Most women who work will continue to do so during pregnancy—some will work up to the day of their baby’s birth. But sometimes working during pregnancy can have some challenges. Here are some tips that can help you stay safe and comfortable at work throughout your pregnancy.
Common pregnancy discomforts
- Nausea: Unfortunately morning sickness can happen at any time during the day. To help manage your nausea, try to avoid foods and smells that bother you and snack on crackers or other bland foods. And make sure you are drinking lots of fluids!
- Fatigue: Being pregnant can be exhausting—especially during the first trimester. During your work day, try to get up and walk for a few minutes or even take a power nap in your car during your lunch break. Get to bed early, exercise, and eat healthy foods.
- Dangerous substances: If you work with metals (such as mercury or lead) chemicals, or radiation, talk to your health care provider. Describe your work environment and any safety equipment you or your company uses. Your provider can then tell you if it’s safe for you to keep working during pregnancy.
- Heat: Working in places that are very hot can raise your body temperature. If your body temperature is too high, it could be dangerous to the baby. Make sure you talk to your provider.
- Heavy duty jobs: If your job includes heavy lifting or climbing, it might not be safe during pregnancy. Nausea, fatigue and dizziness can make it hard to do these jobs safely. And your added weight can throw off your sense of balance and make you more likely to fall. You may need to talk to your employer about taking on other job responsibilities during your pregnancy.
- Infections: If you work with children or in a health care setting, you may be at risk for infections. Wash your hands regularly. If you think you were exposed to an illness, talk to your provider right away.
Computers and desks
If you work on a computer or sit at a desk for most of the day, comfort is key. To avoid wrist and hand discomforts, neck and shoulder pains, backaches and eye strains, follow these tips:
- Take short breaks often and walk around your office or building.
- Adjust your chair, keyboard and other office equipment to be more comfortable.
- Use a small pillow or cushion for lower back support.
- Keep your feet elevated by using a footrest.
- Be sure to use the correct hand and arm positions for typing.
- Use a non-reflective glass screen cover on your computer monitor.
- Adjust the computer monitor for brightness and contrast to a setting that is comfortable for your eyes.
It’s important that the work environment around you is safe for you and baby. If you have concerns, speak with your health care provider and your supervisor at work.
You can learn more ways to stay safe at work on our website
Have questions? Email us at AskUs@marchofdimes.org.