Working while extremely tired, nauseated, bloated, vomiting, back aching, legs heavy, urinating every 10 minutes, performing on your job at 100% can be difficult while growing an entire human. This can be an emotional and physically challenging task as you carry and prepare for the birth of your baby. However, it can be done and be manageable.
My hope is that your journey while working and pregnant is stress free, manageable, positive and comfortable.
When writing this post from a Working Mom and Registered Nurse Point of view-I wanted to create the perfect formula.
If you do this + Do this + Eat this The result will = working while pregnant a smooth/fun experience!
The truth is there is not 1 easy formula. Every pregnancy, woman, job, situation is different.
There will be days when the snooze button wins- and you are rushing to work and a few minutes late. There will be days when there is an 8:00am meeting and at 7:58-you have to vomit then urinate then vomit again – not necessarily in that order.
There will be days, when all you want to do is sleep. There will be days when the snooze button will win and you may be a few minutes late for work. There will be days when you are in the bathroom urinating more than data inputting. If you are in healthcare, there will be days when you are 38 weeks pregnant, wearing a maternity belt and still pushing, pulling, turning patients. There will be days when the smell of the morning coffee makes you run to the bathroom to vomit again.
There will be times when you want to be that pre-pregnant woman who is top of her game- The truth is at this moment in time- you are not her. You are doing a full-time job of growing a Human- and it’s okay to have these moments.
Don’t lose hope yet, because I can tell you; there will be times (especially in the second trimester) when you are winning. There will be times when you are on time, your tasks are completed, your team is ahead of schedule, and your in-box is complete.
I can also tell you that You can do this.
As long as there is not a health reason and your doctor approves- you can work until your delivery day. There will be challenges but there are ways to make it easier for you and your little one.
The main goals are:
- To say healthy
- Keep Baby healthy
- Stay Productive at work
- Remain Stress free and enjoy this pregnancy
My desire is your pregnancy journey while you work is stress free, manageable and convenient.
I have 10 RN tips that will make your work experience a little easier; everything from telling your manager to managing your pregnancy symptoms while on the clock.
1.Telling your Boss/Manager/Supervisor
Depending on your work environment and the relationship you have with your superiors, it can be intimidating to speak with our Supervisor; much less to inform them of major life changes.
Most women wait until their 2nd trimester to announce their pregnancy; and wait even longer before telling their co-workers. You are in your right to tell your news when you are comfortable.
I would advise telling your Supervisor first- even before your closest colleague.
More on How to tell your Supervisor and colleagues in another blog post (Stay tuned for another post in the coming week)
2.Nausea and Vomiting
“Morning Sickness” which can last all day is hard to manage when working. If your vomiting becomes severe –please notify your doctor.
If you are able to tolerate it; eat something in the morning. You are less nauseated when your stomach is not completely empty.
Bring snacks to work. Try to nibble on crackers at work and other bland foods. Sucking on peppermint helps as well
Try to develop a consistent night routine that allows you to get a full 8 hours sleep. This can be difficult if you have little ones at home with added discomforts of pregnancy. However, if you can accomplish this- it will help you during the day.
Water! Water! Water! Stay hydrated
Staying hydrated will help. Keep a BPA free water bottle at your desk- to sip on throughout the day. The American College of Obstetrics
Don’t skip meals
It is important to eat healthy while you are pregnant. It’s a great idea to meal prep healthy meals and snacks to take with you. Meal prepping will help you reach your caloric intake goals and avoid the sugary tempting vendor & cafeteria meals available.
Also, meal prepping ahead of time- will save you time to rest later in the week. Pack 3 days worth of refrigerated meals at a time -pop in fridge and grab as you go.
5.Maximizing your Breaks
Take advantage of the breaks you have during your work day. I would advise not working through your breaks or working on your personal to-do-list. Take time to eat a healthy snack-put your feet up and if you can catch a few zzzzzz’s; a power nap works wonder).
6.Organization is Key
“Placenta Brain/Baby Brain”, may not be a technical term , but mother’s can contest-there are times when you are pregnant – details and recalling information can be a tad bit “fuzzy”.
Try to keep you work task organized. Making list, prioritizing, setting reminders. It will help you stay on point, and your team members will be appreciative.
Its nice when you have a co-worker that have traveled this journey before you. Or someone who understands what you are going through and offers help. You can accept the help- it doesn’t mean you are lazy or not capable. Remember, you are carrying an entire human- and that’s hard work.
8.Listen to your Body
If your body is saying : you have arrived at the point in your pregnancy where you cannot work, or work at the capacity that you were previously; it is okay. Especially towards the end of your pregnancy ; you may feel more fatigue and more pregnancy symptoms such as pressure, Braxton hicks contractions, fatigue. Do not feel guilty or ashamed. Have a plan, speak with your supervisors and Doctor.
Some jobs require tasks that are safe in pregnancy. Being around chemicals , lifting heavy items, repetitive bending twisting pulling pushing. Speak with your human resource department and Doctor. Your doctor may be able to write you a letter stating what you can do and not do while working and pregnant.
Preparation is key to having a smooth transition to exit the work place for maternity leave. Speak with Human Resource to confirm your Family Medical Leave is covered. Ask specific questions regarding how much time off you can take off with your baby, will you be paid during your time off. Speak with your doctor and supervisor to determine your estimated date you will start Maternity leave.
Your main goal is Healthy Mom/Healthy Pregnancy. You want to be safe and keep your baby safe while enjoying this Amazing journey you are on. If you are a working mom (mom-to-be)- listen to your body, trust your instincts while working and growing a human. It may not be easy, but it can done.
Healthy Mom/Healthy Baby
Mary E., RN,BSN, MSN
Wife/Mother/Nurse/Champion of All Pregnant Women
(Featured Mommy-to-Be: Traschelle Williams- mother of 2,working full time in her 2nd trimester & Looking FAB and managing 40 hours a week!)