Working the night shift can be a challenge for anyone, but it becomes even more difficult when you are pregnant. You are going against the natural rhythm of your body. Unfortunately, some types of jobs require shift work, and you just have to get around it. Take care of your body, and it will take care of your baby.
The Kaiser Network reports that there have been studies that link night shift work to late miscarriage or to pre-term births. This should be cause for concern. However, the Royal College of Physicians in London counters this by saying that although some studies suggest that there is a danger, there is not enough evidence to make a widespread statement that night shift work is dangerous across the board. Still, you should aim to take special precautions to take care of your body.
Get Enough Sleep
When you’re pregnant, you’re likely to feel more tired and need more sleep than the average person. Make sure you are getting enough sleep during the day when you are not working. Purchase blackout curtains for your windows to keep your room dark and make sure family and friends know not to disturb you when you are sleeping. Turn off your phone and any other distractions that may wake you up. Try to get at least eight hours of sleep every day.
The food that you put into your body is also nourishing your baby, so make healthy choices. It’s smart to prepare food at home to take with you to work, so that you have healthy options rather than the junk foods in the vending machines. If you have a difficult time eating regular meals in the middle of the night, make sure to eat a big meal before you go to work and when you get home. Take healthy snacks with you.
Protect Your Body
When you are tired, you are more likely to have bad posture, which makes the usual pregnancy aches and pains worse. If you have a desk job, make sure you are sitting tall and that your eyes are looking down at the computer screen. If you must walk around, wear comfortable, supportive shoes and sit down whenever possible. When doing physical work, it’s even more important to lift with your legs to protect your back. Whenever possible, take breaks in your work day to do some stretches.
When you’re not pregnant, you may reach for a cup of coffee or an energy drink to help you get through your night shift. Unfortunately, caffeine is not good for your baby, especially in excessive amounts (more than 1 cup of coffee per day). Instead, look for other ways that you can stay awake throughout your shift, such as making sure that you get enough sleep before work, taking a walk around the office or staying active. You may also be able to increase energy by eating an apple or drinking more water.