Working 9-5 when you’re feeling at your best can be hard, so when you’re pregnant it can be a real struggle. Here is some practical advice for juggling work and pregnancy.
Listen to Your Body
Remember that pregnancy is a natural biological part of our life once we mind ourselves, there’s no reason we can’t do it all. The main thing to remember is to listen to your body and take it at an easy pace. You are growing a human after all!
The early days
One of the biggest issues in the early days of pregnancy is fatigue and nausea. Try to get to bed early and skip those late-night TV shows. It won’t be forever and when the second trimester hits you will be full of boundless energy! A good tip is if you have anywhere to put your head down for even 15 minutes during the day for a power nap it can make a huge difference to your day! (a quiet office, your car etc.).
It’s also important to keep a balanced diet to avoid iron deficiency, so have regular leafy greens, beans and red meat if you can. Why not get your blood levels checked at a GP appointment if you have any concerns.
Managing the nausea
Eat little and often! If you wake feeling sick it seems like the worst idea in the world to eat but this is not the same as a tummy bug. Your hormones are changing and unfortunately, nausea is a side effect. An empty tummy won’t help so try to even have a few bites of dry toast. Ginger can really help, so have a stash of ginger biscuits or tea in your bag!
If you’re still working from home, managing nausea can help from the comfort of your own home but it can be hard in the office. Smells can be difficult so try to keep the windows open. If your colleagues are preparing food in the lunchroom, try to take your break a little before and head outside for some fresh air. A top tip is to have a spare toothbrush, toothpaste and washcloth in your bag in case you get sick at work.
Dealing with suspicion
If you are not ready to share your news with your colleagues, it is a good idea to still share some of your symptoms. They will notice you gagging and feeling tired so perhaps say “I haven’t been feeling great this week” or “I think I am coming down with something” That way you can get the sympathy and understanding (and you can also take a few sick days if you feel you really need them).
If your job involves tasks that are unsafe during pregnancy, speak to your manager about changing your duties. Don’t be afraid to say you can’t do something - such as heavy lifting. If you are in a job where the risk to you and your pregnancy cannot be removed (or your employer cannot offer you an alternative position for the duration of your pregnancy) you are entitled to health and safety leave and can apply for Health and Safety Benefit, paid by the State until you can begin your Maternity Benefit (or it is safe for you to come back to work). For more information, you can contact the Health and Safety Authority or your local Citizens Information Service.
Handling the ups and downs
Being pregnant brings exhilarating highs, where you are feeling really good and super excited about meeting your baby. On these days get ahead of the workload if you can. Don’t leave yourself to the last minute with deadlines. There will also be days when it all seems too much and you don't want to get out of bed. On these days mind yourself and try to take it easier workwise (this may be where you have to let your line manager or employer know about your pregnancy so that is taken into account for any workplace performance review).
Get post-baby planning
Now is a good time to think about your plans for after maternity leave. If you would like to be considered for a flexible schedule, such as some days working from home or a 3-day week, then put together a proposal now. It can help you to enjoy your pregnancy, with a clear mindset if you have your post-baby plans in line.
When to go on maternity leave
There are many women who glide through pregnancy without any issues. Lots of women choose to work right up to the end of the third trimester. This of course is totally fine as long as you’re feeling well. If you have experienced any complications, such as high blood pressure or any threat of preterm labour, your care provider may recommend you finish up work a little earlier. At the end of the day, your health and the health of your baby has to be number one - the wheels of your workforce will keep turning without you, don’t worry!
Remember to enjoy your pregnancy
Take time each day to enjoy the lovely things about being pregnant. Watch how your body is changing, growing a whole new human. Enjoy some online baby shopping or plan the baby nursery but don’t forget to treat yourself too!
If you can take an evening or two out each week to do pregnancy yoga or mindfulness it can help you to really “be” with your baby and focus on this amazing time. Remember to attend good antenatal education (an independent class is always a good idea too).
Don’t forget, health insurance can help in pregnancy! Maternity cover is a feature on all plans, regardless of gender. However, some plans offer very limited benefits so if maternity cover so it is important to have a detailed discussion with your insurer or provider. Cornmarket is here to help; we know health insurance inside & out and can talk you through the best plans for maternity cover.
The information contained in this article is from https://www.irishlifehealth.ie/blog/juggling-work-pregnancy. Source, Irish life Health, 2020. Cornmarket cannot be held responsible for content contained on external websites.