9 Tips for Working As A Nurse While Pregnant

9 Tips for Working As A Nurse While Pregnant

*This post may contain affiliate links.  You can find our disclosure page here. *Post updated on 11/20/19

Nursing is a challenging career, and working 12 hour shifts as a pregnant nurse is no exception.  In fact, most pregnant nurses are concerned about occupational precautions as well as the health of their unborn babies at some point during their pregnancies.

Some of the questions I asked when I was working as a pregnant nurse were:

Was I going to be able to tolerate being on my feet all day? 

What is the best way to prevent dehydration as a pregnant nurse working 12 hour shifts?

And most importantly, how am I going to keep my energy up for my entire shift?!

But by taking proper precautions and always putting safety first, working as a nurse while pregnant is possible. In fact, many nurses work all the way through their pregnancies until a few weeks or days before they give birth.   This information is intended to help you thrive while working as a nurse while pregnant.

Talk to you OBGYN about your concerns about working as a pregnant nurse

First off, it is always important that you talk to your doctor to discuss any occupational concerns you have during your pregnancy. Continue the dialog at your prenatal appointments as you move along your pregnancy.  If you have questions in between your appointments then contact your doctor.

It is also crucial that you communicate with hospital management and your charge nurse about your pregnancy.  They cannot help you avoid potential pregnancy hazards if they don’t know that you are expecting.

Physical challenges of working as a nurse while pregnant

The physicality of working as a pregnant nurse can be very difficult for some women, especially for those working on high acuity floors such as the Emergency Department and Intensive Care Unit.  However, many hospital units are able to offer modified duty for pregnant nurses who have instructions from their doctors to stay off their feet.

However, there are still a few physical challenges that pregnant nurses should consider during nursing shifts:

  • Stress
  • Working night shift or rotating schedules
  • Heavy lifting
  • Exhaustion
  • Standing and walking for long periods of time
  • Managing nausea during shifts

Additional pregnant nurse precautions and occupational hazards to consider

Nursing is unique to many other professions because there are a lot of additional occupational hazards to consider, especially for the pregnant nurse.  Working as a nurse while pregnant can be dangerous for both mom and fetus, therefore it is always important to wear the correct protective equipment or even possible refrain from working with some patients with highly infectious diseases.

Here are a few pregnant nurse precautions to consider:

  • Radiation from diagnostic imaging
  • Standing and walking for long periods of time
  • Working with chemo or other teratogenic medications
  • Risk of infections such as c-diff, tuberculosis, cytomegalovirus, and influenza
  • Physicality of working as a pregnant nurse (such as pulling patients up in bed)
  • Increased risk of varicose veins due to standing for long periods of time
  • Working with violent patient

pregnant nurse talking on phone during a 12 hour shift

Here are 9 helpful tips for pregnant nurses:

1.  Invest in compression stockings or socks

How compression socks help prevent varicose veins

Compression socks and stockings help pregnant nurses by preventing varicose veins due to standing for long periods of time.

During pregnancy, a mother’s blood volume increases by almost 50%!  That’s a lot of extra fluid to be circulating through your body when you are on your feet for 12 hour shifts.  This is also why many pregnant women develop varicose veins during pregnancy.  If you are a pregnant nurse and haven’t invested in compression socks yet, its time to get a couple of pairs ASAP.

Compression stockings are often overlooked as a proactive way to prevent some of the chronic issues that come from working in a profession where you are on your feet for such long hours.  Pregnant women especially benefit from wearing compression stockings or socks during a 12 hour shift for a few reasons:
  • Prevention of varicose veins
  • Improved blood flow and decreased risk of blood clots
  • Decreased swelling of ankles and feet

I was able to continue working as an emergency room nurse up until the beginning of my ninth month of pregnancy because I invested in a few quality pairs of toe to waist compression stockings.  I wouldn’t have made it past my 6th month without them!

2.  Wear good shoes

NIKE shoes for nurses

Pregnant nurses must make sure they have great shoes to support their growing belly’s.

Every nurse needs a great pair of shoes to get through a 12 hour shift.  But the benefits to wearing quality nursing shoes during pregnancy it is even more important.  You will be carrying an extra 25-35 pounds and your feet need support to carry that extra weight.  If you thought your feet hurt working as a nurse before pregnancy, wait until you are pregnant! Keep in mind that your feet will swell a little more during pregnancy.

Things to look for in a great pair of nursing shoes.

  • Comfort
  • Support and stability
  • Slip resistance
  • Work function
  • Price and warranty

You can read more about the best shoes for nurses here!


3.  Pack healthy and energizing snacks

Almonds: a healthy nurse snack!

Working as a nurse while pregnant requires that you fuel your body with healthy nutrients to keep your energy up!

During my first trimester I struggled quite a bit with nausea and an overwhelming feeling of hungover-ness (without any of the fun the night before).  I was also training to be an ER nurse, so it was more important than ever to be alert and focused.

