Working while Pregnant
Working while pregnant, no matter how easy your job is, can be tough to handle during even the least complicated pregnancy. Your changing body, hormones and emotions may create new challenges in the workplace that will need to be addressed. Remember your new limitations and take care of yourself and the baby. You and your employer may have to make some accommodations to make working while pregnant safe and satisfying for both the new mom and employer. Keep in mind that you are protected by federal and state law — your employer cannot discriminate against you because you are pregnant. Because your pregnancy is legally considered a temporary disability, your employer must make efforts to accommodate you at work.
Your first trimester may be the most challenging time to work during your pregnancy. Many women battle extreme nausea, vomiting and fatigue during this stage. Although you are not required to tell your employer yet, you may want to notify your human resources department and supervisor if you need to take time off, or adjust your work schedule. You may find that once you get past the first trimester, you will be able to get back into your normal routine, and working while pregnant may not be as difficult.
Taking it Easy
Overexerting yourself on a regular basis can set you up for pre-term labor, which puts both you and your baby at risk. Schedule regular breaks to stop and put your feet up if you've been standing, or move around if you've been sitting for long periods of time. Wear shoes that are comfortable, and consider support hose to help with swelling. Pregnant women are more prone to developing repetitive stress injuries, so be sure to keep proper positioning when typing, and make sure your workspace ergonomically friendly. Rest when you can, and be sure to get adequate rest when you're off.
Taking Care of Yourself
Remember to stay hydrated by drinking a lot of water, and take bathroom breaks frequently to avoid urinary tract infection. Have snacks on hand to supplement healthy meals during the day — you'll need good, quality fuel to keep you going throughout the workday. This will also help you avoid morning sickness and low blood sugar which no one wants to deal with — including your coworkers!
If your coworkers want to be accommodating of your pregnancy by helping out, let them. This can help reduce the stress of working during pregnancy, and make it a more pleasurable experience. It is important to keep stress at a minimum when working while pregnant — it will make you a better mom and employee.
If you find that you cannot physically maintain your work schedule, try to work out a new arrangement with your employer. There are several options that may work for both you and your employer, including a part time schedule, job sharing, telecommuting, and freelancing. Your employer may appreciate that you are trying to keep your job performance up, and hopefully will be willing to make arrangements. The most important thing is that you and your baby remain healthy. Keep your options open, and remember that your life will change dramatically once you have a baby — you might just realize that your priorities at work will change as well.