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Dos and Don’ts for Women Working During Pregnancy


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Pregnancy is a beautiful time in a couple’s life, especially, the mothers, but it can also be exhausting. While working and working out can be rewarding, pregnant women should also remember to follow pregnancy guidelines to avoid complications.

While the risks of pregnancy complications are low, women should avoid jobs with heavy lifting and the ones that are physically demanding. Some jobs expose pregnant women to extreme stress and fatigue, which are harmful to their unborn child. 

Others have long hours and require sitting or standing for long periods of time. If you are pregnant and working, it is particularly important to avoid these jobs. You may also need to take time off to rest.

Pregnant women at work should also be open to ask for and accept help when carrying heavy objects. Try to avoid unnecessary X-rays and environmental toxins like lead, mercury, and pesticides. These toxins can cause birth defects and even miscarriage. 

Some jobs don’t require special accommodations for pregnant women. For example, some women can still work in an office. However, it’s important to consider the physical demands of the job and the type of work. 

The risk of pregnancy complications is lower if the woman is in a healthy state and not in a hazardous environment. Also, jobs that require little physical effort are less likely to involve high levels of stress. 

If you’re pregnant, here are some dos and don’ts for working during pregnancy that you can consider and think over.

Reasons to Stop Working during Pregnancy

Many women decide to quit their jobs during pregnancy. Some women choose to stop working weeks before they go into labour and others choose to work until the very end. Here are some reasons to stop working during pregnancy:

  • Preterm Labor Complications

If you are pregnant, you may be tempted to continue working to keep up with your family. However, the fact of the matter is that working while pregnant can cause complications, including preterm labour. This is why it is important to discuss these risks with your health care provider. Women with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes or high blood pressure, may be more likely to experience preterm labour. 

  • High-Risk Pregnancy

When a pregnant woman is diagnosed with a high-risk pregnancy, it is important to schedule regular check-ups to determine if her pregnancy is a health risk. Women under the age of 17 also have a higher risk of miscarriage. Having a history of problems with previous pregnancies may also put a woman at risk for genetic disorders. If you have a high-risk pregnancy, it is best to take a leave or quit working until after your delivery. 

  • Stress and Pressure

The stress and pressure that a job brings can be detrimental to a pregnant woman’s health and to the growth of her baby. Many women are worried about losing their jobs and careers, but the reality is that many jobs pose both physical and mental risks during pregnancy. In some cases, a woman’s work situation is too risky, or she is facing too many changes at once. If this is the case, it may be best to take a leave of absence from work while pregnant.

  • Physically Demanding Job

While most jobs do not require heavy lifting or prolonged sitting, those involving such tasks increase the risks of preterm birth and miscarriage. Heavy lifting and prolonged standing can also cause injury. A physically demanding job may also lead to other health concerns such as high blood pressure and preterm birth. So if your job is physically demanding, you need to stop working during pregnancy. 

  • Anxiety or Depression

Anxiety and depression are common among pregnant women at work. Both are associated with increased morbidity and mortality in the mother and the fetus. Anxiety and depression during pregnancy can be a major setback for both the mother and child. Most of the time, women are anxious and depressed because of work pressure. If this is the case, you need to stop working for your own well-being. 

Signs to Watch out for to Stop Working During Pregnancy

While many women can manage their usual workload up until about 32 weeks of pregnancy, some types of work are especially harmful during this time. Some jobs involve heavy lifting, exposure to loud noise, and long hours of standing. 

If you have a family history of premature birth, it may be best to stop working earlier. Your doctor will advise you on which types of jobs may not be advisable during pregnancy. In addition, your health may change if you are pregnant, and you’ll need to take care of your baby.

Physical demands can cause pregnancy-related illnesses such as high blood pressure and blood clots. Heavy lifting can also cause injuries to the fetus and may result in a miscarriage or preterm delivery. If your job requires a lot of physical activity, you may want to consider taking early maternity leave. 

Here are some signs of stopping working during pregnancy.

  • You are losing sleep because of work pressure
  • Uncomfortable feeling when sitting and standing
  • Having symptoms of early labour
  • You can’t keep up with work
  • Dizziness and extreme fatigue
  • Period-like cramping
  • Persistent spotting or bleeding
  • You are stressed out because of work
  • Your work is physically demanding

Working During Pregnancy – Do’s and Don’ts

It’s important to keep a healthy work/life balance, especially if you’re pregnant. Although you may have to work long hours, taking regular breaks will make all the difference. It’s best to avoid things that make you sick, including sitting in the same spot all day, as this is bad for your posture and the development of your baby. Here are some dos and don’ts for women working during pregnancy. 

Dos and Don’ts for Easing Nausea and Vomiting

If you’re pregnant and want to reduce your chances of experiencing vomiting and nausea, it’s important to keep your pregnancy-related symptoms under control. Here are some dos and don’ts you need to follow.