By packing a lunch with nutritious snacks everyday I was able to keep myself energized as well as fend off nausea enough to get through each shift.  I just couldn’t go more than 2-3 hours without refueling myself with something healthy to eat.

Admittedly, when I forgot to bring food with me I would eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches from the stash we gave our patients.  Although they were nothing special, for some reason they tasted amazing.  Never underestimate the hunger of a pregnant nurse!  I felt so much better and able to continue working afterwards.

Here are a few easy, fast, and high energy snacks to help your pregnant body stay energized through your 12 hour shifts:

  • Trail mix
  • Energy bars
  • Almond butter and apples
  • Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches
  • Greek yogurt
  • String cheese
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Edamame
  • Veggies and hummus


4.  Go to bed as early as you can.

To be a healthy nurse you must get a good night's sleep.

Pregnant nurses need their sleep!

You simply cannot sleep too much when you are pregnant.  This is a fact.

Here is a sleep secret that got my through 12 hour shifts during my pregnancy.  I would go down to the hospital meditation room during my lunch break, find a comfortable chair and literally pass out for 45 minutes.  I set my phone alarm to make sure I was back to work on time.  When it when it went off I was so deep in REM sleep that sometimes I didn’t even know where I was when I woke up.

The only way you are going to have the energy to make it through your pregnancy while working 12 hour shifts is to make sure you get as much sleep as you possibly can every night.  8 hours would be ideal.

5.  Aim for 30 minutes of exercise everyday

women practicing yoga

Prenatal yoga can help pregnant nurses deal with stress throughout their pregnancies.

It seams counter intuitive, but exercising while pregnant will actually give you more energy to get through a 12 hour shift. In addition, exercise during pregnancy prevents gestational diabetes and hypertension.

(It is important to talk to your doctor about starting any exercise routine during pregnancy.  There are rare circumstances when your doctor may not want you to exercise while pregnant.)

Non-impact exercises for pregnant nurses include:

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Prenatal yoga
  • Hand weights
  • Low impact aerobics


6.  Reconsider working the night shift

Nurse playing with daughter and examining eyes

Working the night shift can be especially challenging for nurses during their pregnancies. Consider switching to day shift.

The rigorousness of working 12 hour shifts as a nurse is exhausting as it is.  Add pregnancy into the mix and you might find that you are even more tired than ever.

Some pregnant nurses who have already been working night shift continue with that schedule and do just  fine.  However, those who have rotating day and night schedules might find it especially hard to switch back to the night shift once they become pregnant.

Talk to your doctor about whether it is safe for you to continue working night shifts.  Communicate with your manager about your specific health needs during your pregnancy. You may want to switch to a day shift only schedule for the duration of your pregnancy.

7.  Talk to your manager about modified duty

Pregnant Nurse at work

Many facilities are able to offer modified duty for pregnant nurses who can’t be on their feet all day.

As a pregnant nurse it may be necessary to have a modified work assignment.  Especially for nurses who work in rigorous units such as the emergency department.  The physical demands of pregnancy might be too much for pregnant nurses already struggling with fatigue, nausea or having to carry so much extra weight.

Talk to your manager to see if there are alternative assignments you can have such as working at the monitor, organizing paperwork or auditing patient charts.  If these options are not available consider the possibility of working shorter shifts or working two days a week instead of three.

Remember, always ask for help if you need it!

8.  Communicate with management about your intended time to go on maternity leave

It is important to keep open communication with administration about when you intend to go on maternity leave.  As a pregnant nurse, you cannot predict the future.

When I was pregnant with my daughter, I had every intention of working up until my 38th week.  But when I had my appointment at 31 weeks my doctor thought it was best that I didn’t work on my feet for more 6 hours a day.  While 6 hours seems like a lot in most professions,  it’s not much for a hospital nurse.    Sometimes we are on our feet for 10-12 hours a shift!

Yet, I still didn’t want to go off work because for some reason I felt like I was taking advantage of the system.  I thought I had the grit to work all the way through.  So, I waited for two weeks before I finally presented my doctors note to my manager.  When I finally did, I gave it to him with tears in my eyes because I knew he would have to put me on disability at that time.  My maternity leave started at that moment.

It was a good thing in the long run because I suffered a placental abruption and had an emergency c-section 7 weeks before my due date.  It is wise to listen to your doctor’s advice!

9.  Enjoy your pregnancy

pregnant women's belly

Enjoy your pregnancy, nurse!

Pregnancy can and should be a beautiful experience, even when you are a nurse working 12 hour shifts.  Far too often many pregnant nurses focus on the inconveniences and difficulties they face at work during their pregnancies  But with proper precautions it can – and should – be a time filled with good health, gratitude, abundance and most of all, joy.

Recommended reading for the nurse mom:

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pregnant nurse at the doctors office

Pregnant nurse tips: Working as a nurse while pregnant

Simple Time Saving Tips For Nurse Moms

Simple Time Saving Tips For Nurse Moms

(This post about time saving tips for nurse moms contains affiliate links.  You can find my disclosure page here.  To contact us regarding collaboration click here).

