Working during pregnancy: Do's and don'ts
Working during pregnancy isn't always easy. Know how to battle symptoms and stay healthy while getting the job done.
By Mayo Clinic Staff
Most women can continue working during pregnancy. Being pregnant, however, might present challenges at the workplace. To stay healthy and productive on the job, understand how to alleviate common pregnancy discomforts — and know when a work task might jeopardize your pregnancy.
Easing nausea and vomiting
It's called "morning" sickness, but pregnancy queasiness can hit at any time. To ease nausea at work:
- Avoid nausea triggers. That double latte you craved every morning before pregnancy or the smell of foods reheated in the break room microwave might now make your stomach flip-flop. Steer clear of anything that triggers nausea.
- Snack often. Crackers and other bland foods can be lifesavers when you feel nauseated. Keep a stash at work for easy snacking. Ginger ale or ginger tea might help, too.
You might feel tired as your body works overtime to support your pregnancy — and resting during the workday can be tough. It might help to:
April 15, 2017
- Eat foods rich in iron and protein. Fatigue can be a symptom of iron deficiency anemia, but adjusting your diet can help. Choose foods such as red meat, poultry, seafood, leafy green vegetables, iron-fortified whole-grain cereal and beans.
- Take short, frequent breaks. Getting up and moving around for a few minutes can reinvigorate you. Spending a few minutes with the lights off, your eyes closed and your feet up also can help you recharge.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Keep a water bottle at your desk or in your work area and sip throughout the day.
- Cut back on activities. Scaling back can help you get more rest when your workday ends. Consider doing your shopping online or hiring someone to clean the house or take care of the yard.
- Keep up your fitness routine. Although exercise might be the last thing on your mind at the end of a long day, physical activity can help boost your energy level — especially if you sit at a desk all day. Take a walk after work or join a prenatal fitness class, as long as your health care provider says it's OK.
- Go to bed early. Aim for at least eight hours of sleep every night. Resting on your left side will maximize blood flow to your baby and ease swelling. For added comfort, place pillows between your legs and under your belly.
See more In-depth
- Body changes and discomforts. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/youre-pregnant-now-what/body-changes-and-discomforts. Accessed Feb. 12, 2017.
- Morning sickness: Nausea and vomiting of pregnancy. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/~/media/For%20Patients/faq126.pdf?dmc=1&ts=20131211T1453193683. Accessed Feb. 12, 2017.
- Frequently asked questions. Pregnancy FAQ115. Back pain during pregnancy. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Back-Pain-During-Pregnancy. Accessed March 9, 2016.
- Fowler JR, et al. Working during pregnancy. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Feb. 12, 2017.
- Hoffman R, et al. Hematologic changes in pregnancy. In: Hematology: Basic Principles and Practice. 6th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2013. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Feb. 12, 2017.
- American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. Month 4. In: Your Pregnancy and Childbirth Month to Month. 6th ed. Washington, D.C.: American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; 2015.
- Grajewski B, et al. Will my work affect my pregnancy? Resources for anticipating and answering patients' questions. American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2016;214:597.
- Reproductive health and the workplace. National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/topics/repro/noise.html. Accessed Feb. 12, 2017.
- Butler Tobah YS (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Feb. 24, 2017.