Working through the baby bump

Reshma Krishnamurthy Sharma, Nov 2, 2013:

It is often a dilemma when working women become aware that they are pregnant and they wonder ‘what next’? The dilemma of what would happen if they informed at their work place haunts them. They fear that a pregnancy might hamper their career, promotion, treatment by colleagues, and the likes… True. It’s not very simple being a pregnant working colleague. But it isn’t too complicated either. 

Initial stages

It would not be possible to expect all pregnant women to perform with the same zeal and energy as prior to pregnancy. If possible talk to your boss on a ‘role change’. It is recommended that you go for a lesser demanding role at your office, if it is a possibility. Talk to your seniors and find out what best can be done considering that you want to be committed to the work and also want to take care of yourself in every possible manner, in this situation.

 The announcement

It is easier perhaps not to inform others on pregnancy but not after the third month when colleagues can figure out the growing belly. It is advised you inform your boss first on your new change and slowly to other colleagues. This will also make them win your trust in sharing an important announcement of your life and will enable them to show some extra care (hopefully) towards you. If you have colleagues who carry an indifferent attitude, then it is better to be poised and carry on with work as you normally would.

Promotion and opportunity?

It could be that you are worried about the promotion that you were due to get from the company and you find out you have gotten pregnant. If you decide to go ahead with the pregnancy then be confident and announce your pregnancy to your colleagues. Be prepared to answer questions on what you intend to do post pregnancy. Chart out a plan on your career path before you talk to your seniors about your pregnancy. If you want to take a few months off, then be assertive and confident about your choice. There are career experts who say ‘Opportunities are enormous and you can always come back when you feel confident to come back and sure that your baby is under trusted care’.

Eating at work

If you are continuing to be working full-time until your second trimester or until the end of pregnancy there is a lot of attention required to be paid for what diet you will be having during the nine months. It is easy to binge on several foods but the choice you need to make is to be healthy for yourself and the baby. Be sure to have regular meal times, and adequate amount of water intake. Avoid unnecessary cups of beverages that contain caffeine and try to keep off binging on sweets and crisps.  Have a good healthy breakfast with a mid-morning snack of a fruit and dry fruits for munchies. Ensure your lunch is well-balanced before having to work again for a few hours in a day.

Posture at work

It is very essential that you have adequate back support with a pillow or a very comfortable chair that takes care of your back. You may want to have a small side stool to be able to stretch your legs and keep them on, especially during the second trimester. Move around every hour to avoid swollen feet and leg cramps. Do not hesitate from taking the support of walls or railings while walking. Swallow your pride, mommy! Health and safety first.

Maternity leave benefits

Organizations differ in the maternity leave extended to the women employees. Due to increased awareness on retaining their women employees, companies now are offering various benefits with understanding attitude, leaves and better recovery time post child-birth before women can come back to work. Discuss regarding this with your employer and see what benefits you are entitled to. You don’t have to feel weird; it’s your right as an employee!

Understand your body 

Do not go overboard. It is possible that you have heard of others who have worked until the last week of the pregnancy and delivered a healthy baby. But you need not prove it to anyone! The most important concern for you is to take care of yourself and your baby without exerting yourself too much. You may have monetary issues, due to which, you cannot avoid taking a sabbatical or request for an early break from work.

You need to know your limits very well in such cases. Request a small cut in the number of work hours you put in. If your employer is understanding enough, (s)he will certainly make that small allowance for you.

This article was published in the She page of Living supplement of Deccan Herald on November 2nd 2013

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