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Staying safe at work during pregnancy

Your job plays a big role in your lifestyle, and it will also play a big role in your physical and mental health during pregnancy. Strenuous jobs that include heavy lifting, excessive standing or walking, or long hours should be modified if they pose a health risk to you or Baby. You should establish a plan for maternity leave early on so your coworkers are prepared for your absence, and you shouldn't hesitate to take a day off here and there if you’re feeling overtired.

What are some examples of unsafe work environments?

  • Exposure to toxic chemicals: If you work around toxic hazards, like lead, mercury, and radiation, you should be reassigned even while you are TTC. Even small amounts of hazardous substances can cause miscarriage, birth defects, or abnormal fetal development.
  • Highly stressful jobs: Blood pressure is a serious concern for all pregnant women, so if you’re constantly under work-related stress, talk to your supervisor about taking on a lighter load.
  • Manual labor: Lifting or moving heavy objects can be very dangerous as your pregnancy progresses, so make sure you aren’t overexerting yourself at work, and ask for help when you can.

New habits for working during pregnancy

  • Take frequent breaks: If you’ve been standing for a while, sit down and put your feet up. If you’ve been sitting for a while, get up and go for a walk.
  • Be comfortable: If you can’t fit into your power suit, find a maternity version of it. Wear comfortable undergarments and shoes so that you don’t restrict your circulation.
  • Drink water: Staying hydrated is very important for pregnant women. Keep a big bottle of water at your desk so you don’t forget to drink up!
  • Tailor tasks to your condition: If you’ve got coworkers who are willing to trade assignments with you that will make your job less strenuous, accept the offer.

Reviewed by Dr. Jamie Lo
Read more
  • P Kristiansson, JX Wang. "Reproductive hormones and blood pressure during pregnancy." Human Reproduction. Vol.16, No.1 oo. 13-17. Web. 2001.
  • "Preeclampsia and High Blood Pressure During Pregnancy: FAQ034." ACOG. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 9/14/2015. Web.
  • "Pregnancy and exercise." Better Health Channel. Better Health Channel, 11/14/2015. Web.
  • The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Health Care for Underserved Women, American Society for Reproductive Medicine Practice Committee, The University of California, San Francisco Program on Reproductive Health and the Environment. "Exposure to Toxic Environmental Agents: Committe Opinion Number 575." ACOG. American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, 10/13/2015. Web.
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