Most working women can keep working during their pregnancy. Some women will work right up until the day their baby arrives. Working during pregnancy may have some challenges. Learning how to stay safe and comfortable can help you have a healthy pregnancy at the workplace.
During pregnancy, especially in the first trimester, you may find it hard to manage common pregnancy discomforts while at work. Here are some tips:
Even though it's called morning sickness, nausea during pregnancy can happen at anytime during the day. Follow these tips to help ease morning sickness.
You might be feeling more tired than usual, especially during early and late pregnancy. To fight fatigue and make it through the day:
It's important that the environment around you is safe for you and baby.
Talk to your health provider if you work with:
Being in contact with these kinds of things without proper safety equipment (gloves, gowns and masks) can cause birth defects, miscarriage or other serious health problems. Describe your work environment to your provider and any safety equipment you or your company uses. Your provider can then tell you if it's safe for you to keep working during pregnancy.
Also talk to your health provider if you work in extreme heat. Working in places that are very hot can raise your body temperature. If your body temperature is too high, it could be dangerous to the baby.
Jobs like working with children or in a health care setting are more likely to expose you to other people who are sick. Some of these illnesses (like chickenpox, rubella, flu) can be very harmful to you during pregnancy. Take extra steps to keep safe. Be sure to wash your hands regularly. If you think you and baby's health may be at risk, talk to your provider right away.
Heavy duty jobs
Some jobs may involve more physical labor than others. For example, if your job includes heavy lifting or climbing, it might not be safe for you during pregnancy. In early pregnancy, nausea, fatigue and dizziness can make it hard to do these jobs safely. Later in pregnancy, your added weight can throw off your sense of balance and make you more likely to fall and hurt yourself. Talk to your employer about taking on other job responsibilities during your pregnancy.
If you need to lift something, follow these tips:
Standing for long periods of time can also be cause for concern. That's because blood can collect in your legs, which may lead to dizziness, fatigue and back pain. When standing:
Computers and desks
Many of today's jobs involve computer use and sitting at a desk for most of the day. Some women who do these jobs may have wrist and hand discomforts, neck and shoulder pains, backaches and eye strains. To help avoid these pains, follow these tips:
Your job may require business travel. While it's safe for most women to travel during pregnancy, talk to your provider before making any travel decisions that will take you far from home. Ask if any health conditions you might have make travel during pregnancy unsafe.
Also, consider the place to where you'll be travelling.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) reassures women that air travel is safe for most pregnant women. So long as a woman's pregnancy is healthy and free of complications, it's safe for her to travel by air. Most airlines allow women who are up to 36 weeks in their pregnancy to travel, but it's a good idea to double check with your air carrier.
If you're pregnant and plan to travel by air, follow these tips:
If you're pregnant and will travel by car, follow these tips:
Last reviewed June 2010
Under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) employees can take time off from work without pay for pregnancy- and family-related health issues. The act provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave per year. It also requires that you can keep your health insurance benefits during the leave. To qualify, you must have worked for your employer for at least 12 months, worked at least 1,250 hours during the last 12 months, and worked at a location where the company has 50 or more employees within 75 miles. This time off is in addition to whatever maternity leave your company offers. Ask your company's human resources representative about maternity leave and FMLA.
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act says it's unlawful for employers to discriminate on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related health conditions. Women who are pregnant or affected by pregnancy-related conditions must be treated in the same way as other employees with similar abilities or limitations. If you feel you're being discriminated against at work because you're pregnant, contact your company's human resources representative.
That's up to you. Some women tell their bosses as soon as they find out they're pregnant. Others wait a while. Whichever you choose, make sure that your boss hears the news from you. You don't want him to hear it from a coworker or as a rumor. If you're having common pregnancy discomforts, like having to go to the bathroom a lot or feeling tired all the time, you should tell him so he understands why you may be acting differently at work.