Managing pregnancy and work is easier than it used to be
Thank goodness! We’re not still stuck in the day when a woman was dispatched to her home or bed at the first sign of being “in a family way.” Pregnant coworkers are no longer an oddity, nor should they be — barring dangerous or highly physical working conditions.
Today, most working moms-to-be plan to stay on the job as long as possible, even throughout the third trimester. Here are a few tips for working while pregnant.
Embrace a Functional Wardrobe
Looking professional while pregnant can be a challenge after the first few months. Just remember you’re not going to be this shape forever.
- Invest in only a few basic maternity dresses, or tops and pants. Choose pieces that fit your company dress code and culture — to get you through the last months.
- Dress outfits up or down with jackets or accessories from your regular working wardrobe, but stick with comfort above all else.
- If it binds, constricts or pinches, leave it. That extends to footwear, too.
Telling Who, and When
You may wish to hold off telling your coworkers at first, just as you hold off telling your family until you are certain of your situation and a healthy pregnancy. There is nothing wrong with that. However, the first person you should tell is your supervisor, or business partner.
- Let them know as soon as you feel comfortable doing so. They can help you with any questions you have about maternity leave or company policies. This includes reasonable accommodations for your condition if your job entails physical requirements you might not be able to meet in later months.
- Most importantly, you’ll want to discuss not only your maternity leave, but your plans to return.
- Being up front with your boss, and your co-workers, about your intentions will lower everybody’s anxiety level. And, they can be a positive part of your support system.
Sitting or standing in the wrong position for an extended period is hard on anybody. It’s even worse if you’re pregnant.
- If you must be seated in front of a computer for most of your day, be sure that your chair, desk and keyboard setup is ergonomically correct to reduce back, neck, arm and eye strain.
- Take frequent breaks to stand, stretch and walk to help with ankle swelling. An adjustable sit-or-stand workstation may be the solution.
- Regardless, take measures to reduce pressure on your lower back. As your pregnancy progresses, there are natural changes in your balance, agility and coordination. Make accommodations as needed
If You Have Morning Sickness
The good news is that it passes after the first trimester for most women. However, it isn’t always in the morning only and, for some, it can show up randomly — usually at the worst possible time. If you’re going through it, here are some tips:
- Avoid eating large amounts. Instead, snack all day to keep your blood sugar levels even and avoid queasiness.
- Keep small packages of crackers, granola bars and hard candy on hand at all times, as well as small bottles of ginger ale.
- Sit near the door at meetings, just in case. If you need to excuse yourself, a quick and quiet exit and return is the way to go.
Approach Everything With A Positive Spin
Pregnancy doesn’t have to sabotage your usual high level of performance. If you’re going through periods of fatigue, discomfort or the hormonal crazies, acknowledge it and move on with a smile. Working full time while pregnant requires stepping up both your time- and self-management skills.
- Talk to your supervisor about flexible hours to ensure you can get your work done.
- Make every effort to schedule doctor appointments for lunch hours , or first thing in the morning if a workday appointment is unavoidable.
- Be sure to get plenty of sleep.
- Tap your support system at home, and don’t be shy about asking friends and family to step up if you need extra help to make it to the finish line.
Finally, never forget that your first concerns should always be the health and safety of your baby and yourself.
- Discuss all aspects of your work with your doctor early on.
- Understand exactly what is OK and what to avoid during your pregnancy.
- Address risk factors immediately, and when in doubt, sit it out.
Your well-managed career will be there when you get back.