a pillow between your knees and your knees bent so that your hips and knees are at about 90 degrees. (may not be a full 90 degrees depending on how big your belly is!) If you can, gently reach down and grab your knees. Give them a very gentle pull towards your belly and hold for 5 seconds. Then let go of your knees and extend your arms over your head and your legs in the opposite direction. When you are fully extended, hold for 5 seconds. Return to the starting position and repeat as needed.

These 6 exercises should help alleviate some of the pain and stiffness. You may not be able to do 10 at first shot, but do one or two and work up to the ten. Do the exercises couple of times a day. Good Luck.

Darline Turner-Lee, Physician Assistant, Exercise Specialist and perinatal fitness instructor
Owner of Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond and Bedrest Fitness

hello Ladies,
I want to thank you all for responding to my query. I am a pseudo bedrest vet in that when I was supposed to go on bed rest, my daughter ended up coming early and the situation was moot. Thankfully she is a happy 7 yo now. But my experience with her and having my son 3 1/2 years later made me realize how woefully inadequate support for ladies on bed rest is, especially when the bed rest is out of the hospital. That is why I started Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond last year and have been working diligently to find ways to support mamas on bed rest-especially those who are on bed rest at home and who may be feeling isolated or needing help. So again, thanks for your input.

If you get a chance, please take a look at my website, and let me know what is missing. I have tried to provide information and resources on a wide variety of topics and am in the process of uploading some craft kits and courses that Mamas can do to pass the time. Once my web person gets the plug in to work, I'll let you know so you can peruse the offerings.

Thanks so much. Again, I am here to serve you, so if there is something that I can do for you, please let me know.

Mama in charge!

This is exciting news! Actually, I have a couple of friends that had unexplained stillbirths and one they found was due to a viral infection. I wonder....I saw a brief news brief about this. Thanks for posting the entire article and citation. I am bookmarking it to follow the progress on the research.


Making the Best of Bed Rest / Keeping the Home Fires Burning
« on: February 01, 2010 at 07:11 PM »
Hi All,
I have one other question that I am working on for the ladies that I serve. How are you maintaining intimacy with your partner during this very difficult time? I realize that for many of you, intercourse is out of the question, but how are you two maintaining your closeness? Without being too graphic or intrusive of you and your partner's privacy, I would greatly appreciate your input so that I can compile resources for the women that I serve as well as for my blog readers. Thanks.

Darline Turner-lee, Owner
Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond

Making the Best of Bed Rest / What are you doing to survive bed rest?
« on: February 01, 2010 at 07:08 PM »
hello All,
First, My humblest thanks to Angela for allowing me to interact with you all on her website. This is an invaluable resource. My name is Darline Turner-Lee and I own a company called Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond (formerly Bedrest Comfort & Care. Thanks Angela for the listing!) I provide home care services for women on prescribed bed rest in Austin, Texas such as light housekeeping, laundry, errands, transport to OB appointments, Grocery Shopping and best of all Massage services.

While these services are great, the ladies are constantly asking, "What am I going to do for the next ____ weeks???" How have you all passed the time? Are there particular activities (other than forums) that you do during the day? Are you taking classes? Working? Watching movies? Reading? How are you surviving?

Thanks so much for taking the time to read this post. Please reply when you have a moment.

Darline Turner-lee, owner
Mamas on Bedrest & Beyond

What's Your Story? Tell us. / Re: my happy ending!!!!!!!
« on: November 30, 2009 at 02:46 PM »
 :)Congratulations!! Having had 2 miscarriages myself, one before each of my children, I can relate to how you must have felt. I am pleased to report that they are now 7 and 3.5 years old and very healthy-so much so that they are quite competitive and I've had to break up more than one altercation. It's so welcome, though.

Your are in for the time of your life! I'm so pleased for you!!

Making the Best of Bed Rest / Re: Surviving bed rest
« on: June 15, 2009 at 12:54 PM »
Dear Lulu1026,
so sorry that you have had such a miserable time. It's amazing how one pregnancy can be so great and then the next one....In any event, do your best to keep busy. That may sound like an oxymoron while on bed rest, but it is possible. Do you like to read? Watch movies? This is certainly the time to catch up! If you have wanted to take any sort of course or learn a new language, this is also a great time for such things.

Even with all of your medical complications, you still want to keep your muscles active. Because of your high blood pressure and now being on strict bed rest, you are at risk for developing a leg clot. Several times a day, stretch out your legs and point and flex your toes. This will stimulate your calf muscles and also send the blood back up to the heart, lowering the risk of developing a blood clot. Also, while you can't do a lot ofexercises, do keep your arms active by doing some stretches and pulls using an exercise band. Ask your doctor if it is okay for your to do some light stretching of your arms and if so, I'll be more than happy to recommend some gentle exercises.

Darline Turner-Lee, Physician Assistant, Clinical Exercise Specialist, perinatal fitness instructor.

What's Your Story? Tell us. / Re: Opinion on Moderate Bed Rest
« on: May 02, 2009 at 11:20 AM »
While family and friends often mean well, this is definitely a case where they are way off base! Scaring you into immobility is not helpful. Fear itself has physiologic responses that can be unhealthy.

If you and your doctor determine that it is okay for you to have brief outings, then that's it. If you feel tired or if you feel some slight pressure on your lower abdomen, then perhaps that day you don't go out. But if you are feeling well and limit your outings as you plan to do, I say go for it-especially if you have your OB's okay.

It's really hard to talk to family but you may want to sit them down and explain to them exactly what your OB told you. Even then, they many be against you moving about. But in the end it is your decision. Do your best to make an informed decision and try to keep the fear out of it.

Congratulations on the bit of freedom and good luck! ;)

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