Working during pregnancy is one of the biggest challenges facing the modern women today. While motherhood is a cherished dream for all women, balancing it with the pressures of workplace can be quite a challenging task. The good news is that it is quite easy and simple to juggle between both the responsibilities if one is well prepared for it and takes few necessary precautions while working during pregnancy.
It is safe to work during pregnancy as long as requisite conditions to ensure safe and healthy development of fetus are ensured through proper medical consultation and practices. Normally a healthy woman can continue work right up to a few days before actual delivery provided the workplace environment is conducive to a healthy pregnancy.
Handling Office During Pregnancy
Working women are well aware of the requirements of their workplace and the need to keep their job option open so that their professional lives do not get affected after the delivery. In order to play it safe and continue working productively right till the last days of pregnancy with complete cooperation of colleagues, one needs to take a few pre emptive steps. Firstly one needs to tell the boss and other colleagues at the right moment about your condition. Hiding the pregnancy till late or early disclosure have their own associated problems. The timing must be decided as per the prevailing situations. In order to enjoy the best of both the worlds, one must keep options of post delivery work open. Discuss the details of maternity leave and benefits with concerned authority in the office and be clear about the employer’s policies on these issues at the earliest. Maternity leave may be paid, unpaid or partially paid as per the company’s policies. Understand your rights and insurance policies existing on these issues. Possibility of extending maternity leave must also be explored to be prepared for any eventuality.
Working During Pregnancy – Do’s
In order to stay healthy through your pregnancy and be productive at the workplace, you need to have a comprehensive understanding of the factors that cause uneasiness and be prepared to deal with them effectively.
Handling Morning Sickness at Office:
The uneasiness and queasiness associated with pregnancy can overwhelm you at any moment during the office hours. In order to avoid getting into such a situation at the workplace one can adopt the following three methods:
- Stay clear of all the possible triggers of nausea such as smell of food being warmed or your favorite cookies.
- Eat at frequent intervals with scanty amounts of crackers or any bland food. Ginger tea at short intervals has proven to be a major relief in this regard.
- Ensure that you have plenty of fluids throughout the working hours. Dehydration aggravates nausea. So keeping a bottle of drinking water close to you will prove handy during the initial days of pregnancy.
Constant feeling of tiredness is common during pregnancy. For those who continue working during pregnancy, there are some simple means to ward off fatigue and maintain the energy levels throughout phase.
- Increase iron and protein intake as these are the primary means of fighting anemia which may be the root cause of the fatigue being experienced. Red meat, seafood, poultry, green vegetables, beans and whole grains are ideal foods for these days to keep pregnant women fit and energetic.
- Gift yourself a break every now and then while working during pregnancy. Simple getting up from the desk or a short stroll can do wonders to your energy levels. Even meditation at the desk with eyes closed has been found to be a rejuvenating experience.
- Carefully plan out your day’s activities. Shopping or outings after a long days’ work may prove to be extremely tiring as it completely drains off the remaining energy in your body. Try to plan alternatives to routine activities such as online shopping or keeping up with friends through social networking sites rather than physical movement or commuting.
- Adopt an easy and relaxing workout routine which helps raise the spirits after a long day at the office. Even a refreshing walk in the neighborhood park can prove to be extremely beneficial in this condition.
- Have adequate sleep during pregnancy. Up to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep is recommended during pregnancy. Use pillows under the belly and in between the legs while sleeping on the side which is the recommended posture during pregnancy.
The postures that one adopts and the kind of physical activities that one undertakes while working during pregnancy immensely affect the total level of comfort as the pregnancy progresses. Mundane activities liking sitting, standing and walking if done in the correct way will provide great relief from the general discomfort experienced during pregnancy.
- Using adjustable harness, lower back support and suitable back cushions will help adjust to the changes in weight and posture as the pregnancy progresses. Long hours of sitting at the office while working during pregnancy can be made a lot easier with these add ons.
- Pooling of blood in the legs which takes when standing for prolonged periods is a cause of pain and discomfort. It may also induce dizziness in some women. Shifting weight between the legs or taking a short stroll can be helpful to avoid these conditions.
- Bending is probably one of the most daunting activities during pregnancy especially if it is done to lift weight. Using the knees to bend rather than twisting at the waist is useful in preventing discomfort and protects the back which is stressed under the increasing weight and bulge in the front.
By careful planning of the day’s activities and doing only what is absolutely necessary will keep the stress levels lower. Discussing your problems and anxieties with someone, especially your spouse is a major relief and helps you to let out any frustrations that may have accumulated from the day’s work at the office. There various means of relaxation like meditation etc which can be resorted to distress yourself.
Working During Pregnancy – Don’ts
The body of the woman becomes quite vulnerable to various problems while one is working during pregnancy. Therefore certain safety measures in terms of don’ts must be adopted to ensure that while working during pregnancy doesn’t end up in complications in the pregnancy that may endanger the mother as well as the unborn baby. Mentioned below are some of the common means to stay safe while working during pregnancy.
- Avoid standing at one place for long periods.
- Do not pick up heavy objects.
- Avoid working more than 40 hours per week.
- Do not commute for more than an hour on a daily basis.
- Avoid climbing stairs often when at the workplace.
- Workplaces that have computer chips, bright lights, dark or damp environment or loud noise must be avoided.
- Take care not be exposed to toxic substances such as lead, solvents, PCBs or any other form of waste materials that may exude any form of toxic fumes.
- High stress jobs such as involved in direct sales should take a back seat when working during pregnancy.
- Factory floors where the level of vibration is high are best not visited at all.
- Any workplace that is cold must have suitable heating provisions or else they should be avoided.
While working during pregnancy is primarily an individual decision depending on one’s exact health condition, nature of work and other personal considerations, it is advisable that suitable precautions be adopted so that the responsibility of motherhood is also given its due importance. Cooperation of family members, friends and workplace colleagues is a vital element of support for women who choose to continue working during pregnancy.