How to balance work during pregnancy
Whether you work full time, part time or are self employed, dealing with pregnancy symptoms on top of working can make your to do list feel twice as challenging. How you cope at work will vary depending on your pregnancy, but for those who may be struggling, here’s a guide on how to manage your pregnancy symptoms at work, and how to make your pregnancy as stress free as possible.
HOW TO EASE MORNING SICKNESS
Morning sickness is a common concern amongst working mothers-to-be, especially if you’re trying to keep things a secret until your 12 week scan. To help you get through the day, here are a few top tips on how to keep the nausea at bay during working hours:
- Stay hydrated
In the first trimester of your pregnancy, you may experience an increase in thirst. It’s important to stay hydrated for both you and your baby, so we recommend drinking 6-8 medium glasses of water a day. Taking small sips every now and then can help to settle your stomach.
- Note down your nausea triggers
Certain foods or smells may trigger your nausea; try avoiding these triggers as best you can, or maybe take a walk outside on your break if someone else’s lunch is the source of the trigger.
- Keep handy snacks with you throughout the day
An empty stomach may make your nausea worse; snacking on dry foods like plain biscuits, rice cakes or crackers will keep you going without upsetting your stomach.
- Have some peppermint tea
The smell of peppermint has been shown to help ease nausea - the perfect excuse to pop the kettle on!
- Get some fresh air
Simple yet effective, nipping outside on your breaks for a stroll could really help make you feel a little less queasy.
- Amend your computer settings
If you work at a computer or laptop all day, reducing the brightness of your screen and making the font bigger can help to reduce eye strain - a common trigger of morning sickness.
- Keep cool
If you’re working from home, opening the windows to ensure you’re kept nice and cool can help to ease any sickness. If you’re in an office, it might be worth asking your boss if you can move seats to be closer to a window, or if you’re keeping your pregnancy a secret for now, there are plenty of affordable desk fans which you can buy online.
- Have an emergency toiletries bag
Just in case the nausea becomes a little too much, taking a mini toiletries bag to work with a toothbrush, mouthwash and wipes will help you feel a little fresher when returning to your desk.
If your morning sickness is becoming too much to handle, we recommend speaking to your GP or health care professional about your symptoms.
FIGHTING PREGNANCY FATIGUE
Fatigue is natural throughout your pregnancy. Being a working mum-to-be, it can be hard to get the rest you need during pregnancy, so here are a few small things that could help:
- Minimise your housework
We understand this may not always be possible, especially if you have other children to care for, but try to complete any household chores in the morning before work, or even save them for the weekend. The last thing you’ll want to do when you get home after a long day is the housework.
- Stay active
Keeping fit during your pregnancy can really help to boost your energy levels. Things like walking, yoga, swimming or light weight training are great options, but make sure to consult your doctor about the safest options for you, first. See our advice on working out whilst pregnant here.
- Have a night time routine
To give yourself the best chance of a good night’s sleep, try giving yourself an hour or so to wind down before heading to bed. Our Metanium parents can all vouch that sleeping with a bump can be difficult, and if you’re currently struggling, you can read our tips on the best sleeping position for you and your bump here.
STAYING COMFORTABLE AT WORK DURING PREGNANCY
Whether you’re sitting, standing or have a manual job, making yourself comfortable whilst pregnant is essential.
- If you sit at a desk or work from home
Pregnancy can be strenuous on your back. Adjusting your desk chair when necessary, and possibly having a pillow or cushion placed behind you, will ensure you aren’t putting added pressure on your body whilst working. As your body tends to hold more water when pregnant, it’s normal for your ankles and feet to swell - so try to elevate your legs when possible to alleviate some pressure in your hardworking feet!
- If you have a manual job
If you have a job which involves prolonged standing, heavy lifting or excessive noise or temperatures, it may be wise to let your boss know that you’re pregnant sooner rather than later - just to be on the safe side. All employers should take an appropriate risk assessment of your job role when you inform them of your pregnancy, which you can read about here.
- If you have to stand for long periods of time
When standing becomes more tiring than usual, you’ve most likely told your employer about your pregnancy. If this is the case, we recommend wearing comfortable shoes that support your arches, and to pop one of your feet on a low stool or box every now and then, switching feet often. You could even ask your employer for a couple minutes here and there to have a sit down.
HANDLING STRESS AT WORK
- Take things slow
If you’re feeling more overwhelmed than usual with your to do list, it’s more than OK to talk to your supervisor about maybe cutting down your workload to accommodate - especially in your third trimester. If you’re currently in this position, we suggest speaking to your employer for some help and support.
- Offload to a loved one
On the topic of communication, there’s sometimes nothing more therapeutic than a good old vent to a friend, colleague or partner. If you’ve joined any pregnancy classes, try opening up the other mums-to-be. It could be that they’re going through exactly the same things as you.
- Manage your workload wisely
Whether you feel alert at 8am or peak after lunch, do your most challenging tasks of the day when you're feeling at your best.
- Talk to your employer
It’s completely normal to worry about your future job role, so our best advice would be to air out all concerns with your employer as soon as possible, and figure out a course of action - this will help to ease any work related stress before your due date.
- Book your check ups and scans in advance
If your doctor's surgery is close by, try to be the first patient in the morning or afternoon so you know your appointment won’t be delayed by the person before you. If you need to travel to your appointments, we recommend avoiding days where you have an important meeting or deadline afterwards, in case your appointment over runs.
We hope these tips will make working whilst pregnant a little easier - each trimester will bring new challenges for your body, but we have faith that you can absolutely get through it. Do you have any pregnancy tips for working parents? Send us a message on Instagram, we’d love to hear them!
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