Getting pregnant is a wonderful thing but the many changes it brings do have a tendency to affect everything else you have going on in your life. And it can become especially challenging for many women who are also enjoying blossoming careers.
So it’s really very normal to wonder how you can manage your pregnancy while on the job, especially during the first trimester, when many of the more disruptive side effects of pregnancies appear.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts to help you along.
Snack often. But make sure you’re snacking on crackers or other bland foods, which can help you combat nausea. You might also want to stock up on ginger ale or ginger tea instead of your normal coffee or soda, so you don’t have to keep rushing out of meetings to visit the bathroom.
Include food rich in iron in your diet. Being pregnant makes you more susceptible to iron deficiency anemia (IDA), which means you don’t have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen through your system. This is because there is another person inside you who also needs iron, so you’ll need to make sure you and your baby get enough iron in your diet so you don’t get sick.
Try to exercise. You’ll need to check with your doctor first but it’s always a good idea to keep fit, even when pregnant. A walk after work or a prenatal fitness class can really help give your energy levels a boost so you don’t feel fatigued at work.
Keep work stress under control. Try some relaxation techniques, like breathing slowly, or imagining yourself in your “happy” place. Better yet, take quick breaks from your desk to keep stress from building up.
Get more sleep. Yes, you read that right. Make sure you get 7-9 hours of sleep and try to rest o your left side, as this will maximize the blood flow to your baby. Use pillows to get comfortable, if need be. Waking up refreshed can go a long way in making the work day bearable.
Extreme physical exertions. This includes lifting heavy things and even prolonged standing without rest. Remember, your body is now carrying the burden of growing another human being. Undue physical stress may just be too much for your body to cope with.
Exposure to harmful substances or environments. If your job involves working with harmful substances or unsafe environments, it might be better to sit down with your manager and discuss a different role. Remember, anything you inhale, ingest or experience can affect your baby, so don’t take any chances.
Smoking, drinking alcohol and taking illegal drugs. Again, anything you inhale, ingest or experience gets passed on to your baby. So if you do any of these to deal with work stress, it’s really just better to stop cold-turkey.. Some other things to keep an eye on would be caffeine (although most doctors allow pregnant women to drink a maximum of one cup of coffee a day.
Eating raw fish or fishes that have high levels of mercury. Some fishes, like shark, swordfish, and king mackerel have high levels of mercury, which have been linked to developmental delays in babies as well as brain damage. So make sure you have pregnancy-friendly food while at work, so you won’t have to take a risk with your baby.
There are many more do’s and don’t but the more important thing to remember is that there is a way for you to have a safe and enjoyable pregnancy without having to sacrifice your career. All you need is common sense and a few basic guidelines to always keep to mind.