To the mom who is a nurse:  You’ve got amazing skills and you are beyond capable of running the world.

At work you are busy caring for patients, organizing plans of care, giving life-saving treatments, advocating for patients, all while continuing to make them feel safe and well-cared for.  Now its time to apply your nurse time management skills at home.  After all, nurses know more then anyone about how to prioritize the most important tasks first.  Our patients lives often depend on it.

Simple Time Saving Tips For Nurse Moms

No one has the ability to multi-task the way a nurse does.  Here are a few time saving tips and tools to help you apply those talents as a mom managing a household:

Simple Time Saving Tips For Nurse Moms:

1.  Have your to-do list in your phone

I love planners because I think they are pretty.  Problem is, when you have children you almost never get a chance to look at them.  Which is why I have found it necessary to keep my to-do lists organized in my phone where I can easily see them.

Here are a few awesome apps to stay organized:

  • Trello:  This is my favorite!
  • Google Tasks:  simple tasks in Gmail and Google Calendar
  • Google Keep:  A bulletin board for your tasks
  • Remember The Milk:  very simple yet powerful task management

2.  Make preparing lunches and family meals easy

Choose from 18 healthy & delicious recipes a week from Sun Basket! Save $45 if you order today!

3.  Listen to podcasts for perspective on nursing, motherhood, parenting and lifestyle tips

Podcasts are a great way to add a little adult conversation to your day.  After the birth of my first baby I seriously missed reading books.  So, I would take my daughter for long walks and listen to podcasts for hours.  I was able to walk off my baby weight relatively fast and learn about ways to make my life easier in the process.

Here are a few of my favorite podcasts:

4.  Make it super simple to tidy up your home

I remember people telling me just to “let things go” after I had a baby.  Then I heard it even more after my second baby.  I think this might be the worst advice I have ever gotten as a new mom.  Who feels better when their lives and homes are a complete disaster?  Not me.

I have found though the years that its easier to keep my home clean and organized when I don’t keep things that we are not using or providing a helpful service to us.  Basically, if its not being used, then its got to go.  Here are two books I read that inspired me to declutter our home and keep it that way:

5.  Make family photo books in 20 minutes with Chatbooks

ChatBooks is a mobile app where you can pick photos from your social media accounts or mobile device and have them printed in a pretty book.   Chatbooks are photo books for people who don’t have time to make photo books (ahem, nurse moms!)  You can easily add, edit, and rearrange your favorite photos to create a beautiful photo book.

Before I had children I had the time to spend hours making photo books and  ordering pictures.  Now that I have children, I want to document everything they do and make hard copy books for our family and ourselves.  Problem is, there just isn’t time anymore!  Chatbooks has been the best and easiest solution for this problem.

Every few months I go through my phone and make a new book.  I have books for both of my children first year of life, all of our family photoshoots, vacations, and other special events.  Plus, it has made it so easy to make great birthday and holiday gifts for grandparents as well.

6.  Get off social media

Limiting social media is simply one of the best time saving tips there is!  There is nothing more time wasteful then scrolling through social media or constantly uploading photos.

Focus on whats most important to you.  Besides, studies say that people who look at social media are likely to become more depressed.  And if your are a busy working mom, you have got no time for that!

I try and focus on any of these productive tasks instead of mindlessly using social media:

  • being a wife
  • raising an amazing kid
  • spending time with friends
  • writing in this blog
  • cooking
  • cleaning
  • reading
  • listening to music or a podcast
  • meditating
  • practicing yoga
  • sleeping
  • relaxing

Recently, I was reading an article about an author named Tim Ferris who wrote a book called The 4-Hour Workweek. He talked a lot about how being perpetually busy just for the sake of business is actually a form of laziness. Ferris explained that on a superficial level, being busy is a satisfying substitute for doing important work. “It’s very easy to confuse activity with productivity,” says Ferris.

This got me thinking…  Is my addiction to social media just me being lazy?  Am I unconsciously browsing social media instead of living my life with intention?  This realization inspired me to do an experiment and quit all forms of social media for one week.  And guess what?…  I survived!  And I was motivated me to limit myself to checking my social media accounts 1-2 times a week from then on.

I have so much more time now to focus on things that actually serve me well.

I hope these time saving tips inspired you to be more productive and purposeful.  Now, continue doing what you do best and continue running the world!

Additional Recommended Reading By Mother Nurse Love:

8 Pumping Essentials For Nurses Who Breastfeed

8 Pumping Essentials For Nurses Who Breastfeed

*This post contains affiliate links that I have personally used and have found essential for pumping at work as a nurse working 12-hour shifts at the hospital.  You can find my disclosure policy here.

Having a new baby is both incredible and overwhelming.  Breastfeeding can be hard for new moms (it certainly was for me!).   Once I finally got the hang of it my maternity leave was almost over and I had another problem to figure out:  how was I going to continue breastfeeding while working as a nurse?

