Working while pregnant
As happy as you may be about your pregnancy, being pregnant is not always easy. You’re tired, often sick, uncomfortable, and wondering what strange and miraculous changes your body is going to surprise you with each day. Put working full-time, or even part-time, on top of all of that and it’s absolutely natural to experience anxieties. Here are some helpful tips for easing stress and discomfort on-the-job.
These are not the days of our parents. Women today are encouraged to work through their pregnancies, most up until their time of delivery. More than half of pregnant women today work outside the home and do it successfully; however, there could be safety issues if you work for a company that manufactures or uses hazardous chemicals, or if your job requires out-of-the-ordinary physical activity. It’s up to you, as the parent, to make any fetal-risk decisions, but it’s wisest to do this with the help of your physician or midwife.
If there’s a possibility of standing for more than three hours per day, heavy lifting, working around extremely loud machinery, or shift changes, etc., your doctor may want you to change responsibilities temporarily or monitor your pregnancy more closely.
How to relieve stress at work
Some amount of stress is inevitable when working while pregnant. You’re tired and your hormones will be changing drastically over the nine months. Use the following few tips to help calm your nerves:
- Don’t take on more than you can handle. You may be someone who likes a challenge and tries to fill your day with project after project, but remember that your biggest challenge is to bring a healthy baby into the world.
- Try to take short, frequent breaks in a quiet, comfortable place. Ideally, lying down for a few minutes is best but not always feasible. If you can, take a nap on your lunch break.
- Close your eyes and take deep breaths frequently.
- Drink a warm cup of herbal tea.
- Play soft, calming music in the background, if possible.
- Try aromatherapy of some sort. It’s a very popular notion these days to use different scents for relaxation, as well as for rejuvenation.
- Get plenty of sleep. Once you’re pregnant, you’ll need a few more winks than usual.
- Don’t hold back your emotions (in an appropriate environment). Discussing your concerns and fears with your husband, friends, or physician can definitely reduce anxieties. And, a good cry is always a great stress-reducer.
How can you work more comfortably
As you know, when you become pregnant, your body is in constant change. You gain weight and your center of gravity shifts, not to mention your internal organs which must all find a new location to make room for the bundle of joy. Following are some suggestions on ways to ease your physical discomfort at work:
- If you have a “sit-down” job, sit in a comfortable chair, being sure to get up and walk around a bit every hour or so. If your job doesn’t allow the freedom to take quick breaks, at least stand up and stretch your legs often throughout the day.
- Sit with your legs raised in front of you, on a stool or a box. Frequently pointing and flexing your feet can do wonders for leg circulation and help prevent or relieve muscle cramps.
- Slip your shoes off, if possible. That action is always good for a relaxing sigh!
- It’s important to sit and stand up straight throughout the day. Good posture increases blood flow and, because it also takes pressure off of your diaphragm, may reduce breathlessness in later months of pregnancy.
- Wear a support bra if increased breast size is uncomfortable. If colostrum leakage is a problem, breast pads inside your bra will take care of embarrassing stains.
- Drink lots of water throughout the day to reduce swelling.
- Enjoy frequent, healthy snacks every couple of hours to keep energy levels higher. Plenty of fruits and vegetables, and occasionally yogurt, can help keep bowels regular as well. If nausea and vomiting are a problem, talk to your doctor about special remedies and/or medication, depending on your level of discomfort.
- Dress in loose-fitted clothing. This will go far to alleviate discomfort and overheating. If you experience hot spells, a small fan is also a soothing solution.
- Empty your bladder often to alleviate discomfort and prevent urinary-tract infections.
Maintain your professional appearance
It’s as important for you to maintain your professional appearance as it is for you to maintain your normal workflow. Whether it’s accurate or not, your colleagues may expect you to be less focused on your job and/or your appearance because you’re pregnant. Work is often about impressions. If you look more professional, you’ll feel more professional and will probably be perceived as more professional. Continue to dress as professionally as possible, while remaining comfortable.
- Wear appropriate undergarments. Looser-fitting underwear and a more supportive bra may be just the trick.
- Keep your maternity wardrobe simple. Basic colors without trendy patterns are always more businesslike. You don’t want to distract colleagues with your new outfits; you want them to see you as the same professional person you were before becoming pregnant.
- Wear comfortable, lower-heeled shoes. If you have “happy feet,” you’ll be a happier person.
- Don’t wear restrictive clothing. If you must wear pantyhose, choose maternity support pantyhose, which allow more freedom of movement and better circulation.
It is definitely possible to work while you are pregnant and be more relaxed, comfortable, and look great! The more stress-free you remain throughout your pregnancy, the healthier you, and your baby, will be.