Working pregnant women

Working Pregnant Women: Rights & Health Tips

Pregnant women at workplace

If you are a working woman planning for pregnancy, you may be wondering about your work life in the next few months. However there are few laws which protect your rights during pregnancy. Any unfavorable behavior, comments or hostility towards working pregnant women is punishable.

  • Work discrimination by employer during pregnancy is unlawful.
  • All job recruitments should not distinguish women during pregnancy.
  • Job assignments, promotions, increments, fringe benefits apply to pregnant women equally.
  • Leave patterns, health insurance are applicable to pregnant women like any other employees.
  • Special leave patterns are available to pregnant women with full or partial payment.

Jobs not suitable to pregnant women

  • Jobs that require extreme physical exhaustion
  • Medically unsuitable working conditions
  • Impending risk to the life of mother and baby
  • Prolonged working hours
  • Jobs requiring long hours of standing
  • Working conditions with occupational hazards
  • Employment in shift jobs

Special consideration for pregnancy

  • Women with preexisting health conditions
  • Pregnant women with history of fetal loss, neonatal death or repeated abortions
  • Adverse outcomes in previous pregnancy like miscarriage, preterm delivery, small for gestational age, low birth weight, pre-eclampsia and gestational hypertension.

How much physical work can you do during pregnancy?

During pregnancy you should do some physical activity at work. If you are a healthy woman with an uncomplicated singleton pregnancy you can choose a safe workplace with moderate work. You should avoid prolonged working hours, shift work, lifting, standing and heavy physical workload. 

Moreover, moderate physical exercise is healthy in pregnancy. Some physical work is mandatory for all pregnant women. Most women can continue a normal lifestyle of work till late stage of pregnancy.

How to prepare before pregnancy?

 Before planning for pregnancy you and your partner should go through your marital stability, financial conditions and social responsibility. You must plan for help during pregnancy. Enroll into a good health insurance plan which will take care of mother and baby. Discuss about your plans at the workplace so that you can reschedule your jobs and get enough leaves as and when required. Consult your gynecologist to get advice regarding your health conditions and follow up during pregnancy. Any adverse medical conditions should be discussed with your doctor to find the suitable time to plan pregnancy. Drugs and medications may need alteration during your pregnancy period. Take enough supplements and vitamins and continue it throughout the pregnancy period. Get vaccinated for covid, rubella, hepatitis, HPV etc.

Choose your work pattern

If you are a working woman you need to discuss with your doctor regarding the suitability of your job during the pregnancy period. She may advise you to avoid physical exertion and take up light work. Avoid exposure to harmful chemicals or X rays. Health workers working in operation theatre may change their job to outpatient duty instead. Generally pregnant women will need 8 to 10 hours of sleep. You may avoid night shifts and exposure to bright sunlight for long hours. Desk jobs and employment requiring light physical activity are preferable.

Managing domestic work

You will have to take care of the home along with your job responsibilities. Seeking help for domestic work can relieve you of fatigue and mental tiredness. Divide the work responsibilities at home between partners. If you have a kid at home your partner will have to look after him. You can change the food pattern to save the cooking time. For laundry and cleaning services you may take help of a part time maid.

Diet tips for working pregnant women

Nutritious Diet: A well balanced diet gives enough calories for you and your baby. Add fruits and a lot of vegetables to your diet. High protein diet is essential in pregnancy for the growth and development of the growing fetus.

Carry mini Meals: Home cooked food avoids risk of food poisoning and infections.

Bring do-it-yourself healthy snacks: Snacking in between will prevent the nausea and vomiting sensations. At times you may feel dizzy during pregnancy due to low blood sugar. Taking a juice or sugary drink will help you in such conditions to provide immediate energy.

Keep water at your table – Carry a water bottle with you wherever you go. Drinking water helps to keep you hydrated and alert. It washes out the toxins and makes you urinate frequently. This in turn prevents urine infections. Urinary tract infections are dangerous during pregnancy and may lead to preterm delivery. Drinking sufficient water prevents constipation which is common during pregnancy.

Eat each 2 or 3 Hours: Your gynecologist will advise you to take a small amount of food at a time. This prevents you from puking and gastric fullness. In addition it prevents sudden lowering of blood sugar and fatigue.

Personal Hygiene 

  • Be Meticulous regarding hand washing and carry sanitizer in your bag.
  • Dress well, using light and loose clothes are comfortable.
  • Use a clean toilet at the workplace. Frequent urination prevents infection of the urinary tract.
  • Carry clean towels as you may sweat often during hot weather.
  • Fungal infections are common during pregnancy due to accumulation of sweat. Wiping out sweat and using a talcum powder helps you prevent yeast infections.

Match your lifestyle to pregnancy

  • Being lazy may create problems during pregnancy. Try to be alert and active throughout the gestational period. Take a chance and walk around.
  • Ask to facilitate whenever required, don’t hesitate to take help of people around.
  • Stay off from unsteady Screens, avoid using uneven planes where you may fall. Slippery surfaces are dangerous for pregnant women. Use comfortable shoes instead of high pointed heels. 
  • Wear loose cotton clothes which help you breathe easily and imbibes your sweat. 
  • Avoid driving a two wheeler, driving a car is relatively safe.
  • Refrain from using chemical cosmetics, use organic products instead.
  • Stay away from smoking and smokers places. Stop taking  alcohol during pregnancy, it may affect your baby.

Working pregnant women should plan before childbirth

Talk to professionals regarding:

  • Post natal exercises
  • Breast feeding programmes
  • Maternity leave and benefits
  • Newborn care and vaccination
  • Taking care of your health, supplements and wound healing
  • Contraceptives and spacing of the next pregnancy

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