Managing your pregnancy while working can be quite the juggling act. You can think of it as a prelude to the bigger juggling act you'll be performing when you become a working mom <wink>.
Finding out that you're pregnant may be the best news you'll ever receive. Likely, the thought of your growing baby inside of you is a welcoming and warm feeling. However, the side effects that come with pregnancy, like morning sickness, interrupted sleep and (extreme) fatigue can put a damper on your lifestyle, especially on your career.
Juggling pregnancy and work is difficult for many women, especially those who already have children. If you're wondering how you'll ever be able to properly function at work while pregnant, follow these tips to make this period of your life a bit easier.
Tell your boss you're pregnant
The difficulties associated with pregnancy and working are easier to deal with if you don't have to hide them from your employer. Once you're comfortable announcing your pregnancy, often after the first trimester, tell your boss you're pregnant and discuss your maternity leave options.
Announce your pregnancy to your co-workers
Once your boss knows you're pregnant, juggling pregnancy and work will be even less challenging if your co-workers know as well. On days when you aren't feeling great, your co-workers won't think it's simply because you're slacking on your work duties.
Use your best judgment when sharing the news with colleagues who aren't in your immediate work group.
It might be best to explain any tiredness only when needed, since every woman experiences pregnancy differently.
Be honest about how you feel
On days when you're not performing at 100 percent, be honest with yourself and admit you aren't feeling well. Then tell your co-workers and boss. This may occur more frequently toward the end of your pregnancy when it becomes harder to move around due to more weight gain and fatigue.
Or, you may feel worst in the second trimester and better after those three months pass.
Your colleagues will appreciate your honesty and will likely help pick up the slack. Be sure to return the favor by working extra hard on the days when you feel better.
Start thinking about your options
If you intend to return to work full time after your pregnancy, tell your boss. However, if you think you would prefer a more flexible schedule, the ability to work from home, or returning to work part time after maternity leave, devise a proposal you can present to your boss. You will have an easier time juggling pregnancy and work if your post pregnancy plan is already discussed and agreed upon with your employer.
Properly deal with morning sickness at work
Many women get morning sickness during the first trimester, a time when you may not have yet announced that you're pregnant. For this reason you need a plan of attack for pregnancy symptoms at work, such as nausea. For example, keep crackers in your desk and have an emergency kit that includes a paper bag and washcloth in case you are nauseous or vomit at your desk.
To deal with other pregnancy symptoms, such as fatigue, avoid being on your feet all day. Also try to avoid very strenuous activity, get proper rest and don't travel at the end of your last trimester.
Remember, you shouldn't over-exert yourself so you have a healthy pregnancy.
Prepare for both good and bad days
Know that when you're juggling pregnancy and work you're going to have good days and bad days. There will be days when you're full of energy and excitement and other days when you're suffering from morning sickness and don't want to move. When you're feeling good, get ahead at work, complete projects before deadline and be as efficient as possible. This will allow you to take it easy on the days when you don't feel great.
Take safety precautions
If your job calls for you to work outdoors in inclement weather or in an unsafe environment, ask for a position that provides safer conditions while you're juggling pregnancy and work.
Enjoy being pregnant
Allow yourself time to enjoy the good things about being pregnant, such as shopping for your newborn, and decorating the nursery. In addition, allow yourself to talk about your excitement about being pregnant with coworkers. If you are strictly business at work, you're depriving yourself of sharing your excitement about your pregnancy. (Pay attention to non-verbal cues, since not every colleague will want to hear your personal business.)
Enjoy eating healthily while pregnant; a good diet rich in fruits and vegetables will help you feel good during this special time. In addition, you'll be passing on the good nutrients to your baby.
Edited by Elizabeth McGrory.