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Obstet Gynecol. 2013 Jun;121(6):1305-8. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0b013e318293f12f.

"Therapeutic" bed rest in pregnancy: unethical and unsupported by data.

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Departments of Obstetrics and Gynecology, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7570, USA.


"Therapeutic" bed rest continues to be used widely, despite evidence of no benefit and known harms. In this commentary, we summarize the Cochrane reviews of bed rest and propose an ethical argument for discontinuing this practice. Cochrane systematic reviews do not support "therapeutic" bed rest for threatened abortion, hypertension, preeclampsia, preterm birth, multiple gestations, or impaired fetal growth. This assessment has been echoed in other comprehensive reviews. Prescribing bed rest is inconsistent with the ethical principles of autonomy, beneficence, and justice. Hence, if bed rest is to be used, it should be only within a formal clinical trial.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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