Congratulations on your pregnancy! You might wonder if you are allowed to work during your pregnancy if you are a working woman. Many women can do this without difficulty. Your body undergoes many changes during pregnancy. How well you are able to work depends on how healthy you are, what kind of work you do, and your overall health. You can continue working in many jobs throughout pregnancy. Some jobs are safe to continue during pregnancy. Some duties might need to be modified or stopped later in pregnancy. Sometimes, your hours or schedule may have to change. You can keep working if you want to be safe and comfortable.
The majority of computer and desk jobs are safe for pregnant women. Some women may develop carpal tunnel syndrome due to fluid buildup. This can make keyboard use difficult. If you sit for long periods of time, your posture and back can change. This could cause strain to your neck, back, and shoulders. These tips might help if you’re pregnant and work at a computer or at a desk.
- Regular breaks are important. Move around and get up to increase blood flow and decrease swelling.
- A pillow or cushion can be used to support the lower back.
- When using a computer, use the right hand and arm positions. If you use a keyboard or mouse, a wrist rest is recommended.
- A headset can be used to reduce neck strain and shoulder pain.
- Don’t cross your legs or feet.
Long standing jobs can cause leg and back pain for pregnant women. This is particularly true for late-term pregnancies. Long periods of standing can reduce blood flow and slow down the baby’s growth. These tips will help you stand if you are forced to.
- Place one foot on a stool or box that supports the back to ease back pain.
- Ask if you are able to sit on a tall stool instead of standing.
- Take frequent breaks. If possible, sit down with your feet raised.
- Good, comfortable, well-fitted, low-heeled shoes.
Talk to your healthcare provider if you are considering a job that requires lifting heavy objects, pulling or pushing, as well as other labor. Some physical jobs can be dangerous if you have pregnancy symptoms like dizziness or extreme tiredness. Your sense of balance can suffer as your center of gravity shifts, increasing your chances of falling.
You may need to take additional safety precautions during pregnancy if you are exposed to chemicals, radiation, heavy metallics, gases, biological agents, viruses, bacteria, fungus or other hazardous substances. Some dangerous agents can get into the bloodstream of the mother and then pass on to the baby. Some can cause harm to the mother or the fetus. Discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider. If protective clothing is recommended, ask your healthcare provider. Follow all safety precautions.
You may need to adapt your work activities to avoid extremes in temperature or noise.
It is best to travel during your middle pregnancy, between 14 and 28 weeks. This is when you feel the most comfortable and safest. After 36 weeks, air travel is not recommended. These are some tips for flying by air:
- Book an aisle seat to allow you to move around more easily and to have easy access to the toilet.
- Keep your seatbelt under your belly and across your hipbones.
- Eat smaller meals.
- Make sure that you have all the required vaccines if you plan to travel outside the country. Avoid areas that are at risk of Zika or malaria.
Limit your driving time when traveling by car to 5-6 hours. Stretch your legs often. Always wear your seatbelt.
Discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider about working during pregnancy.
- Donna Freeborn Ph.D. CNM FNP
- Heather Trevino
- Irina Burd MD PhD