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Working During Pregnancy

Working During Pregnancy

In most cases, if you have an uncomplicated pregnancy, you should be able to continue working during pregnancy up until the time of your delivery. Talk to your doctor or midwife if your work is hard on your body and they may recommend changes to your work as you progress through your pregnancy. Whether you have a desk job or you're on your feet all day, there are a few easy things you can do to make working during pregnancy more comfortable.

Increase comfort at your desk 

Eight hours can feel like a really long time if you are uncomfortable. If your workplace has ergonomics specialists, speak to them about changes to your work space to increase your comfort. Also, there are exercises and stretches you can do that will help you focus your energy on your work.

Tootsie twirls

Bring your feet up under your desk so your knees are straight and your toes are pointing straight up. Now make circles with your feet, clockwise and counter clockwise. This is a great exercise for easing swollen feet and ankles.

Calf stretches 

Still seated at your desk, place your feet flat on the floor. Now raise your toes and hold the stretch for a count of 10. Then, with your feet flat on the floor, raise your heels as high as you can and hold for a count of 10.

Bottom crunches

While seated, contract the muscles in your buttocks so you feel them bunch. Hold for a count of six. Repeat as many times as you like.


Contract the muscles around your vagina as though you were stopping a stream of urine. Hold for a count of eight. Do this pelvic exercise in sets of 10 throughout the day. This will help keep your muscles toned and help recovery after delivery.

Take care of an aching back 

If your back is in pain, you may try using a small, firm pillow or a lumbar support while at your desk. By wedging it into the small of your back, it can help support those tired muscles that are being strained by your growing tummy.

Standing made easier 

Put your feet up every chance you get. If possible, recline so they're at a level higher than your heart. Wear support hose, which can help prevent varicose veins. Change your shoes halfway through your shift say, from sneakers to athletic sandals, to give your feet a refreshing break.

Chemical concerns

Most occupations are perfectly safe for an expectant mother. However, jobs that expose you to pesticides, lead, and organic gases such as those found in household cleaners - can be a problem.


Stay away from pesticides, no-pest strips, flea collars and dips, and shampoo for head lice.

Organic gases

These gases are given off by paints, paint strippers and other solvents, wood preservatives, aerosol sprays, cleansers and disinfectants, moth repellents, air "fresheners," stored fuels and automotive products, hobby supplies, and dry cleaning products. If your job requires you to use or be near any of these items, check with your doctor. Then, use them strictly according to the manufacturer's directions and make sure your work area is well ventilated.

Work-time snack attack

When the munchies start to tickle your tummy, usually mid-morning and mid-afternoon, turn this snack attack into a nutrition opportunity. Bring some of these single serving snacks (or combine for 2 – 3 servings) from home or select the healthier offerings from the cafeteria or vending machine:

  • 175 grams (3/4 cup) of yogurt of kefir
  • 60 mL (1/4 cup) of nuts or seeds
  • 45 grams (1/2) bagel
  • 50 grams (1 ½ oz.) cheese
  • One medium fresh fruit or vegetable (carrot, apple, pear)
  • 60 mL (1/4 cup) dried fruit
  • 125 mL (1/2 cup) juice
  • 250 mL (1 cup) milk

Get more information on occupational and environmental hazards

The Motherisk program at the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto is a recognized leader for information about medications, natural health products and foods, as well as potentially hazardous substances you may encounter at work or at home during pregnancy and breastfeeding. You may talk to the team at Motherisk by calling the toll-free number 1-877-439-2744.

If you don't find the information you're looking for, please feel free to contact us for additional support.