There are many benefits to working in a job that you love. These include the opportunity to collaborate with trusted colleagues, complete projects successfully, and building lasting friendships. However, being pregnant can have a profound impact on how you view your job.
It doesn’t matter if you are a journalist, a cop or middle school science teacher, you need to know everything about pregnancy and working while pregnant. Your body may change and you will need to take different precautions to protect your comfort and health. Remember that all employees, including pregnant women, have the right to a safe workplace.
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Here are some tips to help you navigate this nine-month journey.
What rights do you have at work when you are pregnant?
The law will protect you if your boss is compromising safety. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the federal agency responsible for setting and enforcing safety standards at work, created the Occupational Safety and Health Law of 1970. It requires employers to ensure a safe workplace and follow safety and health guidelines.
What does this mean? Your employer must inform you if you are exposed to chemicals or other hazards while at work. If you are not familiar with the safety conditions for your job, it is a good idea to do some research.
OSHA has a Safety Data Sheet which details possible hazards and chemicals. If you are still unsure if you are safe, you can ask for a copy to show your doctor. You can have her determine whether it is safe to keep your job, or if you should transfer or take a maternity leave early. If your employer does not comply with safety and health regulations, you can file a complaint to OSHA.
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While some jobs may be safer or more suitable for pregnant women than others; most workplace problems can be avoided by taking the necessary precautions and making changes. These are some questions you should ask to help you assess your current job situation and decide what is safe for you while pregnant.
- Are you working in strenuous work? Some jobs that involve heavy lifting, prolonged standing or physical exertion may increase your risk of developing certain pregnancy complications. Talk to your doctor if these are tasks you do. If necessary, request a transfer to a lower-paying job until you return from maternity leave.
- Are you a heavy-duty operator of dangerous machinery? Talk to your boss if you work in a factory or other manufacturing position that involves dangerous or heavy machinery. Concerns? Concerns?
- Are you exposing yourself to dangerous chemicals? If you work in certain areas, such as computer-chip, dry cleaning or ship-building plants rubber factories, leather factories, pottery studios and toll booths, you could be exposed to arsenic or carbon monoxide, lead, or dioxins that can pose a risk to your baby. Ask your employer for safer alternatives.
- Are you a healthcare worker It’s part and parcel of their job. Physicians, nurses, and medical technicians are constantly at risk. Pregnant healthcare workers need to take extra precautions and ask for a change in their duties if they are unable to avoid cancer-fighting drugs, radiation, anesthetic gasses, and chemicals used to sterilize medical equipment (such as formaldehyde or ethylene oxide). Follow workplace protocols to ensure radiation safety. You may need to wear a special device if you work with high-dose radiation to monitor your daily exposure and ensure that levels do not exceed safety limits. Be sure to be cautious when treating patients with COVID-19 (hepatitis B), HIV, and cytomegalovirus. It is a good idea to use gloves, wash your hands and keep all immunizations current.
- Are you at risk of other diseases? Toxoplasmosis is a disease that can be spread from animals to humans. Toxoplasmosis can be transmitted to humans by eating uncooked meat or ingesting animal feces (cat feces). To determine if you are immune, get tested. If you are not, use gloves to protect your skin and wash your hands afterward. Teachers and social workers who work with children can be infected by CMV, fifth disease, and chickenpox. Make sure you are up to date on your vaccinations and wear protective gloves and a mask.
- Are you spending too much time at your computer? While very low radiation levels from laptops and computer monitors are not a danger to pregnant women, the wrist, hand and finger pain that can result from typing too often can be. You can feel the pain of carpal tunnel syndrome if you are feeling it. To help prevent this, try typing with a soft touch. Keep your wrists straight, your hands lower than your elbows, and wear wrist braces.
- Is there anything else that seems risky? No matter where your job is, common sense should be your first priority. Wear protective clothing, such as a respirator or mask, whenever you are required. Talk to your doctor about your particular circumstances to find out what could be hazardous.
How to deal with work stress while pregnant
It’s hard enough to deal with anxiety about your job when you aren’t pregnant. The stress level can increase if you are pregnant. It’s possible that you are working extra to make up for lost work, or worrying about your job security.
These worries are compounded by the anxiety you feel about having children, which can lead to serious work stress during pregnancy. There are steps that you can take to reduce even the most severe job-related anxiety.
- Talk to your employer. Ask your employer about the details of your maternity leave and any financial and health benefits that you can expect. Get this information in writing. It’s smart to be aware of your rights under the Family and Medical Leave Act. If you are concerned about losing your job or feeling left out, be open.
