It’s okay to curl into a little ball and wish you were no longer working while pregnant
The pain, agony, discomfort and overall sickness that plagues women while pregnant is something people do not talk about.
I had no idea how miserable it is to be pregnant.
It is okay if you want to just cry
- You miss feeling well
- You miss eating without consequences at both ends of your body
- You miss moving without grunting
- You miss having energy
- You downright miss feeling normal!
Its also exhausting pretending everything is great while working. Bottom line people at work do not understand your discomfort and they never will.
All you can do is survive working while pregnant one day at a time!
Despite the pain, mood swings, exhaustion, nausea, inability to bend, waddling, and swelling.
Women get through working by playing it smart and with loads of tips from other women who have been there done that.
For plenty of women, it is possible to work up until they are ready to give birth – you know we have to make that money honey. We also have to save our vacation time for maternity leave. It is a lot of pressure.
As someone who has been pregnant and worked 9+ hours a day AND who worked up until the point her water broke – I know exactly what you are going through. All the pregnant working women of the world do!
Which is why I want to present you with 7 pieces of advice to help get you through work while you are pregnant. They all come with loads of real-life tips from real women who survived and lived to tell about it! I get into the nitty gritty so get comfy and read on.
Heads up! This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission.
#1 Your wardrobe can ruin your day
Surprise! Your shoes no longer fit you!
Or your favorite bra has officially stopped the blood flowing through your body.
Yup, these things happen. So you need to adjust your wardrobe and get comfortable.
This is easier said than done. Trust me I know! But if you put a little extra effort into being comfortable at work, it will help you get through the day a bit easier.
Make sure your shoes are lightweight and have added support or buy inserts for the ones you already have. I avoided heels my whole pregnancy and I was big on heels prior, but my body rejected them.
If your feet swell up try buying a wider version or going up a size. Don’t be afraid to invest in comfortable shoes! They will be a godsend once you get into the later months. I still use my maternity shoes.
If you sit at a desk all day and your feet are just pulsing in your shoes from swelling, then take them off. Have a pair of sandals or slippers to put on while you are sitting at your desk. Try to get a nice stylish shoe alternative that you can walk to your car in at the end of the day. I kept a crate under my desk to elevate my feet, that would help the swelling go down and it helped me get more comfortable.
Over the course of your pregnancy, you will curse the man who invented the bra, even maternity bras. One complaint many pregnant women have is their bra, no matter what size it feels tight. To that, I say take it off!
Okay, so I know it is hard to just rip your bra off and be confident when society expects us to wear a bra. Or it is like an unspoken part of the dress code at work.
Have something on standby that you can put over your chest. If it is cold put your sweater on or if it is hot maybe have a vest on standby or a shawl. Anything oversized and flowy will work.
At the very least, take your bra off in the car before you start driving.
Tips on clothing
- Don’t break the bank on maternity clothes, there are lots of alternatives and you are going to have plenty of other expenses
- Remove those tiny clothes that will no longer fit you, store them or donate them
- Organize your closet so you have easy access to clothes that do fit you, you do not want to be struggling to reach clothes when your belly pops
- Get loose fitting shirts and dresses, they do not have to be maternity
- There are great loose fitting dresses on Amazon – all priced below $20 each, affordable and practical here is one I really like, I bought it one size up, and it fit before and after my bump came, it is super and comfortable, fits the boob area well and is very stretchy TAM WARE
WomensCasual Dress (affiliate link).
The rest of my shopping was done in Ross’ maternity section. I bought some slacks, long loose shirts and one fitted dress that highlights my bump. Most of the clothes I bought were reused after the baby was born. Plus, they were loose enough to hide my post-partum belly without making me feel self-conscious.
#2 How to stop fantasizing about sleeping under your desk
When you are pregnant, you just want to curl up under your desk and sleep like George
Unfortunately, there is probably no boss in the world that would let you do that on company time.
Staying energized may seem like a daunting task when both your work and your pregnancy are draining every inch of you. However, there are a few steps you can take to help you weather through the storm.
