Throughout a pregnancy, there are a few things women can do to manage their discomfort. This is especially true at work, where bathrooms are far and few between, and there's often no comfortable furniture to relax on. Even if there are, most jobs frown on their employees taking naps during the workday. That doesn't mean you can't find ways to manage discomfort during pregnancy while working in an office. Here are five ways to stay comfortable when you're working while pregnant.
One of the easiest ways to avoid discomfort starts with making sure you're drinking enough water every day. While easy to overlook, water helps pregnant women avoid dehydration, though that isn't the only benefit. Water works to prevent hemorrhoids, UTIs, constipation and even fatigue — and if there's one thing pregnant woman are, it's tired! Drinking water throughout the day also eases headaches and swelling.
Not sure how much to drink? Until your next prenatal appointment, aim to drink around eight or more 8 oz. glasses of water each day. Then, check in with your doctor for their recommendation based on your body weight and health needs.
If you're looking to manage discomfort during pregnancy, staying physical is key to feeling healthy and strong. Health and fitness expert Helene Byrne says, "One of the main problems with sitting for prolonged periods while pregnant is pooling of blood in the legs and ankles. This dramatically decreases circulation throughout the entire body, which leads to undue fatigue, lack of mental focus, and can progress to dizziness and/or fainting." She recommends pregnant workers make efforts to do small exercises at their desk, as well as getting up to stretch. Short walks around the office will also help you avoid the aches and pains of sitting all day. As a bonus, get outside for a quick 10-minute walk and you'll absorb some vitamin D from the sun.
Feeling hot all of the time, even if it's in the middle of winter? You're not alone. Pregnancy increases your body temperature, and many soon-to-be moms find themselves sweating through their shirts at work. Caleb Backe, a health and wellness expert for Maple Holistics, says, "Being pregnant means you'll be the first in the room to be warm and sometimes the only one. If you don't want to ask the rest of your coworkers to freeze because of your naturally rising body temperature, buy a battery operated fan to keep at your desk. You also may need to bring deodorant with you to work for reapplication when necessary."
"How you sit all day is really important for your health and well-being," reports Backe. He explains, "The height of your chair should be adjustable and should be set so your knees bend at a ninety-degree angle. The back of the chair should be curved to match the natural curvature of your spine." Backe recommends, "If you can't get an adjustable chair, use books to put your feet on and if your chair doesn't curve, add a throw pillow."
And why is ergonomics so important for managing discomfort during pregnancy? Simply because both sitting and standing can do damage on a woman's growing body. Suzanne Brown, author and marketing consultant says, "I requested a stool from work so that I could prop my feet up. That little stool was a small gesture, but it really made a difference for me."
Freelance writer Samantha McDonald agrees and says, "My ankles were so swollen by the end of the day. While at my desk, I would prop my feet up on boxes hidden under my desk to get more comfortable."
Ask for Help
You might feel alone, but your boss and coworkers actually want to help make you feel comfortable during your pregnancy — they just don't know how. When you vocalize your needs, you give them the power to assist in making you comfortable. Teacher Raegan Shaughnessy May says, "I had trouble walking up and down the stairs for my second pregnancy. The other teachers in the building were nice enough to walk my students to and from lunch and specialists."
Simple efforts go a long way during the 40 weeks you'll spend working while pregnant. Whether you're making small adjustments to your workstation or allowing your coworkers to lighten your load, know that there's no reason to suffer through discomfort during pregnancy. You're growing a baby — you deserve all the comforts you can get!