Pregnancy is an exciting time, but it can also be a confusing one, especially as you try to strike a balance between your job and all of the physical, mental and emotional changes you’re going through. Achieving that balance can be difficult, but with these tips you can navigate your way through pregnancy and work with relative ease.
1. Keep safe snacks at your desk
Arguably one of the most difficult parts of pregnancy is the first trimester. Many women aren’t yet ready to spill the news about their pregnancy to their employers or coworkers, but morning sickness (that often is more aptly “all day sickness”) can tip off coworkers long before you actually break the news. To keep morning sickness at bay, keep bland snacks at your desk that you can snack on throughout the day. You can usually quell nausea with crackers and pretzels, and many women find that continual snacking helps relieve nausea.
2. Tell your employer
Before you break the news to your coworkers make sure to tell your employer, especially if you work in a small company. The last thing you want is for your employer to find out that you’re pregnant through the work gossip grapevine instead of directly from you. Your employer is also likely to be a little more understanding about frequent trips to the bathroom and a slight decrease in productivity if you’re up front and honest about your pregnancy and how your body is responding to it.
3. Be flexible
In today’s fast-paced society, many women feel the need to keep up the same frenetic pace that they maintained pre-pregnancy. Sometimes, however, you need to just slow down a little bit. Don’t be afraid to take a personal day if you’re really struggling one morning and you’re going to spend more time running back and forth to the bathroom than actually working. Try to juggle around your meetings if you know there’s a certain time of the day that’s particularly rough for you. Be flexible as your body adapts to pregnancy.
4. Learn when you need to say no
As much as you may want to, you’re not going to be able to do everything. You’re going to find you have less and less time outside of work to take on extra tasks as you prepare for the arrival of your baby. Learn when you need to say no instead of trying to take on extra projects even though you truly don’t have the time to fully dedicate yourself to them. This is not the time to be continually stressed over projects that you didn’t actually need to agree to do.
5. Listen to your body
Your body is going through a myriad of changes throughout your entire pregnancy. Listen to your body during this time! If you find yourself getting sleepy during the work day, take a short break and walk around. If you’re getting dizzy because you haven’t eaten enough, get a small snack. Hydrate throughout the day. Take mini mental breaks. Cut yourself some slack from time to time.
6. Find ways to stay comfortable throughout the day
As your body changes you’re going to find that you’re less and less comfortable throughout the day, especially if your job requires you to sit or stand a lot. Find ways to make yourself more comfortable. Ditch the four-inch heels in favor of flats, buy maternity clothes that fit instead of trying to squeeze into your pre-pregnancy pants, invest in a seat cushion – anything that can help increase your comfort levels while helping you continue to maintain your work professionalism will be well worth the investment.
7. Plan your doctor’s appointments wisely
Doctor’s appointments are an inevitable part of pregnancy. From regular appointments with your OB to different blood tests, you’re going to find yourself in quite a few waiting rooms during the next nine months. Try to plan your appointments so that they fit into your work day, not detract from them. If possible, locate a doctor close to your workplace. Schedule appointments for early in the morning, after you leave work for the day or over your lunch break, and avoid scheduling them on days that you know are stacked with meetings or conference calls.
8. Review your company’s maternity leave policy and plan accordingly
Every company is different when it comes to maternity leave. Depending on your company’s policy, you could be looking at fully paid leave, unpaid leave, or something in between. You could have six weeks, or you could have 12. Since there is no hard rule regarding maternity leave, it’s important to find out well in advance what your company’s policy is so that you are able to plan accordingly.
9. Figure out what your work plan is post-pregnancy
Are you planning on going back to work full-time after you have your baby, or are you going to stay at home? Will your employer let you work part-time, or even remotely? There is no right or wrong answer for how you handle employment post-pregnancy, only what’s right for you and your family. Once you do figure out what your post-pregnancy employment plans are, discuss them with your employer. Be up front about what you want to do, that way they have time to find a suitable replacement if you aren’t’t planning on coming back, or you can iron out the logistics of working from home, working part-time or easing back into full-time work.
10. Come up with a game plan for when you go on maternity leave
Before you leave the office to go on maternity leave you need to make sure that you have everything in order so that whoever is filling in for you knows exactly what to do. Tie up as many loose ends as possible, delegate work as needed and create detailed lists so that anyone is able to easily pick up where you’ve left off. This will not only make it easier for anyone filling in for you, it will also make it easier once you re-enter the workplace.
11. Start thinking about childcare
For many expecting moms, the thought of securing childcare is very stressful. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be. Start doing your research early, including evaluating your options and your budget, and you’ll be well on your way to making the right childcare choice for your family. If you’re considering a nanny, give yourself at least four weeks to conduct your nanny search.