- Drink Water – your body needs a lot of water now that you are pregnant, water will help you stay hydrated, it should not nauseate you, and it will help with your milk production
- Eat Breakfast – choose oatmeal or cereal if you have trouble keeping anything down; stick to bland foods, but do your best to eat something I know it is hard when you are nauseated, do so at your own pace
- Snacks – have nuts, apples, crackers, carrots, etc. on hand; once in a while indulge in your favorite sinful snack to help satisfy your cravings and just make you feel human again (instead of a zombie)
- Exercise – speak to your provider about an exercise routine, certain workouts may need to be modified; at the very least, try to take a few minutes out of your schedule to walk around the office and go up and down a few flights of stairs
**If you like this page you might enjoy these article on how to survive and thrive as a working mom**
#3 These are your final resting days, sleep while you can
Do me a favor, sleep while you can! Sleep before your before your belly is huge and your discomfort keeps you up all night. Sleep before your baby keeps you up for the next 18 years.
Pregnancy is extremely draining and you must rest as much as possible. Lack of sleep will definitely make the workday harder to get through.
Go to sleep earlier than you are used to. Beware, when you are in your third-trimester sleeping does become a challenge, so sleep, rest, and relax while you can.
A pregnancy pillow will really help with the discomfort of the butt, back, and neck. It provides a nice cushion for your belly. Depending on what position you use it in, is the type of relief you can receive. It is a must-have to get some rest, or at least be semi-comfortable. Especially since sleeping on your back is not recommended.
Make it one of the first things you buy when you first find out you pregnant. You can use it the entire pregnancy and even after.
The one I use is the Leachco Snoogle Original Total Body Pillow (affiliate link). It is the maternity product I use the most, out of everything I bought when I found out I was pregnant. I have an 18-month-old and still use it today!
It helps me that much. I never sleep without it, even when I travel, that is me lugging my huge maternity pillow through the hotel. Now that my baby is older, I use it when I breastfeed her.
If you can, take a nap at every opportunity. When you get home from work, when you get home from shopping, or any other moment when you have peace. Even if they are short cat naps, they add up and are beneficial.
#4 Prepare for your new scent superpower (coworkers can make you throw up)
Here is the thing, when you get pregnant for some reason you get an amazing sense of smell, typically that would be great. Except for the fact that everything you smell makes you sick. Yeah, I do not understand it either; it’s a gift and curse.
Nonetheless, prepare while you can! If you have a super strong air freshener in your office, get rid of it. If there are other smells that may make you sick take care of them now. If you can’t stand the smell of the hand soap at work, bring in your own.
This is where things get tricky, perfumes and colognes. If you work somewhere with a lot of people the odds are a person or two go heavy on the scents. You know who they are, so decide what to do.
If you sit next to them daily and have a good relationship, you may want to just let them know about your scent sensitively and see if they can temporarily go light on the scent. Or if you do not know them well, just avoid them when they come around. Just know these types of situations do happen when you are pregnant.
Don’t stop here! Keep reading further:
There are tons of things you must do at work before going on maternity leave. Do not risk forgetting to do something: 9 Things to Do Before You Go on Maternity Leave
Do you plan on pumping at work? It is a pain but doable and easier if you are prepared. Here is a guide on how to pump at work: How To Pump at Work Quickly and Efficiently
#5 Don’t take risks when you work while pregnant
If you have a job where you lift heavy items or it is physically demanding, let your supervisor know that accommodations may need to be made. Accommodations are typically made when someone is going through a physical condition, workers typically get moved to a desk job or a reduction in duties.
Just remember that while pregnant, it is not worth risking your physical health. Your health correlates with your baby’s health.
If you work somewhere where parking is bad or you have a long walk (although walking is good for you). Figure out what to do to make your life easier. Maybe they will allow you to park in a reserved parking spot that is closer.
You can also make accommodations to get dropped off at work by someone a few days a week to make it easier. Once your belly is popped out, driving does become a challenge, so this is a good idea in general.
Think about your overall surroundings and what you must do to make sure you and your baby are safe and prepared for maternity leave.
Keep the following in mind, in terms of your work duties
- If you are planning long term projects you will need to prepare someone to take over once you are gone
- As your due date nears, you are going to want to stop taking the lead on projects that go beyond your due date
- Work with your boss to slowly reduce your workload as the month’s tick by
- Pregnancy brain does exist, so keep track of everything in an organized manner
- If you lose stuff you write down, then type it up on an easy to access
documenton your computer – make cheat sheets for yourself
- Do not let the little things get the best of you, take control of your distractions
Remember, in the grand scheme of things the struggles you face daily will just be a tiny part of your pregnancy. You will forget most of these annoying struggles once the baby is here.
