Coping with Anxiety and Depression During Pregnancy
How to Cope With Being Pregnant at Work
Most women continue to work during pregnancy, but you should not need to suffer to do so. By making some reasonable accommodations, easing morning sickness, managing fatigue, and handling workplace relations, you can successfully cope with pregnancy at your place of employment. With a few simple changes, you can remain safe and comfortable at work.
Avoid hazardous materials and dangerous activities.Some chemicals are known to negatively impact fetal growth. Furthermore, some activities--like heavy lifting or performing x-rays--are known to be dangerous for pregnant women. If you’re in a job with dangerous conditions, you should ask to be shifted to other duties (not involving chemicals handling, heavy lifting, or x-rays) for the duration of your pregnancy and lactation.
- If you work in an industry that handles chemicals, find out immediately what is safe for you to be around and what is not.
- Look into your legal rights and be sure that your workplace is not violating them.
Make physical accommodations for yourself.Try to make your work experience as comfortable as possible. If you'll be sitting, choose a comfortable chair. If you'll be standing (in one spot), add an additional mat under your feet. If you'll be at a computer, aim to create an ergonomically correct workstation. If you need to grab or pick up items (for instance, in retail work), consider using a "grabber arm" in order to avoid excess bending.
Ask your employer for help.Talk to your employer about implementing any reasonable accommodations that will help you to work more comfortably. If you are comfortable, you'll be able to work more effectively and stay at work later into your pregnancy. Review your employee handbook and/or state/province/country guidelines to find out what rights you are entitled to.
- For example, you might need to run to the restroom more often that the average employee. You might say, "Can we make a plan to manage times when I need to step away?"
- If you need more breaks/snacks, you could say, "Would it be possible for me to take shorter breaks more often, instead of a long lunch?"
- If you need some time off work for doctor's appointments, you could say, "I need to schedule my doctor's appointments during business hours and these can conflict with my work schedule. I thought maybe we could work together to find the best times before I made official appointments."
Wear comfortable clothing and shoes.Even if your "regular" clothing still fits, it may press on your body in uncomfortable ways. You can help ease any discomfort and feel cute by wearing specially-made maternity clothes. You may also need to change your footwear. Choose shoes that cushion your feet, while allowing room for swelling.
- Dressing in layers can also be a good way to cope with hot flashes!
Easing Morning Sickness and Heartburn
Snack often, if this benefits you.Frequent snacks can help maintain energy levels when your body may need more calories, and avoid nausea for those women who experience heartburn or morning sickness. Keep healthy snacks with you at work.
- Fresh fruit, dried fruit, nuts, crackers, cheese, milk/non-dairy drinks, and water are good selections to have at hand.
- Try to avoid snacking on high-sugar, low-quality foods. These can contribute to feeling tired.
- Talk to your employer about working short snack-breaks into your schedule.
Avoid nausea triggers.These can be drastically different for everyone, but it will be obvious what makes your stomach turn. This can be tricky if what triggers your nausea are your co-workers. Consider moving your work station (if possible), or asking co-workers to alter their behaviors (if you think it will help).Some common triggers include:
- Food smells
- Perfume smells
- Greasy foods
- Visual triggers, such as watching people eat
- Smoke - from cigarettes or other sources.
Take nausea medication.Some over-the-counter and prescription nausea medications are approved for use during pregnancy. Talk to your doctor about the best options for you, especially if morning sickness is interfering with your happiness, comfort, or ability to work.
- Supplements such as B6 might help.
- Dramamine is approved for use during pregnancy.
- Prescription drugs such as doxylamine and pyridoxine are approved for use during pregnancy, but they have been shown to cause drowsiness.
Try natural alternatives.You also have a number of natural nausea remedies available to you that you can explore. Every person is different, so you will need to experiment to find something that works for you.You might try:
- Mint (essential oil, tea, or candies)
- Ginger (tea, hard candies, ginger chews, or supplements)
- Acupressure therapy (such as motion sickness bracelets)
Manage heartburn.Another common digestive problem during pregnancy is heartburn. When it comes to managing heartburn, you have a couple of options. You can avoid heartburn-producing foods (such as tomato sauce, greasy food, spicy food, citrus, or dairy), and/or you can take approved medication.
- Some OTC approved medications for heartburn include: Tums, Mylanta, Maalox, or Pepcid.
- Your doctor may recommend Zantac or Tagamet if your heartburn is severe.