Nurses who breastfeed may face challenges as they return to work.

There is good news for nurses who WANT to continue breastfeeding their babies for up to a year or longer as a working mom and nurse.  It is possible!  But you need to plan in advance and communicate with your workplace about your intention to pump at work.  And you need to have the right pumping supplies to make it possible.

If you don’t plan ahead, pumping at work can be extremely difficult.  But with the right pumping tools and a lot of determination, you will find that you can make pumping fit right into your busy nursing schedule!

Even I can’t believe how long I have been able to pump while working as a nurse.

I am happy to share that I have been successfully pumping as an ER nurse in a very busy level 1 trauma center for the last 13 months.  And I still can’t believe how well it is going!  Sure, there have been a few minor hiccups along the way (like forgetting my breast pump at home, whoops!).   But overall the experience has been way better then I would have thought.

I now know that I will be able to continue pumping breast milk for my baby for as long as I desire.  I want other working moms to know that they can do this too.  (Read more about what I have learned about pumping at work as a nurse).

Nurse in scrubs

Pumping Essentials For The Workplace:

Portable Breast Pump

This pumping essential is the highest on the must-have items, for obvious reasons.  Without it, you have no way to access your milk!   I am using the Medela portable pump because it is the one that my insurance covered and it works great.  You want to make sure that you have a double pump so you can pump both breasts at once to save time.  You can also use this bag to store your breast milk while you are away at work as long as you keep in a refrigerator.

Check with your insurance to see if they cover a portable breast pump before you buy one.  I live in California and my insurance gave me a breast pump free of charge!

(Just a note, the different brands do not work interchangeably with each other.  So you want to make sure you find one brand you like and stick with it!  Otherwise, you will end up with a bunch of parts that don’t work with one another.  You don’t need your back to work pumping supply list to be any longer then it already is!)

Breast Milk Bottles

You will need breast milk collection storage bottles to store your milk until you get home from work.  I use the Medela bottles because I already use the Medela pump but there are several other brands you can use as well.  Just make sure the ones you are using are made without BPA (it’s a safer plastic that helps retain breast milk’s beneficial properties).

I also like the Medela screw-on lids better than some other brands because they are leakproof.  (I tried a different brand and had an issue with leakage all over my packed lunch!).  You can wash them in the sink and they are also dishwasher safe.

Double Pump And Nursing Bra

For the sake of time and efficiency, it is very important that you double pump at work.  I really like this double pumping bra because it makes it possible to double pump without having to hold the pumps with both hands.  Once you start pumping you will find that having to hold the pumps in place is really annoying and makes it difficult to do anything else.  It also helps prevent spilling accidents since you can remove and clean one side at a time.

Reusable Nursing Pads

Engorgement is no joke.  There have been a few times at work when I wasn’t able to pump on schedule and I ended up leaking through my scrubs (you could barely see it, but still!).  As a result of that embarrassing experience I started wearing nursing pads when I was at work.   I already wore them at home from the time my son was about 1 week old.

I use reusable nursing pads made of bamboo because I have read that many disposable pads contain absorbent chemicals which come in direct contact with your skin.  They also run the risk of trapping moisture, especially if your are leaking. This can increase the risk of mastitis, a very painful bacterial infection that will make you sick and can be dangerous if untreated.  Disposable pads can also be expensive over time if you are frequently using them.  I have 12 reusable nursing pads and I run them through the washer and dryer with all my other clothes.

Breast Milk Storage Bags

The beautiful thing about pumping is that you can store your breast milk in the freezer!  So even if you have a surplus of milk you can put it away for later use.   These little breast milk storage baggies are great because you can write the date on the top section so you know how long they have been in the freezer.

Place them in the refrigerator for 12 hours before you need them to thaw them out.  Or place them in a bowl of hot water for quicker use.  These are a necessity for working moms who pump – I have used over 200 of them already!

Milk Storage Organizer

My freezer got a little overloaded with breast milk within the first few months that I was back at work and this milk storage organizer helped me to keep things more organized.  It also helped me keep the milk organized by date so I make sure to use the oldest milk first.

Pumping At Work:  Cleaning Parts And Sanitation

One of the biggest concerns of many nurse moms who are pumping at work is cleanliness.  After all, a hospital is a place where sick people go and it is more full of germs then pretty much anywhere.  The last thing a new mom wants to do is accidentally bring home unwanted bugs to their new baby!  Thus, it is so important to try and keep your breast pump parts as clean as possible while you are pumping during 12-hour shifts.

First, it is very important to try to pump in an area if the hospital that is as clean as possible.  Many hospitals have a lactation room set aside for employees of the hospital.  Talk to your administration about places that you can safely pump that are as germ-free as possible.  Bathroom stalls are not a place for a new mom to pump! You have the right to pump at work as a nurse in a sanitary place!

For more information on successful pumping during 12-hour shifts in the hospital read How To Pump At Work As A Nurse.

