Creating a More Comfortable Workspace During Pregnancy

If you make your workspace as comfortable as possible, you will avoid many of the stresses of working while you're pregnant. Here are easy ways to create a comfortable work environment:

  • Sit in a comfortable chair—Avoid the back pains that come from sitting long hours by choosing a chair with height adjustment if possible. Set it so that your knees bend at a ninety-degree angle. Rest your feet on a stack of books if you can't adjust the chair. Make sure that the back tilts forward and has a curved backrest that fits to the curvature of your spine. If that's missing, use a throw pillow. Rise from your seat by putting one foot in front of the other, and with a straight back, pushing your hips forward and up.
  • Keep files within reach—Arrange your work equipment so that you don't have to stretch or bend too much.
  • Keep cool—Pregnancy will naturally raise your body temperature. Sponge yourself off when you become sweaty and use another application of deodorant. You can also purchase a little battery-operated fan that can attach to your desk to keep you cooler.
  • Avoid unhealthy spaces—Stay out of smoke-filled rooms. They're not only bad for your baby but they can increase your own fatigue. Stay away from noxious fumes, chemicals, or other hazardous odors. And avoid extremes of temperatures.
  • Sit and stand straight—Whenever you think of it, lift your chest, tighten your stomach muscle, and tilt your pelvis forward. Slumping at your desk, for example, will interfere with your breathing. Make room for your belly when you're seated by keeping your feet several inches apart.
  • Slow down—This is not the time to go running up stairs or hurrying around the office.
  • Take frequent breaks—Stand up and walk around after you've been sitting for long periods. Sit down with your feet up if you've been standing for a long time. And lie down on your left side on your lunch hour, if possible. Empty your bladder at least every two hours.
  • Avoid fatigue—Stop working when you're tired. The more strenuous your job, the more you need to cut down on personal activities and rest whenever you can.
  • Ask your coworkers to help—Don't be shy about asking for help when you need it. Most coworkers will be happy to oblige.
Comfort Supplies Checklist
Store these crucial items at your workplace:
  • Tennis shoes or comfortable flat shoes
  • Support hose
  • Sanitary napkins
  • Breast pads
  • Deodorant/antiperspirant
  • Box of tissues
  • Small, battery-operated fan
  • Fruits, vegetables, healthful snack foods, dry crackers, honey, bottled water, and juices
  • Squeeze bottle for water or juices
  • Ice pack and heating pad
  • Wet wipes
  • Lotion or creams for itching and dry skin
  • Doctor-approved medications and vitamins
  • Antacids and gum
  • Acupressure bracelet to help with nausea
  • Toothbrush, toothpaste, and mouthwash
  • A go-with-anything blouse, in case nausea or excessive perspiration gets the better of your clothes
  • Sweater
  • Doctors and/or midwife's phone number and insurance information

More on: Work

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© 2005 by Marla Schram Schwartz. Excerpted from The Working Woman's Baby Planner with permission of its publisher, Sourcebooks, Inc.

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