Primary Care in Rochester and Kasson

Work more comfortably while pregnant

6/6/2022 by April Shuneson, APRN, CNM


For most women, taking nine months off to rest while pregnant is not a possibility. Women often plan to work until their due date to get the most time possible with their baby during parental leave. But working during pregnancy isn't always easy. 

To stay healthy and productive on the job, it's helpful to understand how to alleviate common pregnancy discomforts. 


Feeling nauseous at work is a common pregnancy discomfort. While commonly called morning sickness, queasiness can occur any time of the day. To keep nausea at bay, avoid things that trigger a sick feeling in your stomach, and snack often. Keep a stash of crackers or another bland food at your desk. 


You might feel tired as your body works overtime to support your pregnancy, and resting during the workday may not be possible. 

To improve energy, try these tips:

  • Eat foods rich in iron and protein. 
    Try red meat, poultry, leafy green vegetables, iron-fortified whole-gran cereal and beans. 
  • Take short, frequent breaks. 
    Getting up and moving around for a few minutes can reinvigorate you. 
  • Drink plenty of fluids. 
    Keep a water bottle in your work area so you can sip throughout the day. 
  • Cut back on activities. 
    Scaling back can help you get more rest after the workday ends. 
  • Keep up your fitness routine. 
    Physical activity can help boost your energy level. Try a prenatal fitness class or take a walk after work, as long as it's OK with your health care professional. 
  • Go to bed early. 
    Try to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night. Resting on your left side will maximize blood flow to your baby and ease swelling. Pillows between your legs and under your belly can add comfort. 

Movement and stress

As your pregnancy progresses, everyday activities, such as sitting and standing, can become uncomfortable. Moving around every few hours can ease muscle tension and help prevent fluid buildup in your legs and feet. 

It's also important to limit the amount of stress at work during your pregnancy. Job stress can sap the energy you need to care for yourself and your baby. To reduce the amount of stress at work, share your frustrations with a supportive co-worker, make daily to-do lists and prioritize your tasks, and practice relaxation techniques. 

Working during pregnancy isn't always easy. If you have concerns about your work duties affecting your pregnancy, talk with your health care professional. 

April Shuneson, APRN, CNM, is a certified midwife at Mayo Clinic Health System in Red Wing, Minnesota.