Here are a few essentials for keeping pumping parts clean at work:

Medela Quick Clean Breast Pump And Accessory Wipes (72 each)

Medela quick clean breast pump & accessory wipes are perfect for nurses at work with no access to soap or water for cleaning breast pumps and accessories.  Unfortunately, many nurses have no choice but to pump in empty hospital rooms with no running water and therefore have a difficult time cleaning pump parts.  These are still so helpful for me as a nurse who pumps at work.  One wipe cleans both breast shields, valves, and membranes.

I also use these for cleaning changing tables, high chairs, cribs and countertops, toys. and other hard surfaces when I am at home.  And the Medela quick clean wipes are unscented, alcohol and bleach-free as well.

Wet/Dry Bag for Breast Pump Parts with Staging Mat

Having extra-wide wet & dry bag to carry your clean and used pump parts make pumping more sanitary.

I also love using the staging mat so I can set-up & take down my pump parts on a clean surface. This staging mat snaps on to the backside of the bag so that you always have it handy. When you’re setting up and taking down your parts, you want a clean spot to do it, and now regardless of where you need to pump, you’ll have this with you. Just unsnap it from the bag and set it down on a flat surface – and you can do your set up right there. It’s also large enough for you to fit all your parts.

Take it one day at a time, Mama.

Breastfeeding while working as a nurse can be overwhelming, but you can do this!  I hope this list of pumping essentials helps you too!

There are a lot of products on the market and it can be overwhelming for a mom who is preparing to go back to work from maternity leave.  So, make it easier on yourself and have a plan in place before you go back to work (read more about how I pump at work as a registered nurse who works 12-hour shifts).

After successfully pumping at work with two babies I have whittled down my list to include the things that have helped me the most.  I hope this helps to guide you in the right direction to find what works for you too!

It is your legal right to continue to provide breast milk for your children and pump while you are at work.  Do not let anyone tell you differently or make you feel guilty about it.  Only you know what is right for you and your baby.

Let me know how it goes as a pumping mom in the workplace and please reach out to me if you have any questions.  Breastfeeding while working as a nurse IS possible!  Good luck Mama!

Additional Recommended Reading: 

Pump At Work Supply Checklist From A Nurse Who Works 12 Hour Shifts

Fit Nurse:  Simple Ways To Exercise As A Busy Nurse Mom

Fit Nurse: Simple Ways To Exercise As A Busy Nurse Mom

To the nurse who is also a momIt is possible to find time for exercise, but you are going to need to get creative.  Being a nurse mom is challenging, and it’s all about finding balance.

Long gone are the days when I could leisurely wake up naturally and decide whether I wanted to take the 9 a.m. or the 11 a.m. yoga class or when I would put my running clothes on in the afternoon and lay around until I “felt ready” to head out for my jog, sometimes several hours later.

Before becoming a nurse and mom, I used to put a lot of thought into the location of my runs.  Where would I go today?  The beach? Or to the running trail? I never even thought about how long I would be out. I just ran until I felt tired and then called it a day.

Now I’m lucky if I get to squeeze in a 20-minute run after I put the kids down at 8 PM.  And by that time, I’m usually so tired I can barely muster the energy to get out the front door!

For the record, I am happier now than I think I have ever been.  I wouldn’t change anything about all of the blessings in my life that make me so incredibly busy.  I LOVE being a mom and an ER nurse.  But, as a healthcare professional and a person who enjoys a little self-care here and there, I am all too aware that I need to get regular exercise if I want to keep my sanity intact.

Woman doing a plank

What are the simplest ways to exercise as a busy nurse mom?

Over the last month, I have been interviewing fellow nurses to find out how they squeeze in a workout while balancing motherhood and 12-hour shifts.  Some of the feedback I received was very encouraging!  The conversations I had with these nurses convinced me that it is, in fact, very possible to stay fit when it seems that there is no more time in the day.

For me, finding time for fitness has been a trial and error project.  Over the past three years (since my first baby was born), I have tried several methods to squeeze workouts into an already crammed work/life schedule.  Some of these methods worked, some I tried but didn’t stick to, and some never came to fruition.

My journey to stay fit, along with the information shared with me by my fellow nurse comrades, revealed four primary ways that nurse moms can successfully find time to exercise.

Simple ways to exercise as a busy nurse mom

It is possible to find ways to exercise as a busy nurse mom.  Be creative!

Fit nurse tip #1.  Work out before the kids get up.

Before kids, I never in a million years would have dreamed that I would be awake in time to make it to a 6 AM hot yoga class.  But free time is sparse now.  If I don’t make time somewhere, then it won’t happen. It’s as simple as that.

The good news is that when I drag myself out of bed early for a workout, then I feel amazing for the rest of the day.  Sure, I’m tired, but I would be even more tired if I didn’t exercise at all.  By starting my day with a yoga-induced rush of endorphins, not only do I feel better, but I am so much more productive throughout the day.

