Bump and grind
Whether you spend 9 to 5 at a desk or you’re on your feet from the moment you clock in, you’ll more than likely need to make a few modifications to your work routine once baby is on board.
“Most employers are supportive of women during their pregnancy and often make accommodations for them at their jobs,” reassures Malik. “This can include frequent breaks, limiting strenuous tasks, [or] relocating from one work environment to another to reduce exposure to workplace hazards such as radiation, toxic chemicals and environmental factors.”
As your pregnancy progresses, even the simplest activities, like standing or sitting, can become a literal pain. Taking breaks to move around can lessen swelling in your legs and feet. Make it your goal to walk a bit every two hours, and while you’re up, you can work in a few stretches, too. (See? Those frequent trips to the bathroom are good for more than bladder relief!)
Another way to stay comfortable on the job is by drinking lots of water. Try keeping a glass or reusable bottle on your desk; having something to sip on within reach will help you stay hydrated, and—you guessed it—refilling it at the water cooler is another great excuse to get up.
For those who spend most of the day sitting, use a chair with good lower back support. Add a small pillow or cushion to bolster your back if needed, especially as your weight and posture change. Also important: Avoid crossing your legs, which can hinder circulation, potentially causing blood clots, and tilt your pelvis, which could impede your bambino’s descent down the birth canal.
For those who spend long stretches of time standing, give your feet a break by propping them up one at a time on a box or low stool. What you wear can make an enormous difference, too, so reach for comfortable shoes with good arch support and compression socks or hosiery to keep things flowing smoothly.
You might be hesitant to bring up the need for any workplace adjustments with your boss, but rest assured that employers have their own incentives for supporting pregnant workers. “Usually small changes (periodic breaks, ergonomic chairs, intermittent rest from prolonged standing, etc.) allow expectant mothers to function without a decrease in productivity,” Malik points out. “It also benefits employers because they don’t have to hire and train new employees.”
Your boss may require a letter from your doctor stating that you are cleared to work or verifying any modifications you request. But workplace discrimination based on pregnancy is illegal, and expectant employees must be allowed to work so long as they can perform their jobs.
Many moms-to-be are A-OK to continue working up until their due dates. However, if you feel the need to start your maternity leave a few days early, then give yourself a break and rest up before baby arrives.