Working During Pregnancy
More than 1 million working women become pregnant each year. For most of these women, continuing to work until right before their due dates is not a problem. As long as you and your fetus are healthy and your job presents no greater risks than those encountered in everyday life, working should not give you any added concerns.
Certain conditions, however, do require that you take precautions. If your job includes a lot of lifting, standing, or walking, for example, your caregiver may suggest that you cut back on your hours. If you are exposed to potentially toxic materials (including X-rays, lead, and chemotherapy medications) on the job, you will want to ask to be reassigned to another area. If reassignment is not possible, your caregiver may advise you to quit your job. If you work with any substances that you feel may be harmful, be sure to talk to your caregiver about them.
Additionally, some medical conditions may prevent you from working. Such problems as diabetes, kidney disease, heart disease, back pain, and high blood pressure may require you to restrict your activities. If you previously has a miscarriage or preterm birth, or if you are experiencing a multiple pregnancy, your caregiver may advise you to stop or cut back on your work.
Everyone encounters some stress in life. If your job involves an unusually high amount, however, it could possibly lead to problems in your pregnancy. You will need to modify your work environment to provide less stress, or learn some stress-relieving techniques to help you deal with the situation.
In rare cases, a condition related to your pregnancy may qualify you as disabled. Even such symptoms as nausea, dizziness, and swollen ankles may cause a temporary disability. More serious complications such as infection, bleeding, premature labor, premature rupture of the membranes, heart disease, diabetes, or high blood pressure may cause disability. Other disabilities are related to exposure to high levels of toxic substances that could harm the fetus. If your caregiver determines that your pregnancy is disabling, he can sign a statement verifying your disability. Your employer will be required to give you the same preferences and benefits that are provided to any other disabled employee. If your employer does not routinely provide disability benefits, you may be eligible for benefits from the state.
There may be times during your pregnancy when you find it difficult to cope with your job. If you have morning sickness or are extremely tired or sleepy, making it through another day at work will be a challenge. Make maximum use of your breaks to rest and elevate your feet. Keep nutritious snacks handy to provide energy and relieve nausea. If you sit all day, remember to maintain good posture. Get up and walk around often to improve your circulation and reduce swelling. Above all, listen to your body’s signals. You may find it best to cut back on your hours or just take a day or two of vacation. With common sense on your part and cooperation from your employer, you should be able to make it over the rough spots.
Car Safety During Pregnancy
Most pregnant women wonder if it is advisable to wear a seat belt while riding in a car. The answer is a definite yes. If you protect yourself from injury, you also protect your baby. In auto accidents, most fetal injuries and deaths result from the woman being injured or killed.
Many women are concerned that the seat belt could squeeze the baby and cause a miscarriage. However, there is no evidence that wearing a seat belt results in fetal injury, no matter how serious the collision. Your baby is well cushioned inside your body, surrounded by amniotic fluid and your body organs. A properly worn seat belt is his best protection.
You should wear a lap-shoulder belt whenever you ride in a car. Place the lap portion of the belt underneath your abdominal bulge, as low on your hips as possible. Never put it above your abdomen. Position the shoulder portion of the belt between your breasts. Do not slip the belt off your shoulder. Adjust both parts as snugly as possible.
Always fastening a seat belt around yourself and always using a car seat for your baby after his birth are important ways to protect both of you.
Travel During Pregnancy
If you are like most women, travelling during pregnancy is no problem, as long as you follow a few guidelines. These guidelines are:
• Check with your caregiver to make sure there are no special healthcare concerns that would prevent you from travelling.
- Try to plan any trips for your second trimester, when comfort is the greatest.
- While travelling, walk around often to improve circulation and reduce swelling.
- Wear comfortable shoes and clothing.
- Take along light snacks and juice to prevent hunger and decrease nausea.
- Do no take motion sickness pills or any other medications before checking with your caregiver.
- Take time to eat regularly, nutritious meals.
- Eat plenty of high fiber foods to ease constipation.
- Get your usual amount of sleep, and rest often, elevating your feet.
- If you are travelling far from home, take a copy of your medical record and get the name of a doctor or facility where you could go for treatment if necessary.
- If travelling by car, do not ride for more than 6 hours a day. Stop every 1 to 2 hours to walk around. Always wear a seat belt.
- If travelling by air, sit in an aisle seat for the greatest comfort. Wear layers of clothing so that you can adjust as the cabin temperature changes. Drink plenty of fluids.
- If travelling overseas, drink only bottled beverages, do not use ice in your drinks, and do not eat raw, unpeeled fruits or vegetables. Also, avoid raw or undercooked meat, and make sure that any milk you drink has been pasteurized.
The best guideline you can follow is to keep your plans flexible and to change them according to your body’s signals. If you use common sense, travelling during pregnancy can be a pleasure, not an inconvenience.