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Pregnancy: Work and School Issues


Many people work or go to school (or both) while pregnant.

If there are no problems with your pregnancy, you can probably keep working or going to school until you go into labor.

On the other hand, long periods of standing, repeated lifting, or activities that are very tiring may increase the risk of preterm labor.

Talk with your doctor or midwife if you have to stand for more than 3 hours at a time, walk a lot, or be very active at work or school. You may need to make changes, such as taking rest breaks. Your doctor or midwife can write a letter to your employer or school to request these changes.

If possible:

  • Don't lift heavy objects, stand on ladders, or use or be near machinery that vibrates.
  • Avoid harmful substances, such as hazardous chemicals, fumes, and X-rays. If you can't, wear personal protective equipment (PPE) such as a mask, gloves, and goggles.
  • Stay away from people who are sick.

You may need to cut back on or stop working at some point in your pregnancy if you have an issue such as:

  • Risk factors for preterm labor. These include having a short or dilated cervix before 36 weeks of pregnancy or a history of giving birth before your due date.
  • High blood pressure or other signs of preeclampsia.
  • Signs that the baby is growing more slowly than expected.
  • Twins or more (multiple pregnancy).
  • A problem with the placenta, such as placenta previa.
  • A chronic illness or other problem that isn't responding well to treatment.

Related Information


Current as of: July 10, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.


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