  • Avoid scented soaps, which can trigger nausea
  • Try to eat five to six small meals a day
  • Drink lots of water
  • Lemon juice can help you settle your stomach
  • Avoid ice cream or cold beverages
  • Try acupressure wristbands
  • Take anti-emetics and acid reflux blockers
  • Add fruit or vegetable infusions to your liquids
  • Drink ginger ale
  • Try to stay away from foods that trigger your nausea

Dos and Don’ts for Handling Fatigue 

Most women experience some form of fatigue during pregnancy. Whether it’s from leg cramps or the big jump in progesterone, fatigue during pregnancy is a normal part of being pregnant. Your body is trying to tell you that it needs rest. You may feel like you have no energy or are so tired that you can’t function. However, there are things you can do and avoid to alleviate fatigue during pregnancy and get some rest.

  • Stay hydrated and drink plenty of fluids
  • Avoid caffeine and sodas
  • Eat foods rich in iron and protein
  • Carry a water bottle with you all-day
  • Take frequent breaks
  • Go for an exercise
  • Go to bed early
  • Consider changing your schedule
  • Take short naps 
  • Limit the number of hours you work 
  • Take some time off work to focus on yourself

Dos and Don’ts for Keeping Stress Under Control 

Keeping stress under control during pregnancy can be challenging. It affects both you and your baby. Fortunately, you can use methods like mindfulness-based practices to reduce your stress levels. By following these tips, you’ll be able to keep stress under control during pregnancy. This will make your pregnancy a more enjoyable experience for both you and your baby.

  • Try getting enough sleep and exercise 
  • You can also seek social support to help you cope
  • Taking naps is an effective stress relief technique
  • Try focusing on breathing
  • Read books or magazines about pregnancy
  • Talk to your doctor about your fears
  • Don’t stop taking your mental health medicines abruptly
  • Share your frustrations with supportive people
  • Try a prenatal yoga class

Dos and Don’ts for Staying Comfortable

During pregnancy, it is important to stay as comfortable as possible. Morning sickness and back aches are common, and sleeping on your side can be a great way to get a good night’s rest. However, staying comfortable is not always easy, so you need to plan ahead. However, there are certain things you can do to stay comfortable during your pregnancy

  • Invest in body pillows and new sheets
  • Avoid large meals or drinks before going to bed
  • Lie on your side and avoid sitting up straight
  • Wear loose-fitting and comfortable clothes 
  • Eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day
  • Drink plenty of fluids between meals
  • Use an adjustable chair with back support
  • Elevate your legs to avoid swelling
  • Wear comfortable shoes
  • Avoid bending and lifting heavy objects

Dos and Don’ts for Taking Proper Job Precautions

When considering working during pregnancy, it is important to make sure you are taking proper precautions. Occupational safety standards have been put in place, and employers must follow these guidelines. It is also important for pregnant women working to be aware of any hazards at their workplace, so they can avoid them. Here are some things you need to do in order to take proper job precautions.

  • Avoid heavy lifting
  • Always bring a washcloth and paper bag for emergencies
  • Avoid prolonged standing and sitting
  • Make sure the work environment is safe from hazards
  • Avoid excessive noise
  • Avoid exposure to a harmful substance
  • Make sure the temperature at work is not extreme


  • How Many Hours Should a Pregnant Lady Ideally Work?

A pregnant woman is advised to work an average of 40 hours a week. In some cases, doctors might recommend that pregnant women stop working until they give birth.

  • Can Working While Pregnant Hurt Your Baby?

Yes, if you are working in a stressful environment or if your job is physically demanding, it can hurt your baby. Physical demands at work can lead to complications like miscarriage, injury during pregnancy and preterm birth. 

  • Is It Good for a Pregnant Woman to Work Hard?

No, it is not good for a pregnant woman to work hard as it can lead to complications. Some jobs require standing for long periods of time and are dangerous for your pregnancy. So, you need to avoid working hard during pregnancy.


Pregnancy can be quite stressful for women as it leads to fatigue, mood swings, cravings, hormonal imbalance, etc. It is even more difficult for pregnant women working as it can put them under lots of stress and can be physically demanding. So, if you are under lots of pressure or if your work is negatively affecting your pregnancy, it is best to limit your hours or take a leave. If you are working while pregnant, it is best to follow the dos and don’ts to avoid any complications. It will help you to cope with work as well as pregnancy symptoms.

Srujana Mohanty
She is the Managing Editor of Cogito137, one of India’s leading student-run science communication magazines. She's been working in scientific and medical writing and editing since 2018, also associated with the quality assurance team of scientific journal editing. Majored in Chemistry with a minor in Biology at IISER Kolkata, Srujana loves doodling and watching series.


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