Pregnancy and Work
If you're pregnant, you're already a working mom! Working carefully when you’re pregnant can sometimes require a little planning. If you are an office goer, you need to be extra careful while commuting as well as working because that directly impacts your child. Though it is advised that women stay active during their pregnancy, consult your doctor if you have to consider additional measures. Some women are told to rest because of pregnancy complications. Thus, it is better to consult a doctor and continue working, if he/she allows. In this section you will find everything you need to know about safeguarding your job while pregnant, right moment to tell your boss about your pregnancy, benefits of maternity leave, maternity leave rights, how to manage pregnancy at work, and also when and how to decide if and when you want to go back after you have delivered.
Is working in pregnancy safe?
There are different opinions of different people. While some believe that working and staying active in pregnancy is best, some think otherwise. This is certainly a personal choice but when it comes to safety, you must consider certain points in mind. According to Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), working during pregnancy is safe if you obey the safety measures. There are certain factors on which safety depends, these are:
- Health condition
- Job type
- Pregnancy complications(if any)
- Work stress
While these are some factors, there are certain risk factors that need to be avoided:
- Long time standing and seating
- Lifting or carrying heavy loads
- Exposure to pollution
- Exposure to radiations and chemicals
- Extreme cold or extreme hot environments
- Loud noise
- Long work hours
As per a study, long hours of working is associated with miscarriage. Women who worked excessively during their pregnancies were found to be at greater risk of preterm labor and miscarriage. Thus, it is better to work for normal hours and stay at home for most time for your good care.
Types of jobs during pregnancy
How you work in your office is important and your job type too holds utmost importance. Is it a desk job or standing job or job that requires more physical labour? The answer to this question would tell if you should continue work during pregnancy or not.
Most desk jobs that require you to sit at one place are safe during pregnancy. But due to fluid buildup during pregnancy, some women may develop carpal tunnel syndrome. This can make typing work difficult. A woman’s body go through various changes and so, things change with time. As your body and posture change, neck and shoulder strain can also become an issue if you sit all day. If you're pregnant and have a sitting or desk job, get respite with these tips:
Take frequent breaks in between work. Try to move every hour so that the blood circulation is improved with reduced risk of swelling(which is highly common during pregnancy)
Use a pillow to provide support to you lower back
Keep your spine erect and maintain proper posture while sitting
Do not hold the phone for longer but use a phone headset to relieve neck and shoulder strain.
Don't let too much weight put on your feet.
A long standing job can make you more anxious during pregnancy. This can cause pain in the entire body including back and legs. Standing for long periods of time can also reduce blood circulation to the fetus and hamper the growth and development of the baby. Here are some tips for pregnant women with standing jobs:
Do not stand continuously for long hours, sit for some time in between
Wear comfortable shoes or slippers that provide a strong hold to your feet
Avoid wearing high heels
Try to do stretches during breaks
How to Manage Pregnancy Symptoms At Work?
Nausea, vomiting, mood swings, fainting, etc. are some of the common pregnancy symptoms that most women deal with especially during the first two trimesters. While you are working, you won’t be wanting all this. Thus, to manage these symptoms, you need to learn management skills. Scroll down as we share some important tips to maintain safety and health at work.
How to deal with nausea?
Here are some tips to tackle nausea:
Always keep one dry and one wet wash cloth with you in the office. Whenever you feel nauseous, wipe your face with a wet wash cloth.
Carry mouthwash, toothbrush and toothpaste with you. You can use them to feel fresh
Always keep a pair of spare clothes with you either in your bag or in your office cabinet. In case you throw up, you have clean clothes to change.
Always keep ginger and lemon with you and eat them when you feel nauseaous.
If you get triggered by some smell, eat a sour candy. Keep a pack always with you to reduce nausea feeling.
Pregnant women should take special care of themselves and their unborn babies during pregnancy. In such a situation, it is important that first of all you take care of your diet. For this you need to feed yourself and the baby regularly, no matter whether you are in office or at home. To keep the diet right, keep these things in mind in the office-
Carry homemade snacks with you to the office so that whenever you feel hungry, you can munch on them.
Have your office drawer filled with different kinds of snacks including sweet, sour and tangy. You never know what you feel like eating, so be prepared.
Have healthy snack such as fresh fruits and dry fruits as well.
Eat home-cooked food and have yogurt or curd, nuts, butter and bananas etc. in lunch.
Always carry a hot and cold water with you.
Keep drinking lemon water or sugar-salt solution to prevent dehydration.
Keep a thermos of soup or fruit smoothie with you.
During pregnancy, there are constant changes in the body. So it is important that you wear comfortable clothes.
Wear loose clothes to give comfort to your waist.
Wear low-heeled shoes with comfortable clothes. Avoid wearing heels as much as you can.
Try to wear flat slippers.
Keep revising your activities. Take special care of physically vigorous activities such as heavy lifting and walking.
Spend less time on your feet and avoid traveling in the third trimester.
Rest your feet to reduce swelling. Keep taking breaks in between.
Take special care while using public washroom. Keep a toilet seat disinfectant with you always as UTI is very common in pregnant women.
During pregnancy, women go through an emotional imbalance. In such a situation, it is important that you reduce your stress and control it. Stress can cause more problems for you as well as the baby. Here are some fruitful tips for you:
Do not take stress during work and do not allow work to take over your physical or mental health.
If you feel very sick, take a leave.
Take a nap in the afternoon to freshen yourself up.
Do Pranayama in between work.
Accept help. If coworkers are helping you when you're not feeling well, seek their help.
Take a breath. Listen to music, close your eyes and meditate.
Go outside in between work to soak some fresh air.
Get your regular health checkups done without a fail
Inform your office about your pregnancy and plan your work and take leave as per your convenience.