My goal is to make it to a 6 a.m. class at least two times during the week on the days I don’t work.  Also, I am usually able to fit one early morning class on the weekend as well.  Sometimes it ends up being only once a week, and sometimes if I’m lucky, all three.  But something is always better than nothing!

Fit nurse tip #2.  Work out on your lunch break.

A nurse friend of mine changes into running clothes and goes for a jog during her lunch hour.  Talk about dedication to your health!  She says it works for her because she can do it no matter what time her break is.  Additionally, the midday exercise helps break up the day, helps her deal better with stressful patient assignments, and gives her energy for the rest of the shift. And she is a good role model for patients to boot!

(On another note, my husband replaced his lunch hour with an F45 class 3 times a week.   Although he is not a nurse, he is a busy working parent nonetheless. The benefits for him are so obvious. He is noticeably better able to manage work stress and comes home with significantly more energy at the end of a busy workday. And he says he feels a lot better too!)

Fit nurse tip #3.  Work out after the kids go to bed.

I know a lot of nurse parents who make it to the gym or a yoga class after working a 12-hour shift.  This seems to be the most popular time for many parents because the kids are in bed and it’s an excellent time to work off the stress from the day.  It is an effective way to put the day behind you and do something for yourself after spending 12 hours putting patients’ needs first.

On occasion, I will try to go out for a run or a walk if I still have a little energy left in me, usually during the summer months when the days are a little longer.   Unfortunately, it is also typically when I am the most tired, and I just want to crawl into bed with a book and fall asleep. But I do love listening to music and disconnecting for a little while after a long shift, and a quick run is a relatively easy way to do that!

A post-work run for me is usually pretty quick, 20-25 minutes max.  Unfortunately, if I run too long, then I risk not being able to fall asleep, and there’s not much worse than that.  After all, sleep is essential to the already sleep-deprived parent!

Fit nurse tip#4.  Try squeezing in exercise during the days when you are at home with your kids.

Finding new ways to exercise as a busy nurse mom requires some thinking outside the box.  Why not try squeezing in a workout when you are at home with the kids during the day? Besides, isn’t taking care of a baby or toddler already a kind of workout in itself?

Here are a few ways to exercise with kids in tow:

  • Turn on a workout video in the living room (good when the weather is poor!)
  • Take the kids for a walk in the stroller
  • Take a stroller strides class with other moms
  • Run around with the kids on the playground
  • Kick a soccer ball around with the kids
  • Try teaching your kids with a Gaiam yoga video (watching my daughter practice yoga just melts my heart!)
  • Turn up the music and dance with the kids (it just doesn’t get more fun than that!)

How do you find ways to exercise as a busy nurse mom?   I very much enjoy hearing about ideas of what others are doing.  Feel free to leave a comment!

Additional Recommended Reading:

How To Find Time To Blog As A Busy Nurse & Mom

How To Find Time To Blog As A Busy Nurse & Mom

(This post may contain affiliate links.  You can read my disclosure page here.)

How to find time to blog as a busy nurse and mom:

My biggest challenge as a busy nurse & mom blogger is simply finding the time to work on my blog.  This post discusses ways that I manage to grow my blog despite having a very busy work and home schedule.

#1.  Schedule time to blog

Treat your blog as a side job.  How much time do you have to invest in it at the moment?  Is it only 5 or 10 hours a week like me?  That is better than nothing!  Its going to take you longer to build a blog and following but it can be done.  Building a blog is a marathon, not a sprint.

A lot of people ask me when I have time to work on blogging.  The truth is, not much.  The only time I have to blog is for up to an hour while my kids are napping and after I put them to sleep at 8pm.  On the days I work 12 hour shifts as a nurse I am only able to blog after I get home and shower, and by then it’s usually 9pm.  And I need to try and get some sleep since I’m either up for work or being woken up by one of my children by 5:30 or 6 in the morning!

The most important thing that busy bloggers must do is to be with the little bit of time that they do have.  You can actually get a lot done in 5 -10 hours a week if you use your time wisely.

#2.   Batch write

Instead of writing 1-2 posts a week, try writing 10 over a period of a several days and then schedule them out far in advance.  This process can help you free up a lot of time!   My process goes something like this:

  • Keyword Research and pick titles for 10 blog posts
  • Write outlines for ten blog posts
  • Do all content creation
  • Optimize all SEO
  • Go back and insert affiliate links and internal/external links for each post
  • Make all graphic designs for each post
  • Schedule posts on WordPress scheduler

This process has saved me so much time and just makes blogging more simple.

#3.  Outline your blog posts first

Is your writing method just to start writing and see where it takes you?  Unfortunately, that may not be the most efficient way to get things done.

When you are trying to inform and create a structured piece, more planning is generally better.  After you do your keyword research and pick your title, try writing down each of the points you want to make.  Then you can use those points as headers for the post to break it up into smaller, more digestible pieces to read.

