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Work and Pregnancy

Guidelines for working during pregnancy:

Many women work during pregnancy without any complications. Being able to work safely, in some cases, until the day of delivery depends on the type of work performed and the mother-to-be's medical condition. However, the workplace does pose certain risks, depending upon the occupation. Knowing what these risks are and minimizing them will help increase the likelihood of a healthy pregnancy. Be sure the discuss the following job risks with your physician at your first prenatal visit:

Taking proper precautions to avoid these risks on the job can help keep you and your baby healthy throughout the pregnancy.

The American Medical Association recommends the following for working pregnant women:

Proper lifting techniques during pregnancy:

Weight gain during pregnancy adds strain to the back. Proper lifting can help reduce the strain and prevent injury. When lifting, a pregnant woman should keep in mind the following recommendations:

  1. stand with feet shoulder-width apart
  2. tuck in the buttocks
  3. bend at the knees
  4. lift with the arms and legs, not the back
  5. limit the amount and weight of the items lifted

The controversy over video display terminals:

Today, many occupations involve the use of a computer. According to the March of Dimes, 50 million workers in the US use a computer on their job. Studies have shown that video display terminals (VDTs) do not emit x-rays to users of the computer.

However, another type of energy emitted by VDTs - electromagnetic field - is under investigation. No link has yet been found between exposure to the electromagnetic field of VDTs and risk to pregnant women. However, as the controversy continues and more studies are conducted, the pregnant woman using a computer should sit at arm's length away from the front of the computer screen.

Computers have also been associated with other complaints, such as neck, wrist, hand, shoulder, and back pain from prolonged sitting in the same position and eye strain. To alleviate these symptoms, the March of Dimes recommends the following:

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