The do’s and don’ts of working while pregnant

January 13, 2014 12:38 PM by

It’d be nice if women could get all nine months of their pregnancies off of work, but unless you’re already a stay-at-home mom or you have the nicest boss in the world, you’re going to have to put in some hours during pregnancy. Depending on the industry and position you’re in, your pregnancy may or may not have a big impact on your daily tasks. Regardless of how big the changes you’ll have to make are, there are still plenty of things you should and shouldn’t do when you’re working while pregnant. Here’s a list of some of the most important do’s and don’ts to keep in mind as you navigate your 9-5 life.

Do’s

  • Get plenty of sleep: Your body is going through a lot of changes during all three trimesters, and to make sure you’re able to handle them, you need lots of rest. You should be getting between seven and nine hours of sleep every night, so adjust your bedtime accordingly. It’ll also help make getting ready for work in the morning easier.
  • Maintain your workout schedule: It may be tempting to forgo the gym or your nightly run while you’re pregnant, but it’s important to keep up your workout routine. Figure out whether it’s easier for you to get activity in before work, during your lunch break or after work, then set aside the time. If you need to, enlist a friend to hold you accountable – especially if you’re looking for support for single mothers.
  • Take breaks: Breaks are an important part of the day even when you’re not pregnant, which means they’re all the more essential when you’re expecting. Sitting at a desk for long periods of time can contribute to swelling, pain and fatigue, which you may already be feeling. Make it a point to get up and walk around a bit every hour or so, whether it’s a trip to the bathroom, the fridge or the water cooler.
  • Plan drinks and snacks: For a healthy pregnancy, you need to make smart choices when it comes to food and drink. First, make sure you’re drinking plenty of water to keep hydrated throughout the day. This can also help ease nausea associated with morning sickness. Next, bring plenty of good-for-you snacks to munch on to ease your hunger and cravings – you don’t want to be stuck buying fast food or junk from the vending machine. Crackers and other bland foods are good if you’ve been feeling nauseous. Otherwise, eat foods rich in iron and protein to boost your energy levels.

Don’ts

  • Avoid bending and lifting: Depending on your job, you might not have to do much physical labor, but if you run into these types of tasks on a somewhat regular basis, it’s time to delegate them to someone else. In the first two trimesters, you should be OK to lift things that aren’t very heavy as long as you use proper form: keep your back straight and bend at the knees, not at the waist. Don’t twist your body while you’re lifting. For heavier items and anything you come across in your third trimester, ask someone else to handle it for you.
  • Stay away from construction: For the health of your unborn baby, steer clear of construction sites and areas that are being painted or cleaned. Paint and chemical fumes can be hazardous, and some construction sites may expose you to lead or even asbestos. Be on the safe side and go elsewhere.
  • Don’t stress: There’s a lot to worry about when you’re getting ready for baby, but try not to stress out too much about work-related topics. Practice daily relaxation techniques like taking a bath, doing prenatal yoga or meditating, and don’t hesitate to pass up extra projects or work that you’re not feeling up to.
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