If you’re working while you’re pregnant, a desk job can feel like a luxury when you think about other women out there who are on their feet for hours at a time, or lifting heavy objects, or dealing with extreme temperatures or other uncomfortable working conditions. Sitting at a desk all day is an easier and safer option for a lot of pregnant women, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its challenges and risks. Just because you’re not operating industrial machinery or carrying trays of food through a maze of café tables doesn’t mean you don’t need to take special care of your pregnant body during work hours.
Here are some changes you might need to make as a pregnant desk jockey:
- Don’t sit for too many hours at a time. Get up and walk and stretch frequently to encourage circulation in your legs and feet, which are more likely to swell and develop blood clots during pregnancy.
- Use a comfortable desk chair and make adjustments as necessary. Lumbar back rests can reduce pressure on your lower back (a pillow might even do the trick), and a foot rest can also help ease pressure on joints as well as reduce swelling.
- Adjust the height of your computer monitor and/or desk to accommodate your growing belly and the increased curve of your spine.
- Take care of your hands. Increased fluid in the joints makes pregnant women more at risk for developing carpal tunnel syndrome, a condition characterized by painful hands, wrists, and forearms. Using a wrist rest with your keyboard can be helpful, as can limiting the amount of typing you do.
- Avoid lifting anything heavier than 25 pounds (or 10 pounds in the third trimester), and take special care not to lift things directly off the ground. It’s now someone else’s job to change out the jug on the water cooler for a few months.
- Pregnancy can affect your balance, so be especially careful on step stools, platforms, and stairs.
- Consider telecommuting during the final stages of pregnancy.
- Don’t be afraid to ask your employer for special accommodations you might need. States have laws governing the treatment of pregnant employees, so know your rights and be your own advocate for a safe and healthy pregnancy at the office.