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Boston Herald
Boston Herald
24 Feb 2024
Mayo Clinic News Network

NextImg:Do’s and don’ts of working through pregnancy

Most people can continue working during pregnancy. Being pregnant, however, might present challenges in the workplace. To stay healthy and productive on the job, you need to understand how to relieve common pregnancy discomforts — and know when a work task might jeopardize the pregnancy.

Easing nausea and vomiting

It’s called “morning” sickness, but pregnancy queasiness can hit at any time. To ease nausea at work:

Avoid nausea triggers. Whether it’s the smell of foods in the break room or other odors or tastes, steer clear of anything that triggers nausea.
Snack often. Crackers and other bland foods can be lifesavers during nausea. Keep a stash at work for easy snacking. Ginger ale made with real ginger or ginger tea might help, too.

Take vitamin B-6. This is considered safe during pregnancy and is easily available. It might help quell nausea.

Handling fatigue

The body working overtime to support a pregnancy might cause tiredness — and resting during the workday can be tough. It might help to:

Eat foods rich in iron and protein. Fatigue can be a symptom of iron deficiency anemia but adjusting your diet can help. Choose foods such as lean red meat, poultry, seafood, leafy green vegetables, iron-fortified whole-grain cereal and beans.

Take short, frequent breaks. Getting up and moving around for a few minutes can be helpful. Spending a few minutes with lights off, eyes shut and feet up also might help.

Drink plenty of fluids. Keep a water bottle nearby and sip throughout the day. Drink earlier in the day rather than near bedtime to cut down on trips to the bathroom interrupting sleep.

Cut back on activities. Scaling back on nonwork activities might create more time to rest after work. Consider shopping online or hiring someone to clean your house or take care of the yard.

Keep up a fitness routine. Physical activity can help boost energy levels — especially for those who sit at a desk all day.

Staying comfortable

As pregnancy progresses, everyday activities such as sitting and standing can become uncomfortable. Short, frequent breaks can combat fatigue. Moving around every few hours also can ease muscle tension and help prevent fluid buildup in the legs and feet. Try these other strategies, too:

Sitting. Using an adjustable chair with good lower back support can make long hours of sitting much easier — especially as body weight and posture change. For chairs that aren’t adjustable, use a small pillow or cushion to provide extra support for the back. Elevate the legs to decrease swelling.

Standing. For those who must stand for long periods, putting one foot up on a footrest, low stool or box can help. Switch feet every so often and take frequent breaks. Wear comfortable shoes with good arch support. Consider wearing support or compression hose.

Bending and lifting. Even when lifting something light, proper form can spare the back. Bend at the knees, not at the waist.

Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research/Tribune News Service