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Chelsea at Crunch Gym

Forty Weeks of Fitness!

Chelsea, our pregnancy fitness expert, is a certified personal trainer at Crunch gym in San Francisco, California. She gave birth to her daughter, Madeira Re, in July 2006. Read more

Staying Safe and Comfortable at Work

If you are a healthy woman having a normal pregnancy, you may be able to continue working throughout your pregnancy, right up until you begin labor. However, fatigue and general discomfort may force you to take it easy during your third trimester. Your ability to work during your pregnancy depends on three factors: your health, your baby's health, and the nature of your job.

Some professions may make it necessary for you to take special precautions, modify or cut back on your work, or take alternative assignments during your pregnancy. Studies have shown that women who work physically demanding jobs that require heavy lifting, standing for long periods, or excessive hours are more likely to deliver prematurely, have babies with lower birth-weights, and develop high blood pressure during their pregnancy.

Working with or around toxic substances such as heavy metals, chemicals, biologic agents, and radiation can also cause problems such as miscarriage, preterm delivery, structural birth defects, and abnormal fetal and infant development. You may be at risk for coming into contact with these substances if you work at a computer chip factory, dry-cleaning plant, rubber factory, hospital operating room, dark room, tollbooth, pottery studio, ship building plant, or at a printer.

You may also be at risk if your job exposes you to secondhand smoke; or bacterial infections, such as if you work at a hospital, animal hospital, or farm. Be sure to wear gloves and wash your hands frequently and well, and eat away from your workplace.

If you develop any of the following complications you will need to stop working or significantly decrease your hours.

  • high risk for preterm labor (including women who are carrying multiples)

  • high blood pressure or you are at risk for preeclampsia

  • an incompetent cervix or a history of late miscarriage

  • your baby isn't growing properly

For more information job safety, contact these organizations:

  • OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration)

  • NIOSH (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health)

  • OTIS (Organization of Teratology Information Services)

Even if it is safe to work throughout your pregnancy, you might find it challenging, especially during your third trimester. Try to take an occasional sick or vacation day, or reduce the number of hours you work or spend on your feet - especially after the end of your second trimester. Here are some other tips to keep you comfortable, healthy, and productive while working during your pregnancy:

Morning Sickness

  • Eat small meals frequently, instead of larger ones. An empty stomach or overly-full one can cause nausea.

  • Avoid nausea-triggering odors as much as possible. You may have to politely ask a co-worker to avoid wearing a certain perfume or after-shave for a while.

  • Drink a lot of water. Keep a refillable water bottle or tall glass at your desk and drink as much as you can. Take small sips every few minutes instead of trying to drink it all at once.

  • Keep towels and mouthwash in your car, and figure out the quickest way to the bathroom at your office.

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