Our Experts, Courtney Reynolds
It’s no secret that being pregnant can be overwhelming at times – it’s an important job! Couple that with already working a 9-5 and you’re probably going to experience some unwanted stress.
Here is what I’ve learned as to what to expect when you’re expecting – in the workplace:
- Telling your boss
In my experience, it was best to give the news once I had the first doctor appointment – right away! Babycenter.com says to wait three months as a precaution because after the first trimester, health risks decrease significantly. However, during the first trimester, you will start to get sick and fatigued so you might want to tell your boss so they will understand the reason why. You don’t want to stress yourself out trying to hide it! It all boils down to telling them when you’re comfortable. Not everyone’s situation is the same.
It is good practice to be open and honest with your colleagues and boss about your doctor appointments. Set the expectation that while you will have these necessary appointments, you can still manage your time effectively around them. It might help to also be open about your symptoms, and let coworkers know you may be a little more emotional or sensitive than usual.
- Symptoms at work
You may experience morning sickness. Go to the bathroom regularly and make sure you’re okay before hopping on the phone. You will go through appetite changes. It’s a good idea to keep snacks at your desk to be prepared for incoming cravings. Remember to eat regularly throughout the day if you get hungry!
If you have an office job where you sit a lot, like I do, pain from sitting for long periods of time can become a problem. To ease your discomfort, bring in extra pillows for your chair. It will help your back and bum. Being comfy helps you focus! Another way to relieve back pain is to take walking breaks. When you have to send a quick email, walk over instead, but make sure your coworker isn’t busy first.
- Talk about it
You can use your pregnancy as a conversation starter. Bring it up to client and coworkers. You will find that most people are receptive to it and you can connect over it. You will notice people will begin to ask you how you are feeling or if you need anything. It can be a real help to have caring and concerned coworkers. It has made the process much easier for me!
- Save money on professional work clothes
My main piece of advice in this area… go for the stretchy fabrics! You don’t need to splurge on maternity clothing to stay fashionable at work. Buy things like jersey knit dresses and stretchy pencil skirts! Loose fitting tops are your friend. Embrace the empire waist cut. Purchase a couple nice jackets to wear with dresses. You probably only need two pairs of maternity pants – one light and one dark. Oh, and don’t forget a pair of comfy flats! One last thing to keep in mind in terms of fashion – make sure your bag isn’t too heavy because putting too much stress on your body and back is no good!
- Emotions will happen
It’s pretty common knowledge that pregnancy can cause your emotions to run high. Don’t worry. It’s normal! To make these times more manageable, take breaks and allow yourself to have a good cry. Sometimes you might need to step out to be alone in your car and listen to some music or call your mom. If you need a moment to pull yourself together, take it! It’s important to practice self-care, especially during this time.
You may notice that certain things can set you off more easily. Take a step back during these situations and ask yourself a lot of questions before acting out. Don’t respond to emails right away. Think to yourself “If I said that, how would I come across? What do I mean to say?” Analyze before you react. Re-read your messages before hitting send.
If you do find yourself getting emotional or crying at the wrong times, address it. One thing I like to say is “It’s not you, it’s my pregnancy!” People will understand.
- Getting tired at work
You are carrying a tiny human! The fact is… you will get tired! Go to your car or another private space to take a nap during your break time. Don’t forget to set an alarm. You don’t want to oversleep and miss an important meeting or go over your allotted break time.
Another tip for fighting fatigue is to get up and walk around. Go get some fresh air or drink some water. Go get lunch or have a snack. Most importantly, go to bed early and be sure to get all the sleep that your body needs.
If you keep all these things in mind during your pregnancy, I guarantee you will have a better experience at work and your relationships with your coworkers and boss will thrive as well.