There’s nothing easy about being pregnant. (Exciting? Yes. Easy? Absolutely not.) And when you’re working a full-time job, it’s even more challenging. From morning sickness and lethargy to stress and hormonal changes, these nine months can be tough slog. But if you’re intentional with your approach, you can reduce some of the friction and improve your odds of successfully managing all aspects of your temporarily chaotic life.
5 Tips For Juggling Work and Pregnancy
There will be days when you don’t want to get up and work. There will be other days where you feel so moved by the fact that you’re about to bring another little person into this world, you want to work your hardest and advance your career as much as possible to provide the best life you can for your baby. And most days will fall somewhere in between. But no matter where you find yourself today, here are some useful tips you can leverage to juggle work and pregnancy throughout this unique season of your life.
- Notify Your Employer ASAP
You might have heard other working moms tell you to wait a while before informing your employer that you’re pregnant, but this is poor advice.
According to Wrongful Termination Law Group, “You should immediately notify your company that you are pregnant, and request the amount of maternity leave to which you are entitled. This prevents the company from later trying to deny that knowledge. Once the company has been properly notified, any future discipline or termination of a pregnant employee falls under high suspicion of pregnancy discrimination.”
As a pregnant employee, you’re legally protected from being terminated on the grounds of pregnancy. By disclosing it now, you help to establish a clear timeline. It doesn’t make you invincible – you still have to do your job – but it makes it more difficult for your employer to fire you.
- Come to Work Prepared
If you’re going into a physical workplace outside of the home, you’ll want to pack a few items in your bag. This includes things like washcloths, mints, ginger candies, a bagged lunch, a water bottle, and layers of clothing.
In terms of discomfort and changes, the first trimester is usually the worst. You might find yourself getting in a groove during the second trimester. And then, when the third trimester comes around, you have to be ready for whatever might come your way.
- Schedule Checkups in Advance
You’ll need to visit your doctor at least once per month during the early stages of pregnancy. Then during the last few weeks, you’ll almost certainly have a weekly appointment. The sooner you schedule these checkups, the easier it is to avoid work-related conflicts.
If possible, schedule checkups before work or during lunch breaks. (While your doctor may offer appointments after work, you run the risk of being exhausted.)
- Get Plenty of Rest
One of the ironies of pregnancy is that you’re tired all of the time, yet often find it difficult to get the sleep you need. Having said that, it’s imperative that you make sleep a big priority over the next several months.
The key to getting adequate rest is to go to bed at a consistently early time during the week and to utilize weekends for getting extra sleep. If you have an employer who is willing to be flexible with you, consider asking for the option to come into the office an hour later each morning. (This can make a big difference in the amount of sleep you’re able to get. Plus, it can help you combat some of the symptoms of morning sickness in the comforts of your own home.)
- Prepare for Your Maternity Leave Now
One of the biggest mistakes people make is waiting until they’re late in the third trimester to address their maternity leave. The sooner you begin planning for it, the better. And part of planning involves creating a plan for a smooth transition.
If somebody else will be stepping in to handle your duties and responsibilities during your absence, develop lists and standard operating procedures now. Having these conversations ahead of time ensures everyone is on the same page, regardless of if you deliver early or go full-term.
You’ve Got This!
It’s difficult to truly appreciate how challenging it is to work a full-time job while pregnant until you’ve actually been in that position. And while every working mother has a different experience, being prepared for common issues and problems ahead of time will help you embrace the chaos with poise.