Healthy pregnant women can carry on with most types of work but certain activities are best avoided, for example, doing anything that puts you at risk of a fall or injury, over exerts you or causes nausea.
You are advised to learn how to delegate certain tasks to others, instead of trying to do everything yourself. Pregnancy is a good opportunity for you to pay greater attention to your own needs and to take them more seriously.
Notifying your employer
The fourth month of pregnancy is often an ideal time to discuss your pregnancy with your employer, as the risk of miscarriage is very slight after the first 12 weeks. In addition, this will give you and your employer sufficient time to come to terms with the new situation, and to make plans for the period leading up to the birth and thereafter.
During pregnancy, you should remain as active as possible and try to get the same amount of exercise as you did before, preferably outdoors. A moderate fitness programme will strengthen your body and enhance your sense of psychological wellbeing. Regular exercise while you are pregnant will also help during the birth.
Swimming is particularly suitable for pregnant women, as it does not exert additional pressure on your joints. Cycling, hiking, walking and tennis are also recommended.
High performance sports or those that unnecessarily overburden your body should be avoided, as should sports that put you at risk of falls, for example, boxing, athletics, skiing, contact sports and horse riding.
Holidays and travel
There are generally no reasons to avoid travelling during pregnancy. Air travel, however, is only possible up to 36 weeks. If you are planning to travel by air, you should have your doctor confirm that there is no risk of a premature birth.
Elasticised stockings are recommended for air travel. During the flight, you should make sure that you drink enough fluid and that you walk around every hour or so to help prevent thrombosis. Most airlines require a special medical clearance (IATA 1986) if you wish to travel within four weeks of your expected due date.
On longer car journeys, ensure that you stop regularly for a break. It is possible that your reaction speed could diminish over the course of your pregnancy. If you find this to be the case it is advisable to let someone else do the driving.
When selecting a holiday destination, consider the following criteria:
- Malaria endemic areas should be avoided
- Unfamiliar climates and hot temperatures place additional strain on your circulation during pregnancy
- The amount of oxygen in the air begins to decline from a height of 2500 metres above sea level
If you are planning to travel, check with your health insurance to see if you are covered for the provision of medical services at your chosen destination.