- Your resume should be updated. Stress can be eased by being prepared for every possibility. You might be concerned about your company’s lack of health benefits. If this is the case, you can consider changing your job search to find a better position. Employers are open to hiring pregnant women so update your resume and consider other opportunities.
- Keep your eyes on the present and the positive. It’s not worth worrying about the negative things that might happen at work. After you have prepared your bank account, you can focus on the positives. Instead of worrying about when the axe will fall, spend some time looking at your belly or contemplating cute names for your baby.
- Take breaks. Remember that your most important task is to care for your baby-to be. Instead of being exhausted at work, take a break and go for a walk or deep breathing. You’ll be less likely to get stressed out during pregnancy if you take your time.
How to be comfortable at work while you’re pregnant
You won’t always like your job even if it’s what you expect. There will always be days when your feet ache, your neck, eyes and wrists ache, your legs ache or you want to curl up on the couch in sweats. These are some ways to soothe your pain.
- Let your lower half relax. Are your lower extremities aching or swelling? Elevating your feet and legs can provide great relief. You can rest your tired feet on a stool, wastebasket, or box. Take off your shoes if possible.
- Get up early and often. Plan to go every hour if you are required to. It will relieve the pressure on the bladder that is becoming increasingly squeezed by the uterus and make you feel more comfortable.
- Your chair can be redesigned. Although your desk chair may have been comfortable in the past, it can be a problem as you age. To make more room between your belly & the desk, adjust the recline of your chair.
- You can support yourself. If you feel sore, add a lumbar pillow for your lower back. Use any ergonomic equipment your company offers (keyboards and mouse, telephone, etc.). Ask your company if they have any and ask for reimbursement.
- Get up often. Sitting for a long time can cause you to be stiff. Make sure you get up and stretch often. Sitting for too long can cause leg pain, reduce circulation and make you feel tired. There are many reasons to get up and move around every 30 minutes to an half hour. Even going to the ladies’ room or refilling your water bottles counts. ).
- Rest your bones. Do you always stand on your toes? This is the right time to incorporate some sitting into your daily routine. Find ways to rest your legs. If that fails, you can do some stretching, lean against a piece of furniture or wall, and wear sturdy shoes. Talk to your employer about working as a seat-maker.
- Stretch often. Sitting in your chair, stretch your arms and neck at least once an hour. Reach high by raising your arms above the head and clasping your fingers. Next, spread your arms high above your head, and place your hands on a table or desk. Now, sit down and turn your feet in each direction. To release tension from your neck and shoulders, bend over and touch your feet.
- Wear layers. Comfortable and professional attire is key to your job satisfaction. Layers are important, no matter what the weather outside is like inside. Your body temperature can change dramatically when you are pregnant. If you are hot, wear a light t-shirt underneath your sweater and a cardigan if it’s cold.
What happens if you have to change your job during pregnancy?
It may seem counterintuitive for a mom to consider adding another job, given all the changes taking place right now (like the growing responsibilities that go with a growing belly). There are many reasons that a mom who is pregnant might choose to change jobs. These include a less stressful commute, higher pay, flexible hours, or the desire for a major change.
Before you make any major decisions, weigh the pros and cons. These are some of the points to consider:
- Consider your options when researching benefits. Many companies won’t give you paid maternity leave if it has been a while since you worked there. Do not leave your job without learning about the parental leave benefits offered by the company you are considering. Also confirm that they will be available for a new hire.
- Avoid the “grass-is-greener” syndrome. While it may appear that other workplaces offer desirable perks and benefits, you need to understand the whole picture. Do you want to know if the company that you are considering offers twice the vacation time and doubles your health insurance? Are people able to work remotely but still need to be available 24/7? Is the pay better, but the travel longer? If you have been working for less than one year, your short-term disability days may be shorter or you might earn a lower percentage of what you make during your leave.
- Be realistic. You need to be realistic. Looking for work requires time and energy. Instead of focusing on a healthy pregnancy, you should focus on finding the right job. You will typically be required to attend several meetings and interviews before being offered a job. You will need to be able to concentrate well in order for a job change.
- Full disclosure is a good idea. Ultimately, it’s your decision. They have no legal right to refuse or ask you for an offer. Although you might be tempted not to tell anyone about your pregnancy, many job-seeking moms find it better to first get an offer and then to discuss your future plans with your potential employer. You need to consider all angles before you make a decision.