Can I Work When I Am Pregnant?

You have probably heard this statement several times from many exasperated pregnant women: “I’m fine! I’m pregnant, not sick!” It can get really irritating when people treat you differently because of your pregnancy, making you feel like a fragile object that can break apart any moment. Your pregnancy is progressing well, your doctor is pleased with your health and you are continuing to live your life as normally as possible.

But you are often faced with many niggling doubts when you head to work every morning. Could all those people telling you to ‘Take it easy’ be wrong? Do you really need to take some extra precautions, apart from taking your vitamins and eating well? Should you work during your pregnancy?

Work and Pregnancy

There is a curious correlation between working and pregnancy – on the one hand, doctors advise that you should be active as your baby grows, but on the other hand, you are cautioned to be careful and not overdo it. So how much work is too much?

It must be established at the outset that women who have regular pregnancies with no health complications (either with themselves or the baby) can continue working right until the time that they must give birth.[1] However, women with high blood pressure, gestational diabetes, signs of developing preeclampsia, asthma and other health problems must get a clearance from their doctor if they wish to continue working during the pregnancy.

The intensity of your work and pregnancy are related. If you have a sedentary job at your workplace, you can probably get by with your regular routine. However, if your work involves frequent periods of travel, hard physical labour and contact with chemicals and other hazardous materials, you might consider taking a break till your baby is born. This way, you will minimise any risk to yourself and your baby.

* You might be nauseous in the early weeks of your pregnancy. If you are constantly on the verge of vomiting owing to certain smells and food at the office, you can take a break and resume work when your morning sickness is gone. If it is not possible for you to quit working at this stage, keep emergency medication and soothing foods handy to control your urge to vomit.[2]

* It is fine to climb up stairs and even lift moderately heavy things if your pregnancy is going well and you are healthy. However, avoid lifting heavy items once you are in your second trimester, and also climbing up and down stairs more than necessary. Avoid stooping to pick up heavy objects off the floor at all costs.

* If your workplace has a dress code, you must ditch it to wear comfortable clothing that does not constrict your belly.

* Your doctor might advise bed rest if the foetus is in distress. Please stop working at this point.



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