Even if your job requires minimal standing and nothing more strenuous than lifting a telephone, make an effort to take good care of yourself while you’re pregnant. Here are some tips:
- Take breaks. If you’ve been standing, put your feet up or walk around — moving the muscles helps push fluid out of the feet and legs and back up to the heart to be recirculated. If you’ve been sitting, stand and walk around every two hours. This will help decrease 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.
- Wear comfortable shoes and loose clothing. You might try maternity tights or support hose, too, to prevent or ease swelling and varicose veins.
- Drink a lot of water. Keep a tall glass at your station and refill it often. This will also give you a chance to take a break. And don’t hold it in. Go to the bathroom as often as you need to.
- Take time to eat regular meals and have nutritious snacks. Regular snacking helps prevent drops in blood sugar and morning sickness. Choose lunches that are balanced and nutritious whenever you can. Add fiber to your diet to ease constipation.
- Pregnant women are at a greater risk of developing carpal tunnel syndrome, so take any appropriate measures you can to limit repetitive tasks and make your work situation as comfortable as possible. If your workstation is starting to cause you pain, ask for an ergonomic evaluation to determine where the problems lie. Don’t hesitate to ask for new equipment, if necessary, to 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, performing 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 reduce physical activity outside of work. If you find yourself feeling 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 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 baby you a little — and you don’t mind — let them. Consider yourself lucky to be in a supportive workplace. This is a rare and special time in your life, and it would be a shame to have to pretend that nothing has changed every day when you’re at work.