Work and Pregnancy - Nurses?


Have any of you worked as a nurse (12 hr day and night shifts) while being pregnant? How did you manage?


Sorry to be of so little help, but I had to quit both times I’ve been pregnant. I am one of those people who stay sick 24/7 for 9mo! But I’ve had many many fellow nurses who worked right up until they went into labor, and I usually work on med/surg type floors (not a cushy desk job to say the least). I think you’ll just have to see how you yourself handle it. I couldn’t do it. But lots of others do!

Good luck! I had a coworker who worked until the week before she delivered. I worked for the first 6 months on an orthopedic floor, and then my husband graduated and got a job and I was able to quit :slight_smile: But the day after I gave my 2 weeks notice I sprained my hip lifting an obese patient. That really made the rest of the pregnancy difficult.

Here’s my advice:

  1. At the risk of looking like a slacker, do not try to help lift heavy people!!!

  2. Try and break up your 12 hour shifts. I found working 3 12 hour days in a row was horrible. See if you can work one, take a day or two off, and then work the other two. I found two in a row was tough, but manageable.

  3. My coworker who worked her whole pregnancy was often the one who got called off if we were overstaffed, and she was often given assignments close to the nurse’s station so she didn’t have to walk all over the floor all day long. I didn’t get that treatment though, maybe because I was only there for a year by the time I quit :rolleyes: But you could see if you could ask for assignments close together, etc.

  4. I took small frequent breaks and made sure to eat something protein-rich every two hours. People teased me about carrying cheese sticks in my pockets, but it worked!

Good luck! And congratulations on your pregnancy!

Josefa, have you ever visited It’s a really big nursing forum.

I just did a search there for “working while pregnant” and over 10 pages of threads showed up! Here’s a sample of one. (Obviously, it’s not a Catholic board, so you have to wade through a bunch of umm…interesting…discussions sometimes.)

I worked as a pediatric nurse up until delivery, actually worked a 12 hour night shift one night and delivered my son the next night. I did work peds so there wasn’t any heavy lifting. My feet would swell to where I couldn’t wear my shoes by about 4 in the morning. My floor also was a womens surgical floor so my ob/gyn would round early and I would still be there. He would just ask me how my blood pressure was (always fine) so he found no problem.

However, there are guidelines regarding heavy work and pregnancy. You should talk to your ob/gyn about what you should and should not be doing in regards to heavy lifting/pushing/pulling. Use the automatic blood pressure cuff to monitor your blood pressure regularly. Even a small rise in the blood pressure during pregnancy could signal a problem.

I am by no means knocking RN’s, but when I was pregnant with both my kids, I was working as a Nurse’s Aide…pushing wheel chairs, lifting patients, everything my non pregnant co-workers did ( or DIDN’T do! :rolleyes: ) right up until the end. I mean literally the end…with my son I was AT work when I went into labor. I wanted to finish what I was doing first ( maternity was right around the corner from me!) but they made me go home and get my things. I left at 7pm and had him at 4:38 am. With my daughter I was working 3-11, went home when my shift was over.Said “I’ll see ya later” to my coworkers before I left, and had my daughter at 8 am. It all depends on the type of job you have and the people you work with. And how your pregnancy in general is going. Working is not a bad thing. In many cases it is the BEST thing.


There are guidelines outlining what you should and shouldn’t do during a pregnancy - ACOG are the ones I use to evaluate people out on disability during pregnancy.

For some people there is really nothing you can do but work during pregnancy. I had no disability coverage and certainly not enough sick time to take off prior to delivery.

And it’s not just RN’s who should be careful, anyone who works in a heavy strenuous occupation should talk to their ob/gyn’s about it.

On the positive side. The child I carried while working 12 hour nights slept through the night sooner than the ones I carried while working straight days…

You have too look at the shift, unit and facility where you work; with particular attention to the acuity, patient population, staffing patterns, and frequency of being short-staffed. Discuss it with your healthcare provider and your family…and take time for prayer to ask God what He wants you to do.

I was working at a nursing home when I was pregnant with my son (my first child). When I was 5 1/2 months pregnant, an alzheimer’s patient got confused and tried to leave the floor. While I tried to calm him, he punched me in the stomach. I quit the next day out of concern for the baby. But up until that point, I had felt fine.

By the time I was pregnant with my daughter, my MS had gotten bad enough that working was not possible and I had not worked for the two years prior to being pregnant with her. Had I been working, I can tell you that I would not have made it much past the fifth month. At that point, I had some bleeding and was put on what the doc called “couch potato rest” (not quite bed rest, but not a lot of unnecessary walking around). She dropped during the 8th month and the last six or so weeks was spent in utter misery with even a short walk to the bathroom (which happened approx every half hour) being torture.

I think it’s really a matter for the individual. I’ve known a lot of nurses who worked right up until the due date, and a lot who quit a lot earlier.

Good luck and God bless!!


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