Working while pregnant can have its difficulties.
Every women is different and every pregnancy is different – finding what is best for you and baby is most important.
Depending on your occupation, limitations while you are pregnant can vary. If you have a job that requires you to be on your feet all the time, exposes you to hazardous environments, or requires a lot of travel, you may need to talk to your supervisor about accommodations to keep you and your baby healthy.
Here are four tips for working while pregnant.
In first trimester, and sometimes beyond, morning sickness can get the best of women who are pregnant. Despite its name, morning sickness doesn’t always occur in the morning. Ginger chews, ginger ale or lemon drops are options to settle your upset stomach. Occasionally, nausea and vomiting can become so severe that you can no longer complete your normal activities and daily routine. If that is the case, it’s important to notify your provider or midwife.
“For many, eating small, healthy, high-protein snacks and fresh produce throughout the day can reduce nausea and fatigue,” said Julie Roark, certified nurse midwife at Marshfield Clinic Health System. “It’s best to combine protein with complex carbohydrates for staying power. Think peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread, or cheese and whole wheat crackers.”
When you are at work, Roark recommends keeping a stash of remedies at your desk or locker.
Along with nausea, pregnancy can bring forward other discomforts like backaches, heartburn, frequent urination, constipation and more. Learn more with these care tips and discomfort remedies for each of these common symptoms.
If your productivity levels aren’t as high as normal, keep in mind that you are growing a human and you should rest when you can.
Communicate with your boss
When you do announce your pregnancy, it’s a good idea to tell your supervisor or manager first before the entire team.
Your supervisor or Human Resources department should be able to provide you information on your company’s policy for working while pregnant, if any, along with information on maternity leave.
If you need accommodations at work, talk to your women’s health provider about any modifications you may need to make work more manageable. Accommodations may include allowing time off for prenatal appointments, assistance from colleagues on lifting heavy objects, more frequent breaks or chances to sit, or modifying work duties as needed.
Your provider will be able to write a note to your supervisor in order to recommend those modifications. PregnantAtWork.org is a solid resource to keep you up-to-date on your rights.
Because of the change in hormones with pregnancy, you may experience more emotions or mood swings.
If you have a job that is already high stress, the added emotions could be detrimental to your productivity and work relationships.
If you need to, take time every now and then to clear your mind.
Roark recommends taking a brisk walk in the morning or at lunchtime to bring positivity to your mood and give you time away from work stress. If possible, try to simplify your schedule and give yourself extra time to rest.
Take a look at these 10 activities to relieve stress when you are feeling worn out.
Fit in appointments
To ensure a healthy pregnancy, it is important to attend all of the recommended prenatal visits. In the beginning of your pregnancy, you will meet with your provider once a month. Toward the end of your pregnancy, you’ll be going to see your women’s health provider every week or two to make sure you and baby are ready for a healthy delivery.
When scheduling your prenatal appointments, try to schedule after work or on days and times in the week that are least busy for you at work. The idea is to make your schedule as easy for yourself as possible.
Most women are safe to continue working during their pregnancy. Your provider will continue to monitor your health and the health of your baby during those prenatal appointments, and will provide any recommendations for your workload as needed.
Talk to your women’s health provider if you have any concerns or questions throughout your pregnancy to make sure you and your baby are healthy and happy.