Career Woman

Working while pregnant: what to expect at work

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This guide outlines workplace factors you should be aware of if you plan to be working while pregnant.

For many women, becoming a mother is one of their most exciting and fulfilling experiences. However, it can also be a time of great upheaval, as you suddenly have to juggle work demands with parenting. If you’re considering resigning from work while having a baby, it’s important to weigh the pros and cons carefully before making your decision.

Pros and cons of working while pregnant

The Pros of working while pregnant

One of the main advantages of staying at work during pregnancy is that it can help you to feel more in control. When you’re pregnant, your body is going through so many changes, and you can often feel out of control. Having a job and working while pregnant gives you a sense of stability and normalcy during this time.

It can also be beneficial to your career to keep working while pregnant. If you take time off work, you may find it difficult to get back into the swing of things when you return. Staying at work during pregnancy shows dedication to your job, and can help you to progress in your career.

Another plus point is that it can help you to financially prepare for your baby. With the costs of childcare, nappies and all the other essentials, having a baby can be expensive. If you’re able to continue working during pregnancy, it can help to ease some of the financial pressure.

The Cons of working while pregnant

Of course, there are also some drawbacks to staying at work during pregnancy. One of the main disadvantages of working while pregnant is that it can be very tiring, both physically and emotionally. Pregnancy can be exhausting, and if you’re working long hours, it can leave you feeling completely drained.

It can also be difficult to find time to rest and relax when you’re working. Pregnancy is a time when your body needs plenty of rest, but if you’re working full-time, it can be hard to get enough sleep. This can leave you feeling irritable and stressed, which is not good for either you or your baby.

Another downside is that you may feel like you’re missing out on bonding with your baby. If you’re working long hours, you may not have as much time to spend with your baby as you’d like. This can be difficult to deal with, especially in the early stages of motherhood.

To stay or not to stay?

Whatever you decide, it’s important to make sure that you’re doing what’s best for you and your baby. But if you’ve decided to stay at work during pregnancy, there are some things you need to know to make the experience more manageable and positive.

Things to expect when working while pregnant

1. You might feel tired all the time.

This is one of the most common side effects of pregnancy. Your body is working overtime to create another life, which takes a lot of energy. Don’t be afraid to take a nap or two during your lunch break. If your boss gives you a hard time, remind them that you are entitled to breaks under the Family Medical Leave Act. Also, try to go to bed a little earlier than usual to get some extra rest. This will help you feel more energetic during the day.

2. You might need to pee…a lot.

Another common pregnancy symptom is needing to use the restroom more frequently. This is due to the increased blood flow in your body and the pressure that your growing uterus puts on your bladder. If you find yourself needing to go to the bathroom every 30 minutes or so, try wearing a panty liner to avoid any accidents.

3. You might experience morning sickness…or not.

Not everyone experiences morning sickness, but for those who do, it can be debilitating. If you‘re one of the unlucky ones, try some of these remedies: eat small meals throughout the day instead of three large ones, eat dry crackers before getting out of bed in the morning, and avoid strong smells that trigger nausea. And again, don’t hesitate to take a break if you need to vomit—your boss should understand. 

4. You may need to adjust your work schedule.

Due to fatigue and other pregnancy symptoms, you may need to adjust your schedule when working while pregnant. This could mean working fewer hours, taking more frequent breaks, or working from home more often. Talk to your boss or HR representative to see what options are available to you. Doing so will help you stay productive and not over-exert yourself.

5. Your emotions might be all over the place.

Hormones are crazy during pregnancy and they can cause mood swings that range from happiness and elation one minute to sadness and anxiety the next. Try to ride it out—it won’t last forever and it is completely normal. Talk to your co-workers and boss about what you’re going through so they can be understanding if you have an emotional outburst at work (within reason, of course). 

6. You might not be able to eat like you used to.

One of the not-so-fun side effects of pregnancy is nausea and vomiting, more commonly known as morning sickness. This can happen at any time of day, but is most common in the mornings. If you are feeling nauseous at work, try keeping some crackers by your desk to nibble on. Also, avoid strong smells that can trigger nausea.

7. You might need to wear different clothes.

As your body changes, your work clothes might not fit the way they used to. Invest in a few pairs of comfortable, stretchy pants that you can wear for working while pregnant. Leggings are a great option since they are comfortable and can be dressed up or down. Additionally, look for tops that are stretchy and flowy to accommodate your growing belly.

8. You deserve special treatment!

Pregnancy is not easy, even if it is planned and wanted. Your body is going through so many changes, and it deserves extra care and attention. Don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it when working while pregnant; whether it’s carrying something heavy or just needing someone to listen to you vent about how frustrating pregnancy can be sometimes. 

9. You will need to know your due date.

This may seem obvious, but it’s important to give your employer your due date as soon as you find out. This way, they can plan for your leave and have someone else cover your duties while you’re gone. It’s also a good idea to have a backup plan in case you go into labor early or your baby comes late.

You may use a due date calculator or ask your healthcare provider to know when your baby will arrive. As soon as you have a general idea, let your boss know so they can make the necessary arrangements.

10. You will get lots of advice…whether you want it or not.

Since everyone knows that pregnant women are growing humans inside their bodies, they feel like they have a right to comment on everything from what you eat (“You shouldn’t have caffeine!”) to how much sleep you should be getting (“You should really be sleeping more!”). Just nod and smile—you don’t need to engage with every well-meaning busybody who feels the need to give their two cents (or more!) when you are working while pregnant. 

Wrapping up

Pregnancy is an amazing time filled with lots of new experiences, both good and bad. It can be tough managing work while dealing with all the changes your body is going through, but hopefully, this article has given you some insight into what you can expect when working while pregnant. Just remember to take things one day at a time, listen to your body, and ask for help when you need it. 

Photo by olia danilevich

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