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  • Managing pregnancy symptoms at work can be made easier by getting enough sleep, eating healthy and wearing comfortable clothes.
  • Consider changing your work and personal environment to make it easier for you to be a mom.
  • Prepare for your parental leave early in your pregnancy.

This page:

  • Managing pregnancy symptoms
  • Tips for working through pregnancy
  • Plan your return to work

Managing pregnancy symptoms

It can be difficult to work while pregnant, especially in the first months. This is because you may feel tired and have morning sickness. These symptoms can be managed with three key steps:

  • Enjoy small, regular and healthy meals and snacks.
  • Get plenty of water.
  • As much as possible,

To take better care of yourself, you might consider making some changes at home and work. These are just a few ideas.

At work

  • Take frequent breaks, even if they are only for a few seconds.
  • Comfortable shoes and clothing are important. Compression stockings and socks can help with tired legs for some women.
  • Use 5-minute mindfulness or breathing exercises to increase your energy levels.
  • Do not stand for too long. To relieve leg and back pain, sit down whenever you can.

At home

  • Get to sleep as soon as you can.
  • Relax often. You can relax by taking a hot bath, reading before you go to bed or having a warm shower.
  • Accept and ask for help from your family and friends. People around you can help you rest better.
  • Regular, gentle to moderate exercise is a good way to improve your sleep quality, increase your energy and reduce pain.
  • You can freeze and pre-cook meals so that you don’t need to cook as often. This is great for those days when you are really tired.

Many women notice a decrease in their pregnancy symptoms during the second trimester. It is possible that you are experiencing less morning sickness and your mood and energy levels are improving.

Talk to your GP about other ways to manage your symptoms during pregnancy. It is important to consult your GP before you start any new medication.

Tips for working through pregnancy

These are some tips to make your pregnancy a positive and comfortable experience.

Making it easier

  • Think about what you could do to make your work life easier.
  • Plan meetings to invite people to your place or to set up video calls.
  • It’s okay to tell your manager what your ideal hours of work are if you’re a casual pregnant worker. Your employer may be able to offer you this time if, for example, you are most productive after 11am when morning sickness is under control.
  • You can plan ahead for how you will respond to difficult situations. People might touch or comment on your belly, for example. If you feel uncomfortable, it is okay to tell others not to do it. It is your body.

Organization of things at work

  • It depends on what job you have, you may need to inform your coworkers, colleagues, and clients about any changes in your position.
  • You can start planning for a handover by listing the parts of your job you will need to share with others while you are on leave. You can schedule training and handover activities far in advance so that you don’t get overwhelmed or stressed out before you go on leave.
  • Tell your manager if things aren’t going according to plan or you feel overwhelmed.

Going for pregnancy appointments

  • Make arrangements for medical appointments in advance and take time off if necessary.
  • Ask your doctor or midwife about nearby clinics and health care services that are open during business hours.
  • You might be eligible to work public holidays if you are a shift or casual worker. This will make up the income lost when you miss appointments. Public holidays are usually paid at a higher rate.
  • You shouldn’t feel guilty about missing appointments or taking sick time when you aren’t well. It’s your right.

It doesn’t matter if you’re a casual or permanent worker, it’s worth learning more about your rights and entitlements as a pregnant woman.

Plan your return to work

Many parents who work wish they had thought more about how to prepare for their return from parental leave. This can make returning to work easier and more enjoyable.

Although planning is important, keep in mind that plans and ideas may change once you have children. It is possible to decide to stay home longer than expected or to return to work sooner than you originally planned. These things have their rules, so make sure to talk with your employer. It is a good idea for you to allow yourself to think, talk, and negotiate.

These are some tips to help plan your return to work after a pregnancy.

Family and work considerations

  • Consider your career goals, family arrangements, and work-life balance. Talking with your employer can help you figure out the best return on your work.
  • Talk to your partner about your plans to return to work, and what it means for you and your family.
  • Discuss with your partner, if they have one, whether they will be taking some time off from work after the baby’s birth and how you will share child care once you return to work.
  • Create a support network for your family. This network could include family members, friends, and community members.

Practical matters

  • Consider your financial situation. It can be helpful to know in advance how much time you can avoid working for paid work. A family budget might be helpful.
  • Find out if you are eligible for government parental payments.
  • If you are interested in child care, consider the options available. You might have to place your child’s name onto a waiting list depending on where you live or the type of care you choose before your baby is born. Consider hiring a nanny, or asking about grandparents taking care of your child.
  • Find out about parent and family support services.
  • There are many ways you can make your life easier. You could order groceries online, or have a pick-up list for child care.

Work arrangements

  • Review your employment contract to find out your rights.
  • Talk to your employer about how you can keep in touch with your company during your leave. Many employers offer informal arrangements, such as intranet access or more formal events such as return to work seminars. You can work up to 10 days while on unpaid parental leave to “keep in touch” – to, for example, get used to working again or to familiarize yourself with new systems.
  • Talk to your employer about a return-to-work option. This could include new or more flexible work arrangements, or roles such as part time. Your employer should usually consider all options and come up with a fair decision. Consider where you might be willing to compromise or negotiate.
  • Discuss breastfeeding at work with your employer. This includes facilities where you can express breastmilk, refrigerate breastmilk and breastfeed.

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