Think of your outline as the foundation that you can build amazing content around.  Outlining will make your posts easily for you to write, and that will save you time.

#4.  Always have a plan for what you are going to do as soon as you have a free moment for blogging.

If you are going to be a blogger you need excellent time management skills.  The second I put my kids down for a nap I know exactly what I am going to spend that hour doing (usually content creation).

I do chores around the house and all of the cooking while my kids are awake.  That way I can free up some time to work on the blog when my kids are asleep.

blogger typing on a laptop

#5.  Quit doing time wasting activities

Stop using social media.   I know  people who spend hours on Instagram every single day, yet they swear they are so busy that they never have time to get anything done!  I bet if you quit using social media for 1 week you would find that you are suddenly so much more productive.  And probably happier and more in the present to boot!

If you are going to be a blogger you have to get really good at using your time wisely.  Be overprotective about your time.  My time is the most important asset I have and it is important to me.  As a result, I rarely use Instagram or Facebook anymore.  Hopefully one day I will be able to source out a lot of my work (except content creation, of course), but until then I’ve got a lot of work to do.  There is no time to waste.

#6.  Use an editorial calendar

I am almost completely paperless, except for my editorial calendar (which I use as a hard copy for pretty much everything that goes into my blog).  You can find editorial calendars online, but I have found that by using my hard copy of EPIC blog and my scheduler on WordPress that I stay super organized.  I always manage to stay on top of deadlines.

At some point I would love to create my own editorial calendar for bloggers.  Until then, my EPIC blog editorial calendar is super helpful!

 

#7.  Listen to blogging podcasts

When you are starting a project and don’t totally have a grasp one what you are doing, there is only one really good thing to do:  find people who are doing it well and learn from them!

Anytime I take my children for a walk in the stroller or I am on my commute to and from work I listen to blogging podcasts.  Podcasts keep me motivated during the times I am physically unable to blog.  Plus I am able to learn from other bloggers who have had some of the same blogging struggles I do.

#8.  Make time for rest and rejuvenation

You can only burn that candle from both ends for so long.  If you work too hard with no rest then you end up burned out, sick and wondering why you even wanted to be a blogger in the first place.  Giving yourself time to rest can also be great for creativity as well.

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Pregnant Nurse Precautions To Consider At Work

Pregnant Nurse Precautions To Consider At Work

As an ER nurse who delivered my second baby in early 2018,  I have done a lot of research about pregnant nurse precautions to be aware of when you work in a hospital.  My goal was to make sure that it was safe for me to continue working in such a physically demanding environment with so many potential occupational hazards.

Fortunately, I was able to work safely right up until a few weeks before giving birth. As a per diem nurse, I did not have any maternity or disability benefits so I wanted to save up as much money as possible before I went out on leave.  Thankfully, I was able to do just that.  But safety was still my number one concern.  I hope this information can help other nurses stay safe during their pregnancies as well.  

Talk to your OBGYN

First off, it is always important that you talk to your doctor to discuss any occupational concerns you have during your pregnancy. Continue the dialog at your prenatal appointments as you move along your pregnancy.  If you have questions in between your appointments then contact your doctor.  

My goal in writing this is not to make pregnant nurses afraid to work in the hospital.  I am so glad that I was able to safely work as a pregnant nurse for as long as I did.  Still, there is no shortage of occupational hazards for the pregnant nurse within the hospital setting. Working safely is the number one goal.  

It is crucial that you communicate with management and your charge nurse about your pregnancy.  They cannot help you avoid potential pregnancy hazards if they don’t know that you are expecting. 

Pregnant nurse precautions to consider at work

Pregnant nurse precautions and hazards to consider:

Radiation from diagnostic imaging

In the ER and on most floor units within the hospital, patients often receive portable X-rays at the bedside.  So naturally, I was concerned about radiation exposure and how it could impact the health of my unborn child.  I felt it was wise to air on the side of safety by not exposing myself to unnecessary radiation during pregnancy.  

If you are in an area where x-rays are being taken, you must wear a lead radiation apron to protect yourself, especially if you are within six feet of the machine.  If possible, it is also a good idea to step outside the room while the image is taken.

In my nursing experience, x-ray technicians usually notify anyone within the vicinity of where imaging is being taken.  I was able to leave the area for a few minutes, whether I was wearing a lead apron or not.  

Key takeaways:  

  • Notify management of pregnancy 
  • Wear lead radiation apron
  • Step outside of the room when portable x-rays are taking place

Dangers from working with chemo or other teratogenic medications

There is evidence that handling some medications, such as chemotherapy drugs, can cause adverse reproductive outcomes including fetal loss, miscarriage, infertility and preterm births.  In addition, it may cause learning disabilities in babies exposed to some drugs if nurses are exposed during pregnancy. 

Wearing protective equipment, such as gowns, masks, and gloves can minimize occupational risk to a pregnant nurse.  However, it does not completely eradicate it

Nurses working in oncology or other areas where antineoplastics are prescribed may want to speak with management about the safest way to continue working.  In addition, you can insist on getting help from co-workers or management to give teratogenic medications to patients.  Moving to another work area may be a consideration if safety for the fetus is still a concern. 

