Will I Have to Go on Bed Rest During My Twin Pregnancy?

Answers to Questions About Twin Pregnancy

Pregnant woman asleep in bed
Twin Pregnancy Bed Rest. Andrea Gomez / The Image Bank / Getty Images

Get the answers to frequently asked questions about pregnancy with twins and multiples. Have a question that isn't answered here? Ask a Question on Facebook.

Bed rest during a multiple pregnancy is sometimes used as a way to prevent complications, but it is not a requirement for all twin pregnancies. If everything progresses normally during your twin pregnancy, you may not require bed rest. However, if you do experience complications or certain other conditions, your doctor may recommend bed rest. 

Historically, bed rest was prescribed to minimize the potential risks associated with carrying multiples, but more recent research suggests that there is no conclusive medical evidence to support the need for this type of preventive bed rest. Because the likelihood of being put on bed rest during a twin pregnancy is greater than with a singleton pregnancy, however, being prepared for what bed rest may mean for you is important.

When Is Bed Rest Recommended?

Bed rest sometimes can benefit both mom and her babies, prolonging a pregnancy in danger of preterm labor or providing restoration to a woman whose body is under stress. Carrying twins means that your body is under more stress than a singleton pregnancy and rest can provide a certain level of relief.

If you experience hypertension, preeclampsia, incompetent cervix, or edema during pregnancy, your doctor may recommend bed rest in order to prevent these conditions from worsening. Other benefits include increased blood flow to the placenta(s), reduced blood pressure, and potentially higher birth weights for the babies.

What Are the Risks of Bed Rest?

Despite the known benefits for pregnant people who require it, bed rest also has its drawbacks. An increased risk of blood clots (thrombosis) and bone and muscle loss are two of the main concerns doctors consider when deciding whether or not a person should be put on bed rest during a twin pregnancy.

Being on bed rest can be very stressful during pregnancy, especially when it means that you can not fulfill work and family commitments. The isolation, anxiety, and mental anguish can take a toll, causing depression, anger, and feelings of imprisonment.

What Is Bed Rest Like?

There are various types of bed rest, from suggested daily naps to full confinement in a hospital. Your individual circumstances will dictate which level of bed rest is advised, but here is an overview of what you might be able to expect with different types of bed rest:

  • Modified bed rest: You may be allowed to sit in a chair for periods of time, but several hours of rest in bed are required throughout the day.
  • Strict bed rest: You're confined to bed or couch at home and allowed to get up only occasionally, such as to use the restroom.
  • Hospital bed rest: You're admitted to a hospital and may need to use a bedpan or be placed in a specific position in bed.

Bed rest is an important topic to discuss with your medical provider, preferably before it is prescribed. Ask questions and find out what your provider's philosophy is about bed rest in a twin pregnancy.

If bed rest is recommended during your pregnancy, be sure you fully understand the purpose that it's intended to accomplish, and have a support system in place to help you. Be clear about the extent of the limitations, and be prepared to follow through on your provider's instructions.

A Word From Verywell

Although it is less commonly prescribed than in the past, it is possible that bed rest could be a part of your twin pregnancy experience. The good news though is that many people who carry multiples will acknowledge that—despite the stress and strain—being on bed rest is worth the sacrifice when the end result is a successful delivery and healthy babies. 

4 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. da Silva Lopes K, Takemoto Y, Ota E, Tanigaki S, Mori R. Bed rest with and without hospitalisation in multiple pregnancy for improving perinatal outcomes. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2017;3(3):CD012031. doi:10.1002/14651858.CD012031.pub2

  2. McCall CA, Grimes DA, Lyerly AD. “Therapeutic” bed rest in pregnancy: unethical and unsupported by data. Obstet Gynecol. 2013;121(6):1305-1308. doi:10.1097/AOG.0b013e318293f12f

  3. Matenchuk B, Khurana R, Cai C, Boulé NG, Slater L, Davenport MH. Prenatal bed rest in developed and developing regions: a systematic review and meta-analysis. CMAJ Open. 2019;7(3):E435–E445. doi:10.9778/cmajo.20190014

  4. Maloni JA. Lack of evidence for prescription of antepartum bed restExpert Rev Obstet Gynecol. 2011;6(4):385-393. doi:10.1586/eog.11.28

By Pamela Prindle Fierro
 Pamela Prindle Fierro is the author of several parenting books and the mother of twin girls.