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17 August 2022

How to handle work during pregnancy

pregnant woman working at her desk

Bringing a new life to this world can be a full-time job. And this is a problem if you already have a full-time job. We will let you know how to handle some issues in the coming months. And it all starts with:

Making the announcement

It’s going to be difficult not to spill your secret right away. You will have the butterflies to share it with your colleagues, but the conventional wisdom says it’s good to keep the news to yourself until the first trimester is over.

Make sure your boss is the first one to know. You want him/her to hear it directly from you and not from any office grapevine. Keep your tone upbeat and positive when you tell your boss, and avoid giving too many personal details. Do be prepared with a general idea of the company’s maternity leave policy, but don’t talk about the specific time length of the leave. Just provide an assurance to your boss that productivity won’t be hampered. Once you have informed your boss about the situation, go ahead and tell your colleagues and friends.

Managing morning sickness

Many mothers in the first trimester experience nausea, vomiting, and other discomforts. If you have morning sickness (up to 85% of pregnant women do, though not necessarily only in the morning), the best advice is to eat, eat, eat. Small healthy snacks throughout the day can keep your blood sugar steady and curb nausea. Just in case, try and grab a seat near the door during meetings, so you can do the disappearing act when time calls. You may also put a few plastic bags or packets inside to prepare for vomiting emergencies.

Fighting fatigue

Your biggest challenge will probably be fighting fatigue. A brisk walk at lunchtime can do wonders, as chewing mint-flavoured gum is instantly refreshing. Be careful not to work for long hours in the office; take time to walk outdoors every single day; and have more supplemental oxygen, thus keeping off sleepiness, which also benefits the unborn baby.

Stretching out

Pregnant woman doing yoga stretches

If you are in a sitting job, stand up every 20 minutes and walk around the office. Go see a co-worker instead of sending her an e-mail, go to the drinking fountain to have water, or simply walk around. Since your blood volume has grown a lot, it's important to improve the blood flow in your legs. After a period of time at work, it is important for mothers to do appropriate stretching exercises, get into the habit of leg lifting exercises, etc. These can reduce swelling of the legs and ankles and reduce leg edema.

Safety while commuting

Mothers should also pay special attention to safety while travelling. In the early and mid-pregnancy stages, take precautions such that you do not need to ride for a very long time. Avoid traveling during peak hours as this may result in poorer air quality, making a pregnant woman more nauseated and breathless.

Work conditions

There are professions which may involve more health risks than others, but, as a rule, you must work in a well-ventilated place if you are handling chemical products or have adequate protective equipment to avoid direct contact. Working in places where you may be exposed to biological elements is another situation you must take into account. You must be careful not only if you work in the medical profession but also if you are in contact with a sector of the population that may be more prone to contracting certain illnesses, such as young children in daycare and school, who usually suffer from more illnesses because their immune systems are still developing. Also, if you work with animals, you must take the necessary precautions to avoid contact with viruses or bacteria that could affect you.

Stay hydrated

pregnant woman drinking from a glass of water

Stay well hydrated while at work. Drink a lot of water even if you have to go to the bathroom often (those walks will do you good). And don’t forget to follow a well-balanced diet and rest as much as you can at home.

Squeezing in appointments

Try to schedule doctor’s appointments wisely—plan the doctor’s appointment before you report to work. Always try to be the first patient in the morning or in the afternoon session. You may consider doing some light work in case you are stuck in a traffic jam and get frustrated. It’s also important to schedule your appointments according to your work calendar—completely avoid days when you know you have your weekly meetings or monthly presentations. Occasionally, your doctor may need you to stay for additional tests or treatments, and you don’t want to have the added stress of missing an important work function.

Making the grand exit

Before you can say goodbye to work, you need to hammer out all the details of your leave. Notify your boss of the precise day that you expect to leave and the tentative date of your return; this just helps your boss see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Before you make the grand exit to motherhood, do the necessary handover to your colleagues who will be handling your responsibilities while you are away. Do let your boss know about some specific problems which might require special attention while you are away. Just make sure that you don’t stretch yourself by promising too much too soon. And always remember, your priority in the next few weeks will be you and your new baby.