WORKING WHILE PREGNANT: HOW TO HANDLE
Working throughout your pregnancy can be complicated if you do not approach it in the correct way. The Mayo Clinic states that most women are able to continue work Whether it is your first, or your fifth, steps can be taken to help handle your condition. You will experience challenges that you would normally not have to deal with, but it is more than possible to do so.
1. Boss- You may have a good working relationship with your boss, or you may not. Either way, it is extremely important that your direct boss finds out the great news from you, and not through the rumor mill. Be up front and honest with them. If you are needing time off for appointments inform them early to allow them the time that they need to plan to cover your shift, or part of your shift, until you get back.
2. Plan Your Maternity Leave- Do not wait until the last minute to plan for your time off. Obviously, your due date is not necessarily the exact date that you will have the baby, so allow some leeway with your plans. If something should happen and you need to adjust the dates, you will be able to do so without much problem. Having a plan in place allows you to worry more about your baby, and less about keeping your job. While planning your leave make sure that you have adequate pregnancy insurance to cover before, during, and after the birth of the baby.
3. Morning Sickness- As you know, nausea and vomiting can strike at any time during your pregnancy. It does not just hit in the morning. The best way to deal with this sickness is to avoid triggers. If a certain smell causes you to convulse, then avoid it. If eating helps calm your stomach, make sure you can have breaks when needed.
4. Fatigue- Being exhausted all the time is a common issue that pregnant women have. Take your prenatal vitamins every day to help keep your body supplied with the nutrients that you, and the baby, need. Eat healthy foods and keep active. Basically, keeping yourself healthy is a key to help with fatigue, and the basic aches and pains that go along with pregnancy.
5. Comfort- Being comfortable at work may be an impossible task. Complete comfort, anyway. Special allowances can be made for you, though, to help with the issues that occur. If you stand behind a register, you can get a chair placed close by for the times that your legs give out on you. A small fan can be placed to keep you from fainting during your hot flashes. The key is to have open communication with your employer. If you need something, ask your boss, while explaining why.
6. Stress- You are dealing with enough stress in your life. Work should not be adding to it. Unfortunately, most of the time, if you are working through your pregnancy, you will have added stress piled on your shoulders. Moments that are overwhelming need to be walked away from. Once again, talk with your boss and have it made clear that you may need a few extra breaks to allow yourself the time to deal with stress.
7. Breastfeeding- Many pregnant women plan to breastfeed their babies once they are born. To be able to do this you will need to be able to pump milk in a private location. You must also have a cool place to store it, such as a small fridge that has been set up for you. Employers are required to have a safe place for you to set up, pump, and store your milk so make sure you mention this to your supervisor.
The March of Dimes points out that the Pregnancy Discrimination Act prevents employers from preventing you from working. It also protects you against discrimination due to your pregnancy. Most employers will not give you any grief about working until you must take time off, but if it ever comes up, do not be afraid to step up and report them.