12 hour shifts are hard. 12-hour shifts while pregnant?
Here are some universal truths to pregnancy:
- Every woman experiences it differently. From the journey of pre-conception to the first few weeks. The symptoms, how one looks and feels, to the delivery and finally the little baby, all pregnancies are unique.
- Although there are so many differences, there are plenty of similarities. Many symptoms are common among women, and therefore ways to cope with them are also similar.
- There is still so much to learn about pregnancy and labor- a lot we don’t yet know. Studying pregnancy is difficult, and therefore many scientific studies are limited.
In the first trimester of pregnancy, a woman's body is undergoing an extravagant amount of changes. Although you often won’t see a difference in her body shape until closer to the second trimester, the majority of the changes take place in the first 12 weeks. To name a few: the embryo attaches to the uterine wall, and hormones begin to change dramatically. A woman grows a new organ, the placenta, and as a result, her blood volume increases by 50%. These changes in hormones and blood can result in many different symptoms, including nausea, food aversions, food cravings, (often due to imbalances or demands of the body) extreme fatigue, headaches, muscle cramps, body aches, the list goes on…
So, let's get back to this 12-hour nursing shift. When you’re working on your feet all day, in often stressful and demanding situations, it’s imperative to take care of yourself. Taking extra care to treat your body right will help reduce your symptoms and get you through the day.
8 simple things you can do to stay healthy and feel good at work:
- Bring snacks. As we all know, it’s not always easy to get your breaks exactly when you want. But when you’re pregnant, you often need to eat in a more structured manner. Small healthy snacks every 3-4 hours will keep your energy up, and your brain functioning. Always have a few things on hand to grab in case you can't take a proper break- a protein bar, an apple, a handful of nuts and dried fruit.
- Drink water. A good goal is 3L a day. Your bottle should never be empty and you should always have to pee. :) Just make a habit of it and I promise you, your mind will be clearer and you will feel better.
- Sleep. Get 8 hours of sleep. Sleep is one of the more important things you can do for recovery and your days will run smoother with more sleep. If you're having problems sleeping, try investing in a good maternity sleeping pillow, or try a magnesium supplement before bed.
- Sit whenever possible. If you’re charting, sit. If you have 5 minutes to spare, sit. Take the time to sit whenever you can, put your feet up if possible. Don’t worry about what other people think. For you to be the best version of yourself, you need to feel good.
- If your assignment is too much, speak up. Even if you’re still early in your pregnancy and would like to wait to tell the world, your charge nurse should know and understand that you may not be feeling 100%. There is no shame in asking for help or asking for a different assignment if you feel like you can’t be the best version of yourself.
- Talk about what you’re going through. Chances are, you work with tons of other women who have been pregnant at work before. Everyone is different, but similarities come up and getting advice and guidance from others who have been through it will be both helpful emotionally and physically.
- Keep Active. When you're not at work, make sure to move. You may have to tone down the intensity of your exercise if you're feeling fatigued or sore, but just remember to keep moving. Small simple exercises such as walking stairs or yoga will help improve your energy, your strength, and your flexibility. Plus, endorphins make you happy! Exercise will help keep your moods balanced, despite the crazy hormones :).
- Last, of all, ENJOY your pregnancy. Anxiety can affect even your unborn fetus, so do your best to take care of yourself. If it helps, keep a journal to record how you feel. If you're feeling physically terrible, know that this time will soon be over, and you’ll have a perfect little person that you created.
Disclaimer: Kits Scrubs Inc. website and blog not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. As health and nutrition research continuously changes, we do not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or timeliness of any information presented on this website. Please talk to your healthcare provider for medical advice and concerns.