How to Stay Well while Working during Pregnancy with 5 Self-Care Solutions
The other week I announced some news I’ve been quietly keeping to myself for the past few months. Amidst the juggle of parenting a busy toddler and growing a business I’m getting ready to welcome a second baby into the picture.
Working during pregnancy can present special challenges. I’ve been doing my best to keep up with business as usual while battling less than pleasant early pregnancy symptoms.
If you’re pregnant or have ever been pregnant, you can probably relate. But with a few solutions it’s possible to prioritize your wellness while working during pregnancy.
A quick note before diving into these solutions: If you’re experiencing pregnancy related health challenges (e.g. debilitating nausea or prenatal depression) that are making it hard for you to function in your day to day life and work, speak with your healthcare provider. Different pregnancies present different challenges. The solutions shared below are meant only as general advice for prioritizing your wellness while working throughout your pregnancy and is not intended to be health or medical advice.
Self-Care Solution # 1: Know Your Rights
Most Canadian workplaces are regulated by provincial or territorial employment standards and human rights codes.
Do you need accommodations to your work duties (think exposure to hazardous materials, standing for long hours, and heavy lifting)? Are pregnancy complications leaving you wondering if and how you can take some time away from work to stay healthy? What flexibility can you expect in your work schedule to attend medical appointments?
If you have questions about your workplace rights, answers are just a few clicks or a phone call away. To find out more about your provincial or territorial employment standards and human rights visit here and here to get started. Find the agency for your province or territory, click to visit its website, and if you still have questions after browsing online information pick up the phone. Most agencies have representatives you can speak with to clarify your unique situation and provide the answers you need.
Self-Care Solution # 2: Be Prepared for Morning Sickness
If you’re experiencing morning sickness, keep a toothbrush, toothpaste, face cloths, and makeup in your desk. If you become sick while at work you’ll be glad to have these items on hand to freshen up, so you can feel ready to continue your day. If your morning sickness becomes debilitating be sure to discuss treatment options with your healthcare provider, as well as the possibility for sick leave with your manager or HR department.
Self-Care Solution # 3: Harness Your Power Preggers
Find your ‘power preggers.’ A term coined by Lara Setrakian, who while very pregnant built News Deeply, a new media empire covering major world conflicts. She credits her pregnancy for making her a stronger CEO.
Pregnancy can challenge us in many ways, but challenge makes us stronger. Take what you’re feeling and channel it into something positive at work (for instance, I wrote this blog post while feeling those pesky early pregnancy symptoms, turning a challenging situation into inspiration).
For some women pregnancy can be a highly productive time. You have a firm deadline (a.k.a. due date) to reach your work goals before baby arrives. Now that's motivation to get the job done.
Self-Care Solution # 4: Prioritize R & R
Make a self-care plan that prioritizes rest, exercise, healthy meals, good sleep hygiene, fun, and personal relationships. Schedule time into your calendar to meet your self-care needs before adding other work and personal commitments.
Think of activities such as prenatal yoga, which teaches deep breathing that helps you stay focused and alert, perfect for combatting pregnancy fatigue. Consider low-key hobbies such as reading or knitting that engage your intellectual or creative side and give you time to recharge so you can bring a better version of yourself to your work.
Don’t sweat it if you have days when you can’t stick to your plan. There will be times when other priorities come up. But if your self-care plan starts to feel like an unrealistic ideal or a burden, it’s time to re-evaluate and set more realistic goals for rest and relaxation.
Self-Care Solution # 5: Build Your Support Network at Home
If you’re struggling to meet the demands of work while finding time to rest and care for yourself, it’s time to get more help at home. If you’re limited in how much support you have from other family members, make use of services to lighten your load such as grocery delivery and cleaning services, and you can always ask friends and neighbours to lend a helping hand. If you have a partner to lean on, now’s the time to make sure you’re splitting responsibilities at home in a way that works for both of you. You’re already doing a ton of work making a baby; let go of any guilt you have over asking for help.
The best part about practicing these solutions during your pregnancy is you’re building a solid foundation of self-care for once your baby arrives. Developing self-care habits now will not only help you bring a little more joy into your pregnancy while managing the demands of your career, but these habits will also serve you well while you’re combining motherhood and career in the future.
Do you have questions about pregnancy and career? Are you facing an upcoming maternity leave and need assistance navigating this career transition? Contact Meg to get career advice that’s customized to your needs as an expectant mom.