Working while pregnant

by Kaiser Permanente |
Pregnant person in red maternity shirt working in home office.

Most people continue to work during pregnancy as long as they and the baby are healthy. Here’s a few things to consider.

Taking care of yourself

You’ll need to take a few extra steps to keep yourself healthy and safe at work. Be sure to:

  • Prevent exposure to fumes (including tobacco smoke), chemicals, or extreme temperatures.
  • Avoid climbing ladders and lifting more than 20 pounds during your second and third trimesters.
  • Bring plenty of water and nutritious foods to eat and drink during the day.
  • Empty your bladder at least once every 2 hours.
  • Rest during your breaks.
  • Take more frequent breaks.

If you have a job where you’re in one position for long hours, consider:

  • Changing positions often.
  • Keeping one foot on a low stool with your knee bent. This can help take pressure off your back.
  • Taking breaks from standing or sitting.
  • Using a supportive maternity belt.

Handling morning sickness

Some people deal with morning sickness throughout their pregnancies. You can help lessen symptoms of morning sickness by:

  • Eating foods containing ginger, which acts as a natural nausea remedy.
  • Sipping water, fruit juice, herbal tea, or other caffeine-free drinks.
  • Trying to eat healthy snacks every 2 or 3 hours.

Dealing with fatigue

It’s also normal to be tired while you’re pregnant, especially in the first trimester. You can help fight fatigue by:

  • Going to bed early.
  • Drinking water all day.
  • Exercising, which can help boost energy levels.
  • Resting during your lunch hour and any other breaks.
  • Taking as many breaks as you can.

When to speak up

If you’re having trouble keeping up your usual pace, talk with your manager. You might need to work fewer hours. Perhaps it’s possible for you to sit if you normally stand most of the day. Don’t hesitate to ask for adjustments that will help keep you and your baby healthy.

This article has been created by a national group of Kaiser Permanente ob-gyns, certified nurse-midwives, pediatricians, lactation consultants and other specialists who came together to provide you with the best pregnancy, birth, postpartum, and newborn information.

Some of the content is used and adapted with permission of The Permanente Medical Group.