Working While Pregnant – A Guide

When you’re pregnant, it’s very important to feel safe and comfortable while also staying productive in your work. Today, men and women are more motivated to keep working even while pregnant, or otherwise homebound. This ambition is recognized and welcome by most companies. Some businesses even utilize a pregnant woman’s intuition, empathy, and hormonal changes to their advantage, and try to present tasks for them that they can do easily and naturally. This results in women remaining motivated, and glad to work, as they’re getting tasks that come easily for them, and they’re recognized.

But while this ambition is not to be taken for granted, still, it’s very important for these women, and their surroundings to respect the changes that they’re going through, and keep working, but in a calmer, more comfortable, and safe environment. As your body changes, some measures and boundaries have to be put in place to ensure your health and comfort.

Naturally, some jobs are better suited for pregnant women, while others should be avoided. But even if your workplace is usually difficult to maintain, most workplace issues can be avoided with precaution and some modification. Here are some of the most common obstacles women face in the workplace when becoming pregnant.

Working While Pregnant

Common Risks

  • The Job is Strenuous

Some jobs require heavy lifting, long periods on your feet, or other forms of daily physical exertion. All of these can introduce risks and certain complications. If these are part of your job, it’s best to talk to your doctor about it, and after that, consult with your employer. Perhaps you can be transferred to a less-straining position until you’re ready to get back on your feet.

  • Prejudism

While it’s not fair, and it’s something you can even consider sexist, in the corporate world, there’s a lot of prejudice when it comes to those who are pregnant. It’s not fair; it’s incredibly unfair, so it’s a common risk you need to look out for. Sometimes, not always, even when it comes to job hunting, there’s this prejudice against women who’re pregnant (or even just at the age to start a family) because their job won’t be number one in their life. While yes, generally speaking, in the corporate world, it’s like this, not every company is going to have this viewpoint either. You could even look into an executive search firm when looking for a job because they’re going to help you find work that gets past these awful biases and negative stigma that pregnant women have. 

  • Operating Heavy Machinery

Operating heavy machinery or any other type of dangerous machinery can also cause complications that you should discuss with your doctor. The best thing to do is, again, transfer to another position until you’re ready to continue your usual tasks.

  • Exposure to Harmful Chemicals

It’s not uncommon for people to be exposed to harmful chemicals in their workplace. Arsenic, carbon monoxide, lead, dioxin, and many others are fairly common chemicals and can be dangerous for your health. Working in factories, around dry-cleaning, art studios, and even printing presses can be a cause for worry, and you should consider safer alternatives.

  • Working with Computers

The low levels of radiation from monitors aren’t what cause the most problems while pregnant. Especially after the second trimester, hand, finger, and wrist pain can occur, and this can cause some serious pain when typing a lot. Be cautious of how you type. It helps to type with a soft touch while keeping your wrists straight and your hands lower than your elbows.

Overall, no matter where you work, common sense should always be your rule of thumb. While these are the most common problems that can occur in the workplace, there are a lot of other obstacles. Always stay safe, and take note of your body’s reaction to certain situations. You will know when something’s not right, and talking to your doctor will pinpoint exactly what that is. And remember: everyone is entitled to a safe working environment, so don’t be afraid to ask for alterations.

Working While Pregnant

Work Stress

Even on your best days, anxiety is hard to handle in the workplace. But now that you’re expecting, it’s no surprise that this stress level doubles. Apart from everyday stress and sleeplessness, you may even be taking on more in your work, undertaking more hours or projects to compensate or to prove something. Luckily, you’re not alone. Here are some steps you can take to avoid or limit these stress factors.

  • Consult with Your Employer

Talking to your employer and being transparent is key when in this situation. It requires patience, cooperation, and compromise from both parties. Be prepared, and have a plan about the steps of your maternity leave. After you have your plan, ask your employers about the health and financial benefits you can expect – and get the information in writing.

Figuring out how the most amount of time you could be away and dedicated solely to your new arrival, will help you plan for a longer leave. A good maternity leave calculator will help you and your boss determine a realistic time frame and agree on a plan that works for both parties. It is important to have these discussions early on in your pregnancy so that everyone is on the same page and there are no surprises or misunderstandings later on.

  • Learn to Adapt

Prepare for any possibility that may come your way. If your company’s benefits don’t meet your needs, the hours aren’t baby-friendly, or layoff is a possibility, update your resume, and start hunting for new positions. Of course, this is the last thing you need at the moment, but if all else fails, it’s better to be prepared. And employers do hire pregnant women, contrary to beliefs, so don’t be shy to dust off your CV.

  • Minimize Your Worries & Focus on the Positives

It’s easy to overthink while pregnant. But between getting ready for the new baby, and dealing with office stress, it’s important to stay positive. Limit the number of things you’re allowed to worry about and take care of those. Prepare your bank account, solidify your work environment, eliminate unnecessary stress, and try to relax.

  • Pace Yourself

After creating the foundation of your preparation – talking with your boss, getting ready for the worst, and trying to relax -, be proactive about your well-being in your everyday life. This means allowing yourself some breaks during working hours, like short walks, a few minutes of deep breathing, a decent lunch, or anything possible at your office. Pacing yourself can be the key to maintaining your wellbeing, as you’ll be less likely to burn out, and will help eliminate stress factors.

In Conclusion

It’s all about feeling safe and comfortable at all times. Everything is revolving around your future baby at the moment, and your job is to secure its needs. Try to enjoy your work; don’t take on more than you can handle. Layering your clothes, stretching, and getting good support in your chair could all change your entire pregnancy for the better. And last but not least, you can utilize the changes your body goes through, and maybe you’ll be an even greater asset in the workplace for it!

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