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 also can ease muscle tension and help prevent fluid buildup in your legs and feet. Try these other strategies, too:
- Sitting. Using an adjustable chair with 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, use a small pillow or cushion to provide extra support for your back. Elevate your legs to decrease swelling.
- Standing. 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 or compression hose, too.
- Bending and lifting. Even when you're lifting something light, proper form can spare your back. 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. 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
- Prolonged standing
- Heavy lifting, climbing or carrying
- Excessive noise
- Heavy vibrations, such as from large machines
- Extreme temperatures
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.
April 15, 2017
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.