Pregnancy for Working Women
There are many mind-boggling questions that a working woman whose pregnancy kit has just turned positive, is faced with. It could vary from the very basic questions like ‘What if my job requires extensive traveling during pregnancy?’, ‘Should I be traveling at all during pregnancy?’, ‘When would be the right time to announce the news to my boss?’, ‘How would people at work react to it?’, ‘What all changes would I have to make to my work life?’, ‘Will I be able to work after the birth of my child?’, ‘How will I feed my baby considering my hectic work schedule?’, and the list goes on.
Sometimes, being pregnant could feel like a full-time job. This could be a problem when you already have a full-time job, especially one that requires you to be at your desk at all times, not at the doctor’s, or an essential part of your job requires you to be amicable and patient with your clients at all times.
There are way too many questions which would confuse your mind, and that’s perfectly normal. Don’t get bogged down if these questions keep popping up in your mind every now and then. But try staying calm at all times. Working women often find it a little difficult to handle not only their personal, but also their professional lives and fulfill the responsibilities both demand, after getting pregnant. But pregnancy does not mean giving up your job. You need to plan, prioritize and balance everything very carefully in both, your professional as well as personal life.
Here are a few pregnancy tips for working mothers.
BREAKING THE NEWS AT WORK
The first most significant point in a working woman’s pregnancy is breaking the news to her boss. Deciding when to tell your boss might make you feel anxious and biting your nails over possible pregnancy notions. For example, for some women, their co-workers start behaving differently around them the minute they know why they’ve been sick or tired lately. Hiding pregnancy symptoms at work is hard and it is best that you let your boss know as soon as you yourself are sure.
Some women wait to share the news till the first trimester is over. It is completely upto you when you want to divulge this information.
There might be co-workers at your workplace who have been pregnant. You could seek them out if you are feeling hesitant about talking to your boss. Getting tips from experienced mothers would give you the go-ahead and push to be more confident! Their advice might include thoughts on,
- The kind of response they got when they broke the news to their boss.
- If there was any change in the boss’ behavior towards them – whether discriminatory or not?
- How did they cope with the fatigue, sickness, mood swings and general exhaustion of the mind, at work?
Was getting a maternity leave problematic?
- Some bosses are rather generous and understanding towards their employee’s pregnancy and love to make things easier for them. While some are not as forthcoming in their understanding and can even be openly dismissive or rude about the pregnancy hampering productivity.
- In such cases, talk to your boss and tell them that strenuous activities or a very heavy workload is not advisable for you for a couple of months. Such requests to make them understand your situation could be attempted and you should not feel intimidated or fearful about speaking up.
WORKING DURING YOUR PREGNANCY
- A healthy pregnant woman with no early complications can work until the very last days of her pregnancy. The main concerns would be how to deal with the onset of pregnancy characteristics. Being comfortable on the job is extremely essential. Here are a few helpful tips for you,
- Plenty of fluids are advised. Even though you might be hitting the washroom more often than before, it is important to stay hydrated.
- Some foods will be to be done away with when they start stirring up nausea. Whether it’s coffee or the aroma of fried chicken or the taste of lettuce, if there is a food item that is giving you an urge to vomit, steer clear.
- Eating small meals throughout the day will keep you up and active. Foods like nuts and fruits are healthy, full of nutritious value and also keep serving you with a constant supply of energy. Tea, juices and ginger ale as well as other fresh beverages are good for you too.
- Take a break every now and then if it’s a sedentary job, to move your legs or breathe in some fresh air.
- Go to bed early during this period so you can wake up fresh faced and invigorated the next day!
- Keep up with your daily exercise routine. Hefty and strenuous exercises are advised against and a light workout schedule is more essential and energy-giving too.
- Wear comfortable clothing that isn’t tight or obstructing your movements in any way. Light, loose clothing is the way to go. Clothes that have been made specially to accommodate you during pregnancy are another excellent option. Shoes that support your heel and girth all the way are a must.
- Take small power naps at regular intervals to internally rejuvenate your system.
Keep emergency number on your desk and in your bag as a precautionary measure.
- Health supplements are not to be taken without your health provider’s advice. Anything you consume now is not only affecting your health, but also that of your child. Do not start taking medicines or supplements that aren’t verified by your doctor especially during this period.
- Take an occasional sick leave or so to charge up your batteries and rest your body a while. You might be thinking of saving up on those leaves for after when the baby is born but a holiday from work is good for your body.
- Managing morning sickness and fatigue at work: Morning sickness is probably the most prominent symptom of a woman being pregnant. Managing this problem is not too hard. You can keep plastic and paper bags around as well as citric scents that can keep the nausea at bay.
- Missing meals is something that encourages the nausea so that you feel sicker than you did in the first place. Protein rich foods have been found to alleviate general nausea considerably.
- Staying in a cool environment also helps. Don’t expose yourself to too much heat as it will increase feelings of nausea.
Eat slowly as it helps in feeling less uneasy. Also, try and take naps in between.
RIGHTS YOU MUST BE AWARE OF
In any job that you are involved in, you are entitled to a certain period of maternity leave. The Government of India has provided their citizens with the Maternity Benefit Act of 1961 which states that,
- Any pregnant woman is entitled to 12 weeks of maternity leave. The usual way is six weeks before and six weeks after giving birth. But it is your decision when you want to avail these weeks. Generally, women take two weeks off before delivery and the rest of the eight weeks are spent nursing their child after delivery.
- In any case, any employer is bound to provide their employees with payment of maternity benefit as long as they have been working for more than eighty (80) days under the same establishment. This maternity benefit counts for their days of ‘actual leave’, i.e., from the day of their delivery until the last day of leave.
- Every pregnant woman is also entitled to a ‘medical bonus’ from her employee if no sort of pre or post natal care has been provided to the same.
The employer is also to make sure that a new mother is also not to carry out strenuous work or work that might include standing for long hours that could hurt her in any way.
If you are laid off from work for reasons related to your pregnancy, you can file a case in the Industrial and Labor Court, under the Maternity Benefits Act. The court would then initiate legal action against your employer. So, do not be afraid in availing the benefits that motherhood rightfully brings.
IS YOUR JOB HAZARDOUS TO YOUR BABY?
- Work that requires long hours of standing: Studies have found that long hours of standing during the last half of your pregnancy can disrupt the blood flow. Too much standing on your job might increase the risk of the woman developing high blood pressure, as well as the risk of premature birth. Hence, the best option for women in high-risk pregnancies, who work more than four hours a day on their feet, are advised to switch to a desk job or quit by their 6th month. (Women who feel comfortable and healthy on the job and have no medical problems, could continue working.)
- Jobs that involve toxic chemicals: There is a long list of jobs that involve dangerous substances. Examine your work and try to replace dangerous materials with safe ones. You can avoid the toxic aspects of your work by requesting for reassignment or protect yourself by wearing a facemask and using better ventilation. No matter what you do, be sure you consult your doctor about your job and the hazards of toxic exposure.
- Jobs involving physical strength: If your job requires lifting, pushing, bending, and loading materials all day, you should avoid doing it during your pregnant days.
For more pregnancy tips from delicious recipes for your pregnancy diet to using the pregnancy kit properly, check out the rest of our site.