What is Pelvic Rest?


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Nearly all surrogates will be ordered on “pelvic rest” for at least part of their journey. In simplest terms, pelvic rest means that you are to abstain from sexual intercourse, orgasms (even those achieved by external methods), and insertion of anything into the vagina with the exception of medications.

Do note that pelvic rest is not the same as bed rest. You may be placed on rest following the embryo transfer, usually for a twenty four hour period. You could also be placed on bed rest or pelvic rest later in the pregnancy, to ensure that you reach the thirty five week gestation mark before delivery. This type of rest means to simply relax and rest. While using the restroom and sitting upright to eat are OK, lifting more than ten pounds or exercising are generally to be avoided. Your physician will discuss any restrictions with you.

Pelvic rest will usually begin the day of your embryo transfer and will not end until your doctor clears you for normal sexual activity. This means that, just as every pregnancy is different, there will be a great varying of release times from pelvic rest.

All surrogates are asked to maintain pelvic rest for at least four weeks. While some surrogates may be released as soon as heartbeat confirmation, others may be asked to continue pelvic rest longer, sometimes through the course of the entire first trimester.

This variation can be caused by a variety of reasons including light bleeding, concerns over implantation, varying medical protocols, and conduct preferences of the intended parents. Because of these varying reasons, it is important that you do not follow guidelines given to any other surrogate or even given to you in another pregnancy or surrogacy. This pregnancy is unique to you, and the medical protocol will be adjusted uniquely to your current situation.

If you have any questions about being released from pelvic rest or what allowances you may have, be sure to ask your individual nurse or care provider. They will have the best, most up to date information to your medical notes and will be able to provide you with the most personalized answer that ensures the best probability of success for your journey.

Dr. Kim Bergman

Kim Bergman, PhD, a licensed psychologist of 26 years, has specialized in the area of gay and lesbian parenting, parenting by choice and third party assisted reproduction for over two decades. Dr. Bergman has created a comprehensive psychological screening, support and monitoring process for Intended Parents, Surrogates and Donors. She is the co-owner of Fertility Counseling Services and Growing Generations and is a member of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, the American Psychological Association, the Los Angeles County Psychological Association, the Lesbian and Gay Psychotherapy Association, and the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. She is on the national Emeritus board of the Family Equality Council. Dr. Bergman writes, teaches and speaks extensively on parenting by choice. Along with co-authors, she published “Gay Men Who Become Fathers via Surrogacy: The Transition to Parenthood” (Journal of GLBT Family Studies, April 2010). Dr. Bergman’s is the author of the upcoming book, Your Future Family: The Essential Guide to Assisted Reproduction (Conari Press 2019). Dr. Bergman created her own family using third party assisted reproduction and she lives with her wife of 35 years. Her two daughters are in college.