Getting ready for plus-one (or more).
A plus sign on a home pregnancy test means a plus-one (or more) addition to your family. It’s the good news you’ve been dreaming of! In the nine months ahead, you’ll begin preparing for all of the changes this new life will bring. If you’re one of the many women who will continue working during pregnancy, you may find that the ongoing demands of work and home life can be daunting.
When you tell your supervisor and colleagues about your pregnancy, express any concerns you may have about working while you’re pregnant. Find out if your company allows flexible work hours and consider adjusting your hours around the times you feel most alert and energetic. With a little planning, you can learn how to navigate the workplace as a healthy mother-to-be
The Environmental Protection Agency lists indoor air quality as one of the top environmental health hazards in the U.S. today. It’s important to make sure you’re not being exposed to harmful substances while you’re pregnant. Continuous exposure to toxic substances and chemicals, including cleaning solvents, lead, mercury, pesticides and paint, can potentially harm your developing baby.
If you’re concerned about a substance that you might be exposed to at work, talk to your doctor to find out if it could be harming your baby. Your doctor and your supervisor can help determine how to minimize your risks while you’re pregnant.
Physically demanding duties.
If your job requires that you be on your feet for long periods, work long hours, lift heavy objects or perform physically challenging tasks, you may need to limit these activities. If you work more than one job, you may need to take time off.
Stop working right away and call your doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Vaginal bleeding or leaking of amniotic fluid
- Sudden and severe swelling that affects your hands, fingers or face
- Severe headaches
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Difficulty urinating
- Vision problems
- Lightheadedness or shortness of breath
- Severe nausea or vomiting
- Baby has decreased activity
If you are required to travel overseas while you’re pregnant, make sure you have proper immunizations.
Also, talk with your doctor to find out how you can prevent becoming ill from the organisms found in food and water of foreign countries.
Your doctor may advise against travel if you’re having problems during your pregnancy or if the itinerary includes areas with active Zika virus transmission.
Designing a pregnancy-friendly workplace.
To optimize your work environment during your pregnancy, consider the following strategies:
- If you work at a desk, arrange your computer monitor, keyboard and chair so that you are sitting more comfortably
- Change positions often, incorporating sitting, walking and standing
- Use pillows for your back and to prop up your feet, as needed
- Keep snacks at your office to help you avoid skipping meals
- Drink plenty of water each day
Unwinding outside of work.
When you’re not working, be sure to unwind and de-stress. Allow yourself some time to relax each day and get plenty of sleep. It is not unusual for pregnant women to need a few extra hours of sleep.
Also, pamper yourself! Schedule a prenatal massage, indulge in a pedicure and have your hair highlighted — whatever makes you feel confident and relaxed. Two things to avoid: hot tubs and foot reflexology.
If your doctor says it’s safe, try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise — such as walking, swimming and stationary cycling — on most days of the week. This will help you feel healthy and energetic. Prenatal yoga can also help keep you fit and relaxed during your pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about which exercises are safe and specific exercises to avoid.
Finally, allow others to help you and pay close attention to your body while pregnant; it will tell you when you have reached your limits.