As your pregnancy progresses, everyday activities such as sitting and standing can become uncomfortable. Remember those short, frequent breaks to combat fatigue? Moving around every few hours can also ease muscle tension and help prevent fluid buildup in your legs and feet. Try these other strategies, too:
- Sitting. Adjustable armrests, a firm seat and back cushions, and good lower back support can make long hours of sitting much easier — especially as your weight and posture change. If your chair isn't adjustable, improvise. Use a small pillow or cushion to provide extra support for your back.
- Standing. Prolonged standing can cause blood to pool in your legs, which might lead to pain or dizziness. It also puts pressure on your back. If you must stand for long periods of time, put one of your feet up on a footrest, low stool or box. Switch feet every so often, and take frequent breaks. Wear comfortable shoes with good arch support. Consider wearing support hose, too.
- Bending and lifting. Proper form can spare your back, even if you're lifting something light. Bend at your knees, not your waist. Keep the load close to your body, lifting with your legs — not your back. Avoid twisting your body while lifting.
Keeping stress under control
Stress on the job can sap the energy you need to care for yourself and your baby. To minimize workplace stress:
- Take control. Make daily to-do lists and prioritize your tasks. Consider what you can delegate to someone else — or eliminate.
- Talk it out. Share frustrations with a supportive co-worker, friend or loved one.
- Relax. Practice relaxation techniques, such as breathing slowly or imagining yourself in a calm place. Or try a prenatal yoga class, as long as your health care provider says it's OK.
Taking proper job precautions
Certain working conditions might increase your risk of complications during pregnancy — especially if you're at high risk of preterm labor — including:
- Exposure to harmful substances
- Excessive working hours
- Prolonged standing
- Heavy lifting
- Excessive noise
- Heavy vibrations, such as from large machines
- High stress
- Cold work environment
In addition, activities that require agility and good balance might become more difficult later in pregnancy.
If you're concerned about any of these issues, mention it to your health care provider. Together you can decide if you need to take special precautions or modify your work duties during your pregnancy.
Jul. 02, 2011
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.