Working when pregnant can be quite challenging and if not well handled, can be be risky for both mother and child. Even if your job requires very minimal standing and nothing more strenuous than lifting a phone, here are some tips to working safely while pregnant.

Kindly note that as a healthy woman having a normal pregnancy whose job does not involve exposure to harmful chemicals, and lifting of heavy objects, you may be able to continue working until at least the 8th month of pregnancy. However, towards the ending of pregnancy, you will tend to get tired easily so you will be required to take it easy and ask for help as often as possible.

  • As often as possible, take breaks. If you’ve been standing, put your feet up or walk around. Moving your muscles helps push fluid out of your feet and legs and back up to the heart to be recirculated.
  • In every 2 hours,. Stand up and walk around. This will relieve swelling in your feet and ankles, and it should keep you more comfortable. While you’re up, do a few stretching exercises to protect your back.
  • Dress comfortably. Wear clothes and shoes that keep you comfortable. After nine months you can go back to your sweet 16 skirts and tops #wink.You might also try wearing maternity tights or support hose to prevent or ease swelling and varicose veins.
  • Drink a lot of water. Keep a tall glass at your desk or work area and refill it often. This will also give you a chance to take a break and walk to the bathroom.
  • No matter how busy you are, never skip a meal. Eat regular meals and snacks, which can prevent morning sickness and drops in blood sugar. Choose balanced and nutritious lunches whenever you can, Add more fiber to your diet to ease constipation.
  • Be mindful of repetitive strain injuries. Pregnant women are at a greater risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome because fluid retention can increase pressure inside the carpal tunnel of the wrist and irritate the median nerve. Try to limit repetitive tasks, and make your workstation as comfortable as possible.
  • Request workplace modifications. If your workstation is starting to cause you pain, ask for an ergonomic evaluation. Don’t hesitate to ask for wrist guards, splints, or other equipment that can prevent repetitive strain injuries.
  • Reduce stress. If you can’t eliminate a stress factor in your workplace, try to find ways to manage it, such as stretching, doing deep-breathing exercises or yoga, or simply taking a short walk.
  • Rest when you can. The more strenuous your job is, the more you should scale back your physical activity outside of work.
  • Take time off if needed. If you find yourself feeling extremely fatigued, take an occasional sick day to rest. Or use an hour or two of vacation time here and there to shorten your workdays. If you’re so tired that you just can’t focus at work, find a private spot or go out to your car and use 15 minutes of your lunch break to take a quick nap.
  • Don’t overdo it. Refuse offers of overtime, especially if you’re exhausted or if your job requires physical activity. Despite the need for the money, remember that your child needs you alive and healthy.
  • Accept help. It would be a shame to have to pretend that nothing has changed every day when you’re at work. Some people want to act like everything is still normal when pregnant. They still take on the same task and act like a super woman, always saying, “Don’t worry, I can do it”. The thing is if you don’t do it, someone will and you will go on maternity leave soon and the company will continue. Stop for a bit, think of your safety, value YOU first and accept to be pampered.

Yes, you can be pregnant and still be of value to your company as long as it is not to the detriment of your health or that of your baby.

Chidinma Okonkwo

WHSE Nigeria

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