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Learning you’re pregnant can bring a whole mix of emotions. While you’re looking forward to sharing news with family and friends, you’re also likely to be anxious about taking proper care of yourself and your growing baby; both at home and while on the job.
The various stages of pregnancy bring with them a diverse set of challenges, even more so if you are a woman who works in a more physically demanding job. As every worksite and job is unique, the most important thing you can do for yourself is to work with your doctor and your employer to develop a plan for how you can safely continue working through pregnancy.
We did some digging (or some Googling) to find some of the best advice for how to work safely, and comfortably, during your pregnancy. Sadly, for many women, this means packing up the high heels for now. Here are some of the top tips we found to help you get through the next nine (ok, ten if we’re being honest) months of pregnancy at work:
Rest! Those of you in your first and third trimester likely won’t argue with this advice too much. Typically, in the first three months of pregnancy especially, an early bedtime is desired by everyone. No matter what trimester, it is recommended that pregnant women look to get between eight to ten hours of sleep each day to make sure they are fully charged. To tackle fatigue during the day, take frequent breaks and mini-walks to keep you energized.
Pack snacks. Again, probably some welcome advice for expecting mothers. Your body needs to be fuelled with food and water even more than usual, so make sure to keep plenty of healthy snacks on hand during the work day. Some suggestions include fresh fruit, dried fruit, granola bars or individually wrapped slices of cheese (nicely paired with an apple or yogurt). You can download some recipes for healthy snacks here.
Exercise. You can barely keep your eyes open and all you want to do is nap, but the truth is that sometimes the best remedy can be a brisk walk. Keeping your body moving can help to avoid stiffness, swelling and even the development of varicose veins. This is especially important if you work in a job that has you sitting or standing in one place for a long period of time. Massage therapy and programs that help you get stretching (such as prenatal yoga or prenatal aquatics classes) can also help to ease any aches and pains.
Identify potential hazards. Environmental factors that were not a risk pre-pregnancy may now have an impact on your, and your baby’s, well-being. These could include heavy metals such as lead and mercury, chemicals such as organic solvents, and radiation. This is also important if you are responsible for lifting or carrying heavy items at your workplace. Meet with your employer to discuss any materials you may come into contact with at work, and how this can be avoided. It’s possible you may need to be relocated to another worksite and take on new tasks during your pregnancy. Your workplace health and safety representative is always a good resource to reach out to as well.
Lean on your family and colleagues for support. There are plenty of people who are happy to help you over the next nine (fine, ten) months. Don’t let stress build up, and delegate responsibility when possible. Keep organized and prioritize tasks and make sure to find time to sit back and relax.
For more information, check out some of these helpful articles: