Working While Pregnant - Revealing Do's And Dont's You Need To Know

Pregnancy comes with a unique transfiguration of the physical and mental space in every woman's life. While taking care of the health in this phase is essential, it becomes imperative when you also have to manage the 9 to 5 grind!

This blog is meant for all women working and pregnant or planning to conceive.

Most women work throughout their pregnancy. The majority of them with uncomplicated and low-risk pregnancies face no problems working during pregnancy till the very end of term. Some voluntarily stop working a few days before their labour pains or due date, while some work until their labour pains start. Yes, of course, pregnancy comes with many changes, requiring adjustments to your work routine, eating habits, and resting hours according to your health and working conditions.

It is challenging to manage deadlines, keep up your performance at work, and still handle pregnancy-associated symptoms.

In a broader picture, the first thing is to decide whether you want to continue working till the end, manage your maternity leave or take a break from work for some time.

Here are some Dos and Don'ts to make working during your pregnancy comfortable while managing your symptoms!

1. Inform Your Boss Immediately: The boss should hear the news from you rather than the office grapevine. It casts an impression of integrity and shows your commitment to your workplace. They need to know this so that, if need be, arrangements can be made for shifting your work desk to a more comfortable and accessible location.

2. Stay Hydrated and Snack Frequently: Staying hydrated is super-crucial during pregnancy. Keep a water intake reminder on your phone to help you with this. (Mostly from the home to avoid any chance of contamination). Snacking in between meals helps the body balance the additional energy required during pregnancy and helps keep morning sickness and nausea in control. Salted crackers, dry fruits, fruits are some options for mid-meal snacks.

3. Take Scheduled Breaks - Pregnancy is NOT a sickness. However, it needs scheduling small gaps to rejuvenate during your day at work. Because of the many biological changes during pregnancy, your body gets exhausted more than usual. It is natural and can be compensated with a tiny cat nap or just sitting with closed eyes. If you are getting too exhausted, and small breaks are not helping, you should consult your doctor and reduce some workload.

4. Exercise Daily - Consult with your doctor to incorporate a moderate form of exercise into your routine. Even a simple walk can be enough to keep you feeling light and maintain the strength of your back. It will keep you flexible, energized, and refreshed at work. If you can alter the work schedule, include a prenatal fitness class to see benefits on your overall health.

5. Discuss and Ask for /Accept Help - Pregnancy is not the time to show I can do everything attitude. Creating a new life is already a beautiful task you've undertaken. Discuss with your team or boss to adjust your workload, meetings, or arrange convenience at the office if the regular workday is exhausting you too much. If possible, arrange for help with house chores to reduce the overall workload. Accept help from someone you trust when they offer to get groceries, offer carpool, exchange office cabins at a more comfortable location. Express your concerns and be comfortable than worrying and affecting your health negatively

6. Choose Comfortable Clothing and Footwear - As the average body temperature fluctuates during pregnancy, you would want to dress comfortably and with even more comfy footwear. It does not mean to skip the work attire ethics, but to find well-fitting and relaxed dressing. Your spine bears the weight of the growing tummy and heels, or poorly fitted shoes will only stress your back more. Easygoing clothes and footwear will help you through your day more conveniently.

7. Shop Some Pregnancy Props - Use lumbar cushions, reclining chairs, or ergonomic gadgets to increase your comfort. Pregnancy support belts can be used to provide comfort and support to your back. Apply blue filters

There are simple fundamental things to strictly bypass during pregnancy, whether working or not. Keeping oneself fit is a priority for a healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby. As most women do not have an option to quit work, avoiding the below-mentioned points will get you through without harming your health.

1. Avoid Stress - Avoiding stress is the most important. Do not stress over work, home and avoid unpleasant situations at work at bay. A conducive environment is essential at work and at home. Take up assignments having lenient deadlines or are a tad down rigorous to lessen the stress and anxiety that tags along with it. Focus on the present and be positive.

2. Avoid Physical Strain - Being physically active is different from physical stress. There are proven thresholds regarding lifting too much weight, climbing stairs multiple times a day, standing for long hours, stooping continuously, etc. Discuss thoroughly with your doctor and explain your working conditions to know how much you should do and when to stop.

3. Avoid Sitting for Long Hours - The universal condition of all women is swelling of legs during pregnancy. This condition can worsen when you sit for long hours on a chair with your legs dangling. Use proper footrests (boxes, stools, or get one made) to rest your foot. Get up at least every hour to stroll for a few minutes inside your cabin to keep swelling in the legs and lower body under control. Walk to a colleague instead of using the intercom to keep you moving at regular intervals.

4. Avoid Exposure to Harmful Chemicals or Fumes - If your workplace has exposure to chemicals, fumes, or is located inside factory premises, discuss with your employer about the alternative. Any form of toxins can be detrimental to your and the baby's health. The use of masks and air filters is also strictly necessary until the arrangement is made. (It is, however, strongly recommended to avoid going to work until an alternative is found).

5. Avoid Unhealthy Habits - Smoking, late-night parties or working, consuming alcohol has to stop. These habits are to be kept miles away, especially during pregnancy and after delivery as you breastfeed your baby. Passive smoking is considered even more dangerous. Hence avoid entering smoking rooms or terraces for work, meetings, or discussions with your boss and team. You also need to cut down on your caffeine (coffee, tea, aerated drinks) consumption up to a maximum of 200mg per day.

6. Avoid Sleep Deprivation - Sleep deprivation due to odd office hours, work deadlines, corporate late-night parties, or get-togethers is harmful. Resting is essential to cope with the million processes raging in your body to keep your baby perfectly growing. Don't let your sleep take a back seat as it can have a cyclic effect on your routine, leaving you irritated and exhausted. Late-night parties can also disrupt your schedule and leave you excessively tired the next day, eventually increasing stress.

7. Never Miss Your Prenatal Vitamins and Visits - It is exhausting to juggle work and take care of yourself. Prenatal vitamins need to be taken at a prescribed time every day. Prenatal visits help the doctor to observe that your pregnancy is progressing correctly. Set alarms to take your vitamins and prenatal visits to adhere to the schedule.

8. Avoid Work if Needed - At times, your doctor will ask you to refrain from working depending on your pregnancy condition. Everyone has a different pregnancy journey, and facing complications due to working is not worth it.

Pregnancy is a tender phase and needs compassion and care from the people around you. When you are working during your pregnancy and facing issues regarding the above points, discuss them with your boss. Remember, if your workplace is not ready to adjust to make you comfortable now, it is apparent they wouldn't be changing post-delivery. It would be prudent to know the maternity leave and returning-to-work policies. If your job seems impossible to match your requirements, you should start preparing a resume to make a switch, to help you manage later with a baby as well. Many workplaces provide flexible work schedules, child care, better leave policy, and insurance for working mothers.

Working during pregnancy should feel mentally normal.

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