Should you work while you are pregnant? About 78% of pregnant women continue work through the end of pregnancy. Consult your doctor about working during pregnancy. She will take into consideration your general health, how well the pregnancy is going, and any problems you’ve had with former pregnancies. She will also evaluate your work: how many hours you work, and whether your job could harm you or your baby. Some jobs are risky during pregnancy, such as: heavy lifting, climbing, standing for a long time, and tasks that require balance. If you have had a difficult pregnancy in the past, heavy physical work is not recommended. If your job has no health risks, you can usually work until labor starts. Some women may have to limit or quit work during pregnancy because of health risks or especially demanding jobs.
Ten Timely Tips for Pregnant Working Women
1. Eat three to five healthful meals a day, as well as nutritious snacks, like cut up raw vegetables, fruit, yogurt, cheese, whole grain cereal without sugar, eggs, and so forth. Get four servings of calcium spread out over each day. Your doctor may prescribe special vitamins for you which should include folate and Omega 3. Folate and Omega 3 can help keep your mental health stable as well as your physical health. They are also necessary for proper development of your baby.
2. Keep healthful snacks available at work, such as: popcorn, peanut butter and crackers, cheese, hardboiled eggs, and fruit. Hunger or low blood sugar can cause nausea, but peppermint tea and soda crackers reduce it. Medication for morning sickness is available if the problem becomes serious, but there are safer and more natural remedies which may help you.
3. To stay organized, keep a notepad handy and write reminders to yourself at work and at home. List all appointments and responsibilities on your calendar, which you should keep with you at home and work. Stick to your schedule to avoid becoming overtired. Make sure you’re scheduling relaxation and fun too!
4. Drink lots of water throughout the day to hydrate yourself. Be sure to get enough vitamin C from fruits, juices, or supplements.
5. Get ten or eleven hours of sleep per night.
6. Moderate exercise, such as walking, reduces the possibility of blood clots, varicose veins, and swelling of the feet and legs. Avoid heavy work and lifting, as well as heavy exercise. Swimming is a good exercise for pregnant women. Put your feet up at night.
7. Do not smoke or allow yourself to be near secondhand smoke; it is very harmful to you and the baby. Exposure to smoke can cause abortion, premature birth, low birth weight, and infant death.
8. Don’t drink alcohol at all. There is no safe amount of alcohol during pregnancy. Even if your OB says it’s fine, don’t. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS) causes severe retardation and birth defects, and it can be caused by small amounts of alcohol.
9. Don’t take any medications – even if they’re over the counter or herbal – unless approved by your doctor, especially during the first two months of pregnancy. The wrong kind of drug exposure may cause low birth weight, nervous system damage, and physical malformations to the baby such as heart problems and cleft palate.
10. Avoid video display terminals and microwaves.
If you do decide to work during your pregnancy, practice these ten tips. Taking care of yourself is the most important job you have for taking care of your baby! This is good practice for when your baby arrives and will help you prevent mommy burnout.
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Shoshana Bennett, Ph.D. is the author of “Postpartum Depression For Dummies” and co-author of “Beyond the Blues”: Understanding and Treating Prenatal and Postpartum Depression. She’s also created guided imagery audios that are specifically focused on helping moms take care of themselves. ABC’s “20/20” featured Dr. Shoshana as the postpartum expert and news stations including CNN consult her. Several publications including the San Francisco Chronicle and the San Jose Mercury News have written articles on Dr. Shoshana’s work. She’s interviewed regularly on radio and television and has been quoted in dozens of newspapers and magazines such as the Boston Globe, Glamour, Psychology Today, New York Post, Self, Cosmopolitan, USA Weekend and the Chicago Tribune. Dr. Shoshana is a survivor of two life-threatening, undiagnosed postpartum depressions. She founded Postpartum Assistance for Mothers in 1987, and is the Past President of Postpartum Support International.