Work and pregnancy… Does it work??

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1- Working throughout pregnancy

If you're a healthy woman having a normal pregnancy and you work in a safe environment, you may be able to continue working until the day you deliver, or close to it. Toward the end of your pregnancy, though, you may tire more easily, so take it as easy as possible. And don't be a martyr; if you can afford to start your maternity leave a week or two before your due date, consider using that time to rest up, prepare, and indulge yourself a little bit, since it may be the last time you have for yourself in a while.

2- Working around toxic substances

You’ll definitely need a job reassignment, preferably even before you conceive, if you work in a field where you come into contact with known reproductive hazards such as heavy metals like lead and mercury, chemicals such as organic solvents, certain biologic agents, and radiation. These are teratogens agents that can cause problems like miscarriage, preterm delivery, structural birth defects, and abnormal fetal and infant development when a woman is exposed to them during or even prior to pregnancy.

3- Pregnancy complications that might cause you to stop working:

  • If you're at risk for preterm labor. This includes if you are expecting twins or more multiples.
  • If you have high blood pressure or are at risk for preeclampsia.
  • If you have a cervical insufficiency or a history of late miscarriage.
  • If your baby isn't growing properly.

4- Tips to help you feel comfortable at work

Even if your job requires minimal standing and nothing more strenuous than lifting a telephone, make an effort to take good care of yourself while pregnant. Here are some tips: 

  • Take breaks. If you've been standing, put your feet up or walk around. If you've been sitting, stand and walk around every two hours. This will help decrease swelling in your feet and ankles, and it should keep you more comfortable. While you're up, do a few stretching exercises to protect your back.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and loose clothing. You might try maternity tights or support hose, too, to prevent or ease swelling and varicose veins.
  • Drink a lot of water. Keep a tall glass at your station and refill it often. This will also give you a chance to take a break. And don't hold it in. Go to the bathroom as often as you need to.
  • Take time to eat regular meals and have nutritious snacks. Regular snacking helps prevent drops in blood sugar and morning sickness. Choose lunches that are balanced and nutritious whenever you can. Add fiber to your diet to ease constipation.
  • Reduce stress. If you can't eliminate a stress factor in your workplace, try to find ways to manage it, such as stretching, performing deep-breathing exercises or yoga, or simply taking a short walk.
  • Rest when you can. If you find yourself feeling fatigued, take an occasional sick day to rest. Or use an hour or two of vacation time here and there to shorten your workdays. If you're so tired that you just can't focus at work, find a private spot or go out to your car and steal 15 minutes out of your lunch break for a quick catnap.
  • Turn down overtime, especially in jobs requiring physical activity.
  • Accept help from your co-workers.