Stay hydrated.Particularly if you are prone to morning sickness (but even if you are not), staying hydrated can help keep you healthy and comfortable during your pregnancy. Drinking water after you eat may also help prevent heartburn..
- Plain water is your best option, but sparkling water, coconut water, non-dairy milks, and occasional fruit juice are good choices, too
- If you have been vomiting, it is especially important to consume fluids.
- For some, sparkling water can help ease nausea.
Consume iron-rich foods.Fatigue may come as the result of anemia, or low iron, which is quite common during pregnancy. You can counter anemia and boost your energy levels by consuming plenty of iron-rich foods.
- Some iron-rich foods include: meat, poultry, spinach (and other leafy greens), broccoli, sweet potatoes, beans, and fortified cereals.
- Supplementing iron is an option, but it can cause upset stomach, so this may not be a good choice for you.
Take frequent breaks.Taking short, frequent breaks can help keep your energy up while you're at work. Getting up and walking around or resting your eyes in a dark room for a few minutes can do wonders for your mood and help counter fatigue. Do this as often as you are able during your work day.
- Speak to your employer about working short breaks into your daily schedule.
Maintain a fitness routine.Fitness may be the furthest thing from your mind during pregnancy (especially if you are not feeling well). However, maintaining a modest fitness routine can help boost energy levels and keep you (and your baby) healthy.
- Try going for a walk after work each night (or on your lunch break).
- Look for prenatal fitness classes (such as yoga, Zumba, or water aerobics) in your area.
- Be careful not to overexert yourself.
Go to bed early.The best way to cope with pregnancy fatigue is to sleep as much as possible. Avoid staying up late to tackle tasks. Rest is more important to a healthy, comfortable pregnancy than crossing items off of your to-do list.
Handling Workplace Relations
Decide when to tell people.Many people choose to disclose their pregnancy toward the end of the first trimester. However, if you suffer from severe morning sickness, you may need to inform your employer of the pregnancy sooner. Determine when you'd like to inform your employer, and who you are comfortable sharing this information with.
Know your rights.Find out your legal rights in relation to work and pregnancy. Research the guidelines for your country and province/state, as well as the policies specific to your workplace.Such guidelines should help explain:
- Hazardous actions that you should avoid at work, and safe alternatives
- How many sick days/family days you can take
- What (if any) accommodations will be offered during your pregnancy
- The length of your maternity leave
- Your ability to pump breast milk after you return
Plan your maternity leave.If you will be taking a maternity leave from work, work with your employer to determine the approximate start date and end date. Determine what you will need to do ahead of time to prepare for this absence, and do it as early as possible. As your due date nears, leave everything you work with (your station, desk, locker, etc.) neat and orderly before going home each day. Your baby may arrive sooner than you think!
- You may want to compose a written "maternity leave plan," that outlines exactly what you have agreed to, including the length of your leave, what (if any) contact you will have with your workplace while you are gone, and what (if any) duties you will continue to perform while you are gone.
QuestionI work long hours, and I've got another small child. What can I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerOne answer is to ask for help. Do you have friends or family members who can help look after your 2 year old sometimes? It is possible for you to take a couple of days away from work in order to rest? If neither of these are an option for you, all you can do is try to get as much rest as you can. Play low-movement games with your toddler, or have movie nights.Thanks!
QuestionI am required to work long hours and do some heavy lifting at work. What should I do?Brian MerrittCommunity AnswerFirst off, you should be consulting a doctor. It's not healthy for a pregnant woman to experience too much stress or exhaustion. You need to take time off and relax, and if your boss won't allow that, there are laws in place to protect you.Thanks!
QuestionIs it possible to get pregnant from pre-cum if he pulled out?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerAbsolutely. Take a pregnancy test.Thanks!
QuestionI'm not ready to tell anyone about my pregnancy, but I'm not feeling well at work. What should I do?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerJust act normal and start increasing your loose clothing while you haven't started to show yet, so that nobody will suspect anything when you do start to show. If you need to stay home from work (or need to reduce your activity at work) you can say you hurt your ankle or have kidney stones or something like that, so you can't be as active.Thanks!
- You have the right to set boundaries. Your co-workers should never touch your "bump" without your permission.
- If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of being fired as a result of being pregnant, seek immediate legal advice, or go to the government department responsible for labor laws in your country. In some countries it's illegal to fire a woman for being pregnant!
- Get your health professional's advice when you are worried about the potential for aspects of your work impacting on the baby's health; do your research but also ensure that a qualified person canvases your concerns thoroughly. Your doctor can be your best ally.
Sources and Citations
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