Working during pregnancy: Do's and don'tsWorking 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 work tasks might jeopardize your pregnancy.
Easing nausea and vomiting
It might be 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.
- Drink plenty of fluids. If you don't drink enough fluids, your nausea might get worse. Keep a water bottle at your desk or in your work area and sip throughout the day.
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:
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- 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.
- 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 seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Resting on your side will improve blood flow to your baby and help prevent swelling. For added comfort, place pillows between your legs and under your belly.
See more In-depth
- Healthy pregnancy: Dos and don'ts. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. http://www.womenshealth.gov/pregnancy/mom-to-be-tools/pregnancy-dos-donts.pdf. Accessed March 30, 2011.
- You and your baby: Prenatal care, labor and delivery, and postpartum care. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/ab005.cfm. Accessed March 30, 2011.
- Morning sickness. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp126.cfm. Accessed March 30, 2011.
- Easing back pain during pregnancy. The American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. http://www.acog.org/publications/patient_education/bp115.cfm. Accessed March 30, 2011.
- Routine prenatal care. Bloomington, Minn.: Institute for Clinical Systems Improvement. http://www.icsi.org/prenatal_care_4/prenatal_care__routine__full_version__2.html. Accessed March 30, 2011.
- Croteau A, et al. Work activity in pregnancy, preventive measures, and the risk of preterm delivery. American Journal of Epidemiology. 2007;166:951.
- Fowler JR, et al. Work and pregnancy. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed March 30, 2011.
- How to lift and carry safely. National Safety Council. http://www.nsc.org/news_resources/Resources/Documents/How_to_Lift_and_Carry_Safely.pdf. Accessed March 30, 2011.
- Dietary supplement fact sheet: Iron. National Institutes of Health. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/iron/. Accessed April 1, 2011.
- Kinser P, et al. Prenatal yoga: Guidance for providers and patients. Advance for Nurse Practitioners. 2008;16:59.