Working night shift while pregnant: survive and thrive!

By Dr Pushpa Chandra

Apr 26

Do you work night shifts? Are you pregnant and worried about how you’re going to get through it all? Though it is not ideal or always recommended to work night shifts while you are pregnant, the reality is that it is not always avoidable. Here are some tips that will help you to feel more confident and capable to do your job while carrying that little bundle of joy.

Some tips to help you do your job while carrying that little bundle of joy.

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Take a break when you need to

  • You need to take short, frequent breaks. Even during the work day you need to get up and stretch and walk around a bit.

Rest as much as you can when you are not working

  • Try to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep during the day when you're not working.
  • If you are having trouble sleeping during the day, a sleep mask can help. This way you can block out all of the natural light preventing you from dozing off.
  • If you are uncomfortable, try placing a pillow or two between your legs and under your belly.

Drink lots of fluids

  • Water is the best fluid to consume while pregnant, because it is the best way to keep you hydrated.
  • Keeping a water bottle at your desk or work area makes for easy access.

Eat for health and energy

  • Eat snacks high in protein, like hard-boiled eggs, cheese, roasted chickpeas and raw almonds.
  • Snacks high in iron can help to keep your energy up, because fatigue can be a caused by iron deficiency anemia. Try red meat, leafy green vegetables, poultry, beans, and iron-fortified whole grain cereal. Eat an orange or some strawberries with your iron-fortified foods because vitamin C helps you to absorb iron.
  • If you get nauseous easily avoid foods that trigger nausea. Try whole grain crackers and even candied no sulphite ginger is a great remedy for nausea .

#Snacks high in iron can help keep your energy up when #working shifts while #pregnant.

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Walk around to promote peripheral circulation

Exercising well will help you to sleep well and get re energized . Develop a daily routine of light exercises to keep the fatigue away. Remember to take a break during work to walk and stretch every couple of hours. These are ways it can help:

  • Will help with swollen feet
  • Will prevent back pain
  • Can reinvigorate you

Prioritize your health

Because you are carrying another human being, and your immune system is weaker when you are pregnant, you need to be extra vigilant about your health when you are working. Making your health a priority can help you to work longer and have a healthy pregnancy.

  • If your doctor prescribed you some medicine, take it regularly. Taking your prenatal pills, in addition to a nutritious diet and a lot of fluids of will help you stay well and productive at work.
  • Do not miss your prenatal appointments – talk to your doctor if you feel stressed in any way.
  • Stay away from people who are sick because your immune system is compromised while pregnant.
  • If you work with harmful chemicals, be careful that you don’t come into contact with them in a way that can harm your baby.

Relaxation techniques

Learning techniques that help you to relax can remove some of the stress that comes with pregnancy.

  • Try closing your eyes and taking deep breaths.
  • Keep good posture, especially if you sit at a desk all night.
  • Don’t stress out at home if things don’t get done around the house how you want to. Talk to your husband and develop a plan for getting things done, and make sure to communicate when you are feeling stressed out.

Learning #techniques to help you #relax can remove some #pregnancy stress

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Talk to your doctor

Taking care of yourself is important for you and your baby. Talk to your doctor if:

  • you're experiencing severe exhaustion
  • you’re having premature contractions
  • you are not able to sleep at all during the day

Your doctor will be able to help you to do what you need to get your health back on track.

Talk to your boss

It’s important that you have a great working relationship with your boss, especially when you’re pregnant. Having a good working relationship will help in the upcoming months to make your time there mutually beneficial.

  • Learn about the maternity policies at your company.
  • Talk to your supervisor to help set expectations right at the beginning of your pregnancy, so that you can prepare for your maternity leave.
  • Talk about ways in which you could continue to add value and input to the team, while lightening the hours and the volume of work.
  • Utilize your leaves to catch up on getting your rest, if and when you think it is necessary, and thank your supervisors for the flexibility.

With these tips, you will be prepared to excel on your night shift in the workplace during your pregnancy!

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About the Author

Dr. Pushpa Chandra is a Vancouver based Naturopathic Physician with an integrative approach to healthcare. Her background includes over 27 years of acute care hospital experience as a registered nurse and 22 years at BC Children's Hospital in critical care, working with the province's sickest children. Her special interests include research in circadian rhythm disruption, sports medicine and pediatrics. As a competitive sports enthusiast, Dr Pushpa completed ultramarathons and marathons in all 7 continents including North Pole, Antarctica and Mt Everest. As a shift worker she has been using the ingredients of AWAKE and ASLEEP to boost her performance, endurance and overall health.

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