Key takeaways:

  • Wear protective equipment when giving medications
  • Ask for help from co-workers when working with teratogenic medications
  • Consider temporarily working in another area of the hospital during pregnancy as your management allows

Risk for infection

As a pregnant ER nurse, I was very concerned with the risk of infection from patients such as c-diff, tuberculosis, cytomegalovirus, and influenza during my pregnancy.  Since the ER is often the first stop in the hospital for sick patients I often didn’t know that a patient had a contagious infection until after they had been admitted. By then it was too late to protect myself if I hadn’t already. 

Pregnant women need to be especially proactive with protective equipment and hand hygiene. It is ideal for all hospital employees to have their measles, mumps, and varicella-zoster vaccinations before pregnancy (most facilities require these vaccinations to work anyway). Hep B and influenza vaccination can also safely be administered during pregnancy.

As an added precaution, I made sure to change my clothes and shoes before leaving the hospital to minimize the risk of work-to-home contamination.  The first thing I did upon getting home was take a shower to rid myself of any other possible bugs I could have inadvertently carried home with me.

Key takeaways:

  • Stay up to date in all vaccines including the yearly flu vaccine
  • Adhere to strict universal precautions and hand hygiene
  • Request job modification to minimize exposure to certain patient populations
  • Minimize work-to-home contamination by changing work clothes and shoes before going home
  • Shower as soon as you get home from work

The physicality of nursing while pregnant

Being a nurse while pregnant is especially hard work.  Not only are we on our feet for up to 12 hours a day, but pregnant nurses are also carrying an extra 25-plus pounds towards the latter part of pregnancy.  Additionally, the extra girth makes it significantly more difficult to fit into tight spaces.  

Movement becomes even more awkward for pregnant nurses due to having an altered center of gravity.  In addition, high serum levels of progesterone and relaxin loosen muscles, ligaments, and connective tissues.  For nurses who do a lot of heavy, repetitive work requiring lifting, pulling or pushing their risk of musculoskeletal injury is increased.   

It is wise for pregnant nurses to use patient transfer equipment and to ask co-workers for help with moving patients.  However, if your work situation is still too physical for you to manage safely during pregnancy, you may want to consider a modified duty in a lower risk setting with a less physical patient load.  

On another note, pregnant nurses also have a higher risk of developing varicose veins due to an increase in total blood volume caused by pregnancy.  The added blood volume combined with being on one’s feet all day leads to poor circulation, puffy legs and swollen ankles.  Compression socks or stockings can help reduce the risk of blood clots and varicose veins as well as prevent swelling.

Key takeaways:

  • Pregnant nurses may want to inquire about modified duty
  • Understand how the altered center of gravity and hormonal changes in pregnancy predispose a nurse to injury (despite using best lifting practices)
  • Use patient transfer equipment when available
  • Ask for additional staff help with transfers
  • Wear compression socks or stockings

Violent patients

I worked in our ER psychiatric hold area several times throughout my pregnancy.  There were a few incidences where I had patients verbally threaten me and/or begin to escalate towards violence.  I always had a security guard with me and I stayed a good distance away from patients when I felt that my safety could be at risk.  It is likely that I was overly cautious at times, but it is better to be safe than sorry.

Violence against nurses is not uncommon, especially in the ER setting.  Stay vigilant and keep away from any potentially threatening situations.  If a patient is escalating towards violence then leave and call for help immediately.

Working during flu season

The CDC recommends that pregnant women get a flu shot.   Not only do hormone changes during pregnancy often make pregnant women more susceptible to getting the flu, but a common flu symptom is a fever, which may be associated with neural tube defects and other adverse outcomes for a developing baby.  Getting vaccinated can also help protect a baby after birth from flu through passive immunity.

My experience:  The flu season in December 2017 was unusually bad.   Many patients came to our ER for flu symptoms.  Unfortunately, almost every nurse was infected with the flu or a cold at least once during the season.  Myself, included.  

At the time I was over 8 months pregnant and I was really struggling with how horrible I felt.  I always get a flu shot to reduce my chances of getting sick during flu season.  However, if I ever got pregnant again, I might consider starting my maternity leave towards the beginning of flu season.  Especially, if I was that close to my due date.

An unexpected benefit of working as a nurse during pregnancy

One of the best gifts that pregnancy gave me was that it forced me to not be sedentary on days that I felt really tired. (Although while you are carrying an extra 25-35 pounds of extra weight, you may not consider it a benefit).

Many studies show that not moving enough during pregnancy is bad for both mom and baby.  If fact, exercise during pregnancy can actually boost your baby’s brain development and make them smarter.  Who knew that working a 12-hour shift might actually promote health for both you and your unborn baby?

Good luck to you during your pregnancy and take care of yourself, mama!

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