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MAKING IT WORK : Help From the Sidelines

January 22, 1992|SHERRY ANGEL

Friends and relatives of women facing high-risk pregnancies can do a lot to help, but what those on bed rest need most are cheerleaders, according to Candace Hurley, executive director of the Sidelines National Support Network.

"Praise the woman for her tenacity and courage. Emphasize how proud you are of her for hanging in there, how important and vital her role is in ensuring the baby's health," advises Hurley, who was on bed rest during both of her pregnancies and now has two healthy boys.

Hurley, who has written a guide called "That's What Friends Are for," says there are countless small ways of making long stretches of prescribed bed rest easier for mothers-to-be. Among them:

* Bring videos, books on tape and games when you visit, and do a load of laundry while you talk. (But don't stay too long; even conversation can bring on too much uterine activity.)

* Baby-sit her children at your home for a few hours so she and her husband can spend some time alone.

* Offer to help wash her hair, give her a massage or manicure or shave her legs.

* Make arrangements with other friends to take turns doing the grocery shopping, and offer to shop for birthdays and holidays.

* Take pictures of her children.

* Offer to clean her house every other week.

* Bring over meals prepared in your kitchen.

* Drive her to the doctor.

* Give her husband a chance to take a break. And don't forget to include him in your praise. With all the responsibility and worry that has fallen on his shoulders, he also needs cheerleaders.

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