#6 Everyone better make your life easier!
When it comes to family, make sure they have your back at all times. This means through the tough times, like when you can’t bend, and through fun times, like when you get your first ultrasound. Having a strong support group or family support will make your pregnancy easier to deal with.
- Take life one day at a time and try not to stress out, if you get to that point, just stop everything you are doing and gather yourself
- Realize that you are not perfect and it is ok to be human, accept who you are and know your body never stops working, not even when you sleep, be realistic with your limitations
- Prioritize what is important, spending quality time with your family may mean a dirty home and take-out for dinner every once in a while, but once the baby is here your life will change dramatically, so enjoy those little moments now
- Communicate with your significant other and let him or her know you are not
Superwoman,if you need help ask for it
- Get someone who can actually squat to clean the house
Bottom line, everyone should chip in to keep the household running, whether you are pregnant or not. Do not be afraid to lay down the law with your family, after all, you work the entire day and your body is working full time creating life. That is double the work! You deserve all the help you can get.
Just because you are pregnant, unfortunately, you do not get a free pass to do what you want at work (although that would be nice).
In fact, keep in mind many of your coworkers have no idea how hard life is being pregnant. They do not realize it takes 3x the effort just to tie your shoe or get out of your car, or even to do something as simple as picking up a pen off the floor.
Maybe your whole office will not be supportive, but having a few people you can count on will make your life a bit easier. You need at least three kinds of support, this can be multiple people or the same person:
- Someone who will feed you
- Someone who will sympathize with you
- Someone who will keep an eye on you
In order to not be late to work, wake up earlier because you know you are going to have some sort of obstacle or morning sickness!
Many of us go through morning sickness, you have to re-brush your teeth, change clothes if they get dirty and even your underwear if pee comes out (yup it happens). If brushing your teeth is the issue do it first before you are dressed or while you shower so
Reorganize all your routines to set yourself up for success.
With more doctor appointments, you have to set them up accordingly, so you do not miss too much work. It is a double edge sword, you want to save your paid time off or vacation time for maternity leave, but it is hard when you have so many doctor appointments and feel sick daily.
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#7 When to Notify Your Supervisor and Your Rights
Notifying your supervisor or co-workers about your pregnancy may seem daunting. If you work in a health hazard environment then the earlier the better. Sometimes your body or your pregnancy symptoms may just give you away before you are ready to let people know.
Announcing your pregnancy at work
I told a select few about my pregnancy when I found out. I waited until I was 20 weeks in gestation before notifying my supervisors and my co-workers. I personally felt it was enough
To keep control of the situation at work, create your timeline and figure out the best way to announce it. Since I already knew the gender, I created pink goodie bags for everyone with a 4×6 announcement that had one of my ultrasounds on it and the due date. I got them printed at Walgreens as a photo.
My actual announcement, it was awesome seeing my ultrasound displayed on everyone’s desks for about a month:
For tons of ideas and tips on announcing your pregnancy at work check this out: Announcing Your Pregnancy at Work
It definitely made it
Pregnancy Rights in the USA
Legally, the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) protects women from being discriminated in the workforce. As long as the employer employs at least 15 people they must oblige. This means they cannot demote you, fire you or not hire you because you are pregnant.
If you are unable to perform certain tasks, then your employer will treat you as though you are temporarily disabled. Remember, safety first. For more information, please visit: https://www.eeoc.gov/laws/types/pregnancy.cfm
Working while pregnant is hard. It really is, but you can survive. Keep in mind at the end of it all you will have a beautiful baby. When you are on maternity leave, you will realize that the hard work you did to save up time for your maternity leave was worth it.
Conquer work for as long as you can, do not put yourself or your baby at risk. Be smart about everything you do. Be strategic in how you set up the course of your day. Do what you need to accomplish the most when you have the most energy. Save easier stuff you have to do for when you are drained.
The harsh reality is, most of us in the US will not be making much money during our maternity leave. Short term disability only goes so far. I have never met a woman who had
You can and you will survive work! Take this advice and use it. Learn from working women who came before you!
There are so many other things to keep in mind, so if I am missing something crucial other future mamas need to know, let me know in the comments. I would LOVE to hear from you. Subscribe for more great content on being a working mama. Thanks for reading.