How to Balance Pregnancy and Work

Three Methods:Working in ComfortFighting NauseaGoing to the Doctor

It can be difficult to make important decisions or work on significant projects when you're not feeling your best. Pregnancy can affect your work and life balance, as some women experience fatigue, nausea and hormonal changes. Resting often, eating healthy and just generally taking good care of yourself is the best way to balance pregnancy and work.

Method 1
Working in Comfort

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    Relieve tired feet and legs when possible.
    • Elevate your feet by using a footrest. You can make your own footrest by propping up anything sturdy such as a box or wastebasket.
    • Wear comfortable shoes or remove your shoes whenever possible.
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    Make changes to your workspace as needed.
    • Ask your supervisor or a human resources official for a chair accommodation when pregnant. Ask for a new chair with better support, or seek a lumbar cushion or pillow to relieve pressure in your back.
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    Change your work routine by alternating sitting and standing.
    • If you sit for long periods, make sure to get up and stretch your legs to get proper circulation. If you stand for long periods, ask to take additional breaks or sit when possible to give your legs a rest.
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    Balance pregnancy and work by stretching at least once per hour.
    • Stretch your back by raising your arms above your head for a few seconds. Then place your hands on a wall or desk and push back the resistance.
    • Rotate your ankles in both directions.
    • Bend over and touch your toes, reaching as far as you can. Even while sitting, this move stretches and relieves tension in your shoulders and neck.
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    Dress in layers. Because your body temperature will fluctuate due to hormones, you may need a sweater at times or you may find yourself stripping down to a lightweight camisole.

Method 2
Fighting Nausea

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    Keep snacks on hand to ward off an upset stomach--especially during the first trimester when a rush of hormones can cause morning sickness.
    • Small bites of crackers, muffins or pretzels can help perk your energy throughout the day.
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    Bring your own lunch with nausea-preventing foods. Avoid dining with others if certain smells or foods trigger nausea.
    • Foods high in carbohydrates and protein make good choices for lunch, as both can help stave off nausea. A good lunch may include foods such as low-fat yogurt, peanut butter, bananas, cheese, toast and grilled chicken.
    • Avoid fried foods, which are harder for your body to digest.
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    Drink between meals to stay hydrated, but take only small sips.
    • Beverages that are warm or room temperature are easier to digest. If you're vomiting frequently, try sipping a sports drink, soup or fruit smoothie to replace lost nutrients. Some women also find that ginger ale helps soothe an upset stomach.
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    Bring supplies to help you deal with vomiting at work.
    • Place a wet washcloth in a plastic bag along with a dry washcloth to aid in any cleanup. A clean shirt and some extra foundation or powder helps maintain a good appearance at work.
    • Mouthwash, gum and your toothpaste and toothbrush can help refresh your breath.

Method 3
Going to the Doctor

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    Balance work and pregnancy issues by scheduling your doctor's visits during breaks such as at lunchtime. Doctors often offer early morning or early evening appointments as well.
    • In general, doctor's visits while pregnant are about once a month and become more frequent as your pregnancy progresses. If you can't find time to schedule your appointments during a break, consult your supervisor or human resources professional about using your sick time to cover your absence from work.


  • Don't hesitate to set boundaries. Your co-workers should not be touching your "bump" without permission. Neither should you feel obligated to share personal information, such as the baby's sex or what names you have chosen, unless you want to.
  • Weather permitting, try to walk outside during lunch and breaks. Even a short walk is refreshing.
  • Don't wait until the last minute to prepare for maternity leave. Keep your desk and files neat and orderly. Make a list of computer and voice mail passwords, location of important documents, upcoming deadlines, and contact persons. Your immediate supervisor and whoever will be filling in for you should have copies of the list.
  • Don't assume no one will bother your personal items while you are gone. It might be best to take them home.
  • You may find yourself more emotional than usual, causing you to fly off the handle at your co-workers. Try to keep the peace; don't let yourself get upset by remarks you would ordinarily shrug off.


  • Consult your doctor immediately if you can't keep liquids down, or if your nausea is overwhelming. He may be able to prescribe anti-nausea medication to help you balance pregnancy and work.

Article Info

Categories: Pregnancy | Workplace Conflicts Coping and Issues