With the new head honcho of Yahoo, Marissa Mayer’s pregnancy status doing the rounds, the question on everyone’s mind is – Can women have it all? Can a pregnant woman manage to work normally?
So, if you are a mummy- to-be or simply planning to be one, there’s no need to put an end or apply brakes to your professional life. If you work in a safe environment and have a normal pregnancy then you can work until just a few days before you are expecting to deliver.
Your doctor would probably advise you to take a break from work if:
- You are at risk of preterm labour. This includes women who are expecting twins or multiples.
- If you have high blood pressure or are at risk for preeclampsia (high blood pressure during pregnancy)
- If you have a history of miscarriages or cervical insufficiency (cervix dilates before labour)
- If your baby isn’t growing properly.
If your job is physically strenuous and includes heavy lifting, standing for long periods, working irregular or excessive hours and other variables, there are chances that you might deliver prematurely, have lower-birth-weight babies and/or develop high blood pressure. So, consult your doctor and ask her if you can continue to work or probably make some modifications if possible to accommodate your pregnancy.
Here are some tips to help you cope with pregnancy better while working:
Take breaks: If you job entails walking around a lot, remember to take frequent breaks and put your feet up, this reduces swelling and helps relieve backaches that you might experience. If you are seated for long hours, take a short walk every two hours.
Wear comfortable shoes and loose clothing. You might want to try maternity tights or support hose, to prevent or ease swelling and varicose veins (Swollen, twisted, and sometimes painful veins that have filled with an abnormal collection of blood).
Keep yourself hydrated – Drink lots of water, fresh fruit juices, butter milk, tender coconut water. Along with hydrating your body, they also supply the minerals required for your body and help maintain blood pressure.
Go to the bathroom as often as you need to. But make sure the bathroom is clean.
Take time to eat regular meals and have nutritious snacks. Carry fruits and home-made snacks whenever you can. Regular snacking helps prevent drops in blood sugar and morning sickness. Choose lunches that are balanced and nutritious. Add fiber to your diet to ease constipation.
Try to make your working area more comfortable. Take a small pillow, to support your back.. An electric heating pad is also a great idea to ease pain and swelling.
Reduce stress. If you cannot eliminate the stress factor in your workplace, try to find ways to manage it. Try stretching, performing deep-breathing exercises or yoga, listening to music or taking a short walk. Indulge in some light conversation with friends and colleagues.
Rest when you can. The more strenuous your job is, the more you should reduce physical activity outside of work. If you find yourself feeling fatigued, take an occasional sick day to rest. If you’re so tired that you just can’t focus at work, find a private spot or go out to your car and steal 15 minutes out of your lunch break for a quick catnap.
Turn down overtime, especially in jobs requiring physical activity.
Accept help. If your co-workers want to help you a little, consider yourself lucky to be in a supportive workplace.
In case of emergencies, do share your doctor’s number with a few friends at work.
Pregnancy and work can go hand in hand. Always remember that during your pregnancy it is important to be extra cautious, if you experience any pain or discomfort away from what you are used to, make sure to visit your gynaecologist at the earliest.