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ealth Hint #228

How Long Expectant Women Can Stay on the Job

© American Institute for Preventive Medicine, DonR. Powell PhD

Excerpted from "A Year of Health Hints"
365 Practical Ways to Feel Better and Live Longer

With more than half the women in the United States working full time, many want to know how long they can continue to work if they be come pregnant. What's safe? What's wise? What's right for you?

It depends. The Council on Scientific Affairs of the American Medical Association studied the effects of pregnancy on work performance and came up with the guidelines presented in the table below. (As you can see, some women can work until the day they're wheeled into the delivery room with no ill effects.) Of course, you and your physician are the best judges of how work affects your pregnancy and vice versa.


How Long Expectant Women
Continue to Work

Job Demands Week of Pregnancy
Secretarial and light clerical 40
Professional and managerial 40
Sitting, with light tasks 40

--Prolonged (more than 4 hrs.)

--Intermittent (more than 30 min. per hr.) 32
--Intermittent (less than 30 min. per hr.) 40
Stooping and bending below knee level

--Repetitive (more than 10 times per hr.)

--Intermittent (less than 10 but more than 2 times per hr.) 28
--Intermittent (less than 2 times per hr.) 40
Climbing vertical ladders and poles

--Repetitive (more than 4 times per 8-hr. shift)

--Intermittent (less than 4 times per 8-hr. shift) 28
Climbing up and down stairs

--Repetitive ( more than 4 times per 8-hr. shift)

--Intermittent (less than 4 times per 8-hr. shift) 40

--Repetitive (50 lbs. or more)

--Repetitive (less than 50 but more than 25 lbs.) 24
--Repetitive (less than 25 lbs.) 40
--Intermittent (50 lbs. or more) 30
--Intermittent (less than 50 lbs.) 40

SOURCE: Council on Scientific Affairs, "Effects of Pregnancy on Work Performance," Journal of the American Medical Association, vol. 251, no. 15 (April 20, 1984). Copyright 1984. American Medical Association.

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Disclaimer: The information provided on HealthWorld Online is for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek professional medical advice from your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.