In the modern world, being a working mother is pretty standard. In fact, many parents both need to work so that they can afford to raise their children. Continuing to work throughout pregnancy is normal too, particularly considering that the US is one of only a handful of countries that has no paid maternity leave required by law (although some states or employers do have options). I worked up until right before I gave birth for both my kiddos and was back to work by five weeks. That’s just the reality we live in. When fewer than half of the women who take maternity leave are paid while off work, it’s no wonder some new mothers only take a couple of weeks off work – and some only a few days. It’s the heartbreaking reality of how we live now but hopefully these tips can make it a little easier.
Even if you are planning to take maternity leave for a few months, you’re likely to be working through at least some of your pregnancy. Pregnancy can be tough on your body, so continuing at work is sometimes a struggle. However, with a few useful tips, you can keep going and try to make the best of your pregnancy experience at work.
What Does the Law Say About Being Pregnant at Work?
The first thing you should do is make sure you’re familiar with the law related to pregnancy at work. You need to know your rights to ensure that you’re treated fairly. The federal law concerning pregnancy at work is covered under the ADA(Americans with Disabilities Act) and the PDA (Pregnancy Discrimination Act) if your employer has at least 15 employees. If you work for a smaller company, your state law might offer you some protection instead. The ADA and PDA prevent your employer from discriminating against you while you’re pregnant and can require them to make accommodations for you. You might also be entitled to time off, either paid or unpaid if you are unable to do your job. If your company has 50 or more employees, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) entitles you to 12 weeks of time off. If you are having issues with your employer check the above websites for help.
Can You Work Through Your Pregnancy?
The big question you might be wondering is whether it’s possible for you to work through your pregnancy? The answer is likely to be yes, but there are some things that could prevent you from working. If your job could harm you or your baby, such as working with harmful chemicals or doing a lot of physical labor, working throughout your pregnancy may not be possible. However, if you’re healthy and can still do your job safely, you could potentially work up until your due date. It’s important to stay in touch with your doctor to ensure you’re still capable of working.
Asking for Adjustments at Work
Pregnancy can make it difficult to carry on at work as you usually do. You might get tired more easily and have to deal with symptoms such as morning sickness. Sometimes it’s necessary to ask your employer for some accommodations, which might be required under the ADA or PDA. You might need to ask that you take on less physical tasks, such as heavy lifting. While you might want to keep your pregnancy under wraps to stay professional, it’s often best to let your boss know. If you’re having issues with something like morning sickness, they will either start to suspect, or they’ll think you’re just being unprofessional.
You might be pregnant, and possibly eligible for some adjustments to help you do your job, but you still need to be professional at work. One of the first steps you can take is ensuring you’re going to keep looking professional by getting a maternity wardrobe for work. Even if you have to wear a uniform, you can usually buy from a maternity collection, either from general uniform retailers or from your employer if you have to wear something specific. The way you conduct yourself at work can make a difference too.
Making Yourself Comfortable
Let’s face it. Pregnancy isn’t always comfortable. All kinds of things can make you feel uncomfortable at work when you’re pregnant, from morning sickness to needing to go to the bathroom all the time. If you’re struggling with morning sickness, try to have something tosettle your stomach, like ginger tea or peppermints. There are several things that will help you to start generally comfortable, such as dressing comfortably, taking breaks, and ensuring that you walk around now and then (or sit down if you work on your feet). Make sure you stay hydrated and eat well too.
When You Might Need to Stop Working
You might have set a date for when you want to stop working, but it could ultimately be out of your control. Some pregnancy complications might mean that it’s best for you to stop working or perhaps reduce your hours. These include being at risk of preterm labor, high blood pressure or risk of developing preeclampsia. If a complication means you can’t work, you might be classed as temporarily disabled under the ADA, which means your employer will have to make reasonable accommodations for you. This could include allowing you to work at home or do less strenuous work. There’s also a possibility that you could get paid or unpaid time off. You should talk to your doctor about when it might be a good idea not to work or to work less.
Traveling for Work
Some expectant mothers might need to travel for work. This is usually fine, but you should talk to your doctor about whether it’s safe. They might make some recommendations or with some complications might advise against it. It’s important to note that airlines will often restrict women flying at the end of their pregnancy and you might need a doctor’s note. Taking your medical records when you travel is a good idea too.
Being pregnant doesn’t need to stop you working, but it’s important to consider how it will affect you. Being prepared and having a plan is always the best way to make this time pass with as little stress as possible.
Disclosure: Mommy Makes Time receives products in order to conduct reviews. No monetary compensation was provided unless noted otherwise. All opinions are 100% my own. Some posts may contain affiliate links that I receive commission or payment from in exchange for referrals. In the event of a giveaway, the sponsor is responsible for delivery of the prize, unless otherwise noted in the posting. I only recommend products or services I personally use and believe will be a good fit for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 225: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising