There are things you can do to make your working life easier. Few ideas to make a perfect blend of career and pregnancy include:
# 1 Don't be a superwoman'!
Get rest when you are not at work and reduce household chores, especially when approaching the delivery date. Studies show that one and a half hour of extra rest makes a lot of difference; uterine blood flow increases, and the supply of oxygen and other nutrients to your baby improves.
# 2 Relax when possible
If at all possible, lie down on your left side for ten minutes during your lunch break on a floor mat. Else, just rest your head on the table or elevate your feet. Relax your mind and body.
# 3 When exhaustion overtakes you, leave work early
If you are commuting to work using public transportation, don't be afraid to ask for assistance with regards to a seat, if necessary, from the conductor or driver.
# 4 Negotiate a flexible work schedule
Work out a schedule that suits your health. If you suffer from morning sickness, ask about coming in later and ending your workday later. On the other hand if you are an early riser and get tired easily in the afternoon, ask to come in early and end your workday early.
# 5 Telecommute whenever possible
Try and work out such that you can group assignments and attend office 2-3 times a week. The balance days of the week when your presence at the office is not necessary, you can work from home. Another alternative is to work part of the day at the office and part of the day from home but ascertain you are always open for office contact.
# 6 Ask for help
If a project or assignment is causing your health to suffer, speak up to your boss about getting the help of a coworker or even a temp worker to fill in for you. If need be, request the project be reassigned to someone else and take a less stressful assignment.
# 7 Snack - time
To maintain energy levels and to avoid nausea & heartburn (common ailments of pregnancy), stock up a selection of snacks to work and eat something every few hours.
# 8 Pregnancy emergency kit
Keep the kit in your desk drawer. It should contain lemon hard candies to beat nausea, an extra pair of undies or sanitary napkin for incontinence accidents, an Evian face mister for instant cool-offs, and a cache of crackers, pretzels, wafer cookies for snacking.
# 9 Write notes
Maintaining a notebook at all times can offset memory loss in the first trimester. Note down important work reminders. Jot down anything you consider important for you to remember or act on.
# 10 Heroine you are not!
If possible, start your maternity leave a week or 2 prior to your due date to give yourself ample time to rest before the big day.
The Final Word
You will probably decide on discontinuing work either on your doctor's advice or exhaustion. There are certain guidelines you should follow to minimize health complications that can worsen if you are working.
- If your job is more rigorous in nature entailing heavy lifting, climbing or bending below the waist you should stop work by week 20. But if you have moderate load to tackle with rest periods in between, you can continue working till about week 28. However you should consider giving up your job after conception if you are carrying more than one baby, had a previous miscarriage, or premature birth. Cut back on your work hours if you have been diagnosed with gestational diabetes or high blood pressure. Bottom-line: listen to your doctor's advice on when to quit your job, how many hours you can afford to put in and the nature of job you can continue with. Don't ignore your doctor's recommendations, no matter what your financial status.
- If your job requires you to be on your feet all day, you should consider switching to desk job or stopping work beginning in your 24th week. If your job requires you to spend more than 30 minutes out of every hour on your feet, consider shifting to something sedentary by week 32.
Returning to work after baby:
Much of this depends on how you feel and the health of your baby. If all is well then returning to work is a personal choice. Whether you decide to take 3 whole months, less or more, some workday precautions apply as when you were pregnant.
- Avoid fatigue by taking short naps.
- Try to arrange to work from home sometimes.
- Go back part time rather full time until your body readjusts to your previous schedule.
- Push for a flexible work routine in order to accommodate to your baby's needs.
Above all, don't be afraid to enlist your husband's help with household and baby chores. Make certain to visit your doctor for a complete checkup before returning work. Take time out if despite your leave you still feel you need a break.