Being pregnant isn’t always easy, especially if you are working. Find out how to deal with morning sickness and job stress with the following helpful tips.
Let’s face it, 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.
How can you alleviate the added stress of working through your pregnancy? Here are some helpful tips to consider.
Is it safe for you to continue working?
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 your job requires you to stand for more than three hours per day, engage in heavy lifting, work around extremely loud machinery, or participate in radical shift changes, your doctor may want you to change responsibilities temporarily or monitor your pregnancy more closely.
For any concerns you have about work safety during pregnancy, be sure to visit the Occupational Safety and Health Administration website or the Center for Disease Control website.
How can you relieve stress at work?
Some amount of stress is inevitable when working during your pregnancy. You’re tired and your hormones will be changing drastically over the next nine months. You can calm your nerves and relieve unnecessary stress by employing the following workplace tips:
- 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. 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 decaffeinated herbal tea (stick to teas that are versions of foods or spices already in your diet, such as mint or lemon) or cocoa.
- Play soft, calming music in the background or on headphones, if possible.
- Try aromatherapy (lavender, orange, mint, and lemon are good bets) using 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.
- To keep your emotions in check at work, don’t hold back out of the office. Discussing your concerns and fears with your husband, friends, or physician can definitely reduce anxieties and prevent a workplace meltdown. A good cry in a safe, friendly environment can be a great stress-reducer.
How can you work more comfortably?
During pregnancy, 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!
- 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 plenty 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 to alleviate discomfort and overheating. If you experience hot spells, a small fan is a soothing solution.
- Empty your bladder often to alleviate discomfort and prevent urinary-tract infections.
How can you 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’re 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.