For women who work full time outside of the office, pregnancy can pose some challenging situations.
Every pregnant woman is different, and how each expecting mom approaches these challenges will be different. For some pregnant women, one or two of these challenges may pose the most problems, for others, they will be affected by each and every one at some point during their time of being a pregnant woman in the workplace.
10 Ways to Handle Pregnancy Challenges in the Workplace
#1 Workplace Challenge During Pregnancy: Deciding Who to Tell and When
Deciding who to tell and when can be easy for women who show right away. They may not have much of a choice about who knows and who doesn’t know. For other women, who may not show until they are as far along as the fourth or fifth month, she willneed to decide who to tell and when.
There are many reasons that a pregnant woman might not want to reveal her pregnancy right away. Some are personal, others may be for professional reasons. It is important in some work situations to let Human Resources know, especially when the workplace is strict about time off for unscheduled doctor’s appointments, frequent breaks, or absenteeism.
By giving HR the heads up, you could save yourself some trouble down the line.
You may also want to tell your boss. This will depend on the dynamic between HR and your boss. In many workplaces, although HR info is supposedly confidential, the boss will find out anyway.
The other rule of thumb to follow, if you do not want everyone to know is not to tell any co-workers. Even if you tell one co-worker you trust with your life, they will go on to tell one other co-worker they trust, and so on.
#2 Workplace Challenge During Pregnancy: Frequent Bathroom Trips
Expect to take frequent bathroom trips. Not drinking water to lessen the amount of trips you take to the bathroom is not recommended. If your workplace is strict about bathroom breaks, you may need to bring in a doctor’s note to HR so that you can go un-hassled to the ladies’ room.
#3 Workplace Challenge During Pregnancy: Need for Extra Eating Breaks
Advise HR or your boss that you may need extra breaks to eat some healthy snacks, or that you may need to snack at your desk. For workplaces that areunaccommodating, a note from your doctor will work.
#4 Workplace Challenge During Pregnancy: Physical Activity
The amount of physical activity you do at your job will be slowing down, by your body’s choice.
#5 Workplace Challenge During Pregnancy: Morning Sickness
If you experience morning sickness, you may need to let HR or the boss know ahead of time that you are not feeling well.
#6 Workplace Challenge During Pregnancy: Need for a More Flexible Schedule
If morning sickness or fatigue are wearing you down, see if your work will allow a more flexible schedule. Going to work an hour earlier, or an hour later, may be enough to help you adjust.
#7 Workplace Challenge During Pregnancy: Hormones and Work Productivity
Pregnancy and hormones will affect your work productivity. You may need t change the way you work and the pace at which you work. You may also need to accept that your productivity will decrease, as your mind and body have a new primary focus.
#8 Workplace Challenge During Pregnancy: Making Mistakes
One of the most difficult challenges to face when you are pregnant is that you will suddenly forget the simplest things. You will make more mistakes. Be prepared to be called on it, even when the workplace management is aware that you pregnant.
#9 Workplace Challenge During Pregnancy: Increasing Fatigue
Be prepared to be exhausted. At certain times of day, you will not just tired, but exhausted. Plan your work day accordingly. Try to do the hard or detail-oriented work while you are feeling your best and most mentally and physically awake. Save the more mundane tasks for the times you know you’d rather be napping.
#10 Workplace Challenge During Pregnancy: Pressure to Return to Work
As soon as HR and your boss find out you are pregnant, and the obligatory “Congratulations” are out of the way, the wheels will start turning, and they go into work mode again. They will very soon begin to pressure you about your return to work. They will ask early on if you plan to return to work. Always say yes. You do not know what will happen, so you need to make sure they do not have your position filled before the end of your first trimester.
They may also ask how long you plan to take off, if you have enough time off, and if you plan on returning to work full-time or part-time. While you can make plans, and keep HR and your boss informed, it is impossible to know what will happen once the baby is born. If the baby is late, or premature, any planned dates and schedules will need to be adjusted.
It’s also impossible to know exactly what your personal and financial situation will be once the baby is born, since life has a tendency to change. Be honest, but keep your options open to any possibilities.