Nursing is a challenging profession, and the everyday duties that come with this profession can become even harder when you are expecting a baby. Working long shifts on your feet can cause swelling and nausea, which are only a few issues you may struggle with.
Research suggests that performing nursing duties during pregnancy is linked to stress, burnout, and fatigue. The nature of this profession, which includes physical and emotional labor, deadlines, and long shifts, increases the chances of nurses quitting their job. Nurses may also become vulnerable to infectious diseases and chemical or radiation exposure while pregnant, risking the baby’s and their own health.
Although working in a hospital is an advantage since you can get immediate medical assistance, pregnant nurse professionals need to focus on their health at work.
Of course, a lot of nursing professionals don’t stop working while they are pregnant. If you wish to continue working as a nurse during your pregnancy, try adopting certain practices for a healthy pregnancy. Continue reading the blog to ensure you have the easiest, happy, and safest pregnancy possible as you keep working as a nursing professional.
1 Schedule Your Shift Hours and Other Commitments Considering Your Health
Nurses usually have to work long hours, which might not be possible when you are pregnant. Swapping your shift timing can help you work with ease during pregnancy. Ask your boss if you can temporarily change to five 8-hour shifts instead of four 12-hour ones. If this is not feasible, you may check with your manager to see if they can shorten your work hours.
Also, if you’re an experienced nurse and planning to advance your career during this period, you can opt for online options such as DNP programs online to advance your nursing education and skills. It will offer you flexibility while not worrying about your health during pregnancy.
2 Keep in Touch With Your Obstetrician
If you plan to continue working as a nurse during your pregnancy, make sure you consult your doctor regarding your decisions. Although you might know better about your body and the regular job tasks, your obstetrician is the expert on childbirth and pregnancy matters and will provide you with a specialized care plan.
Ensure you communicate your plans about workload with your obstetrician before implementing them. Help them properly understand your job position.
Your health requirements could vary as your pregnancy progresses or as your job duties do. In either case, it would be best to update your obstetrician on your situation regularly.
3 Do Not Hesitate to Ask for Help
We have all heard that pregnant women should not lift anything heavy, which includes patients in your case. Lifting heavy things might hurt your back as the growing baby inside you already imposes a strain on your muscles. Don’t be afraid to ask for assistance if you require it. If you are susceptible to premature labor, your doctor may advise you to cease lifting anything heavy after the first trimester.
Pregnant nurse practitioners who work in mental health departments may especially need to be vigilant with patients who tend to lash out. Always ask someone to accompany you for assistance if you are an expectant mother.
4 Listen to What Your Body Needs
Nurses often overlook personal comfort while fulfilling the patient’s needs; however, self-care must be your priority, especially when pregnant.
Pay attention to the symptoms or signs (subtle or sharp) that you might be facing, such as pain in your lower back or elsewhere. If you need to use the bathroom, do so without waiting. Take a break from work if you are feeling worn out.
5 Make Your Diet a Priority
Healthy eating is crucial when you are pregnant. Studies suggest that a mother’s diet can influence the health of the mother and baby, as well as affect the health of the child in their later years. A developing fetus that does not receive sufficient nutrition in the womb is more likely to develop diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure as an adult.
As a pregnant nurse, try to bring your homemade snacks and meals to work. It will help you get all the essential nutrients your body needs to keep you and your baby healthy. Your eating habits may change during pregnancy. Remember to keep snacks and eat something when you think your body needs it.
6 Don’t Forget to Stay Hydrated
We all know hydration is important for us, and it becomes more critical when you are an expectant mother. After all, it can help prevent constipation, swelling, hemorrhoids, and bladder or urinary tract infections.
As a nursing professional with relentless duties, you often forgo your hunger and thirst. Staying hydrated while you are expecting is necessary. Keep a water bottle with you when you are on shift and refill it to consume enough fluids. Take fresh juices if you like to for sufficient hydration. You must drink 1.6 liters or six to eight glasses of water (200ml) each day.
7 Invest in Comfortable Shoes and Clothing
As nurses stand or walk for long hours, a comfortable pair of shoes may help prevent foot, back, or leg pain during pregnancy. Opt for tennis shoes with arch support, slip-resistant soles, and a well-cushioned structure to minimize falls.
Invest in good quality compression stockings as they minimize swelling, promote circulation, and help reduce leg and foot pain. You may find a variety, including maternity ones.
Pregnancy can be uncomfortable, especially when you are working as a nurse. You will probably need comfortable clothing with loose cuts and moisture-wicking features. Buy a few sets of maternity scrubs to fit your developing baby.
8 Relax and Sit Down
Are you standing while taking a history of a patient? Take a seat. At work, you have plenty of opportunities to sit down, yet you rarely do. Make an effort to sit down during these times. You have enough time to be on your feet during your shift, so sitting will only benefit you.
Nurse practitioners spend hours standing and walking to deliver patient care, straining their physical and psychological health. Continuing to work as a nurse while you are expecting is not easy. From mood changes and nausea to sudden hunger pangs and back pain, you might have to struggle to work. Although you can continue working if you wish to during pregnancy, it is crucial to take care of yourself while at work. Be thoughtful of everything, including taking care of your diet, avoiding lifting heavy weights, consulting your doctor, and updating them regularly on your health.