Many women continue working or going to school (or both)
during pregnancy. Doing so can increase your activity level, help you focus on
things other than your body's changes, and prevent you from feeling
Work or school activities that mostly involve sitting can
usually be continued right up to the due date in an uncomplicated pregnancy.
But if your work or school involves more than 3 hours of standing at a time or
a lot of walking or demanding physical activity, discuss with your doctor how
long you can continue this activity. It's likely that you will simply have to
pay attention to how you feel as your pregnancy progresses and take precautions
not to get overly tired.
- Avoid exposure to people who are sick.
- Avoid being around harmful substances, such as hazardous
chemicals, fumes, or X-rays.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects, standing on ladders, and using or
being near machinery that vibrates.
- Women with uncomplicated pregnancies can usually keep working
until they go into labor. But women who have jobs that require long periods of
standing or repeated lifting, or who often have job-related fatigue, may be at
a higher risk for poor fetal growth,
preterm labor.1, 2
Cutting back or stopping work
Your doctor may want
you to reduce or stop working at some point in your pregnancy if you
If you have to take time off from work because of
pregnancy-related complications, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act may be of
help to you. Under this law, if your employer offers medical disability
benefits, you are entitled to the same insurance benefits, sick leave,
seniority credits, and return-to-work privileges as employees disabled by other
If you intend to return to work soon after delivery,
plan well ahead of time for your maternity leave and child care arrangements.
Quality child care providers often have waiting lists. For more information
about returning to work, see the topic Labor, Delivery, and Postpartum