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Navigating Pregnancy as A Career Women

Reproductive health  •  12 December 2023  • 7 min read

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Navigating Pregnancy as A Career Women

“Oh wow! You’re pregnant! You should put up your feet and rest!” Or “How amazing! Just keep working as long as you can, even while you’re pregnant!”  

Between these two contrasting, contradictory yet well-meaning suggestions is often a confused ‘you’, wondering where your career will go now? What about being a good mother? Is it possible to pursue your career goals while coping with the duties of motherhood? Are you doing the right thing?

Once the initial euphoria subsides, you have to start taking practical decisions that will impact you and the little one growing inside your womb. After all, pregnancy is a round the clock job in itself, that will transform into a lifetime commitment. 

Should you work till you’re about to deliver or take a sabbatical from work? 

Let’s share our thoughts on how you can go through these incredible 9 months, while keeping yourself healthy, cheerful and fairly stress-free.

One day at a time!

The initial days are often characterised with morning sickness, fatigue and insomnia. After speaking to your gynecologist, give yourself the freedom to take each day as it comes. It’s okay to not be okay. 

Thankfully, most organisations are now embracing the concept of a working mom and also the hybrid concept of work, and if your workplace has the option, work from home on days when you just don’t have the energy to step out.

Confide in your senior

Traditionally,  many women and families prefer to announce a pregnancy only after the first trimester. However, since it is the most sensitive phase as well, it is sensible to confide in your boss so that s/he can help you tide through this by adjusting your work hours, schedules, leaves and accommodate your physical limitations. 

Feeling nauseous?

It is definitely a struggle to manage pregnancy symptoms at the workplace. Trying to rush to the washroom to throw up or pee every now and then, is quite embarrassing. Many expectant mothers try to skip meals to avoid such scenarios, but feel worse due to acidity or nauseousness. 

Your nutritionist will usually suggest that you eat small meals every hour or two, and recommend suitable multivitamins. 

Always sleepy?

It’s very normal to feel more drowsy during pregnancy. However, to be constantly sleepy at work can affect your productivity as well as invite sarcastic comments from colleagues who may not yet be aware of your situation. 

To tackle this, ensure that you get a full 8 hours of sleep at night. Even if you don’t fall asleep right away or wake up after 6 hours or so, stay in bed and just rest. Avoid looking at devices during that time. If you can manage one or two short naps during the day, it will keep you feeling fresh throughout. 

(Here’s a little request to all organisations and institutions: Please create a ‘rest and recovery room’ at your workplace, which can accommodate at least a single bed. This will provide a comfortable option for women employees whenever they need to take it easy healthwise) 

Everyone’s asking questions. What do I say?

Any expectant woman will tell how annoying it is to answer endless questions from inquisitive people. Some may politely ask you the due date or inquire about your well-being, others may ask probing or personal questions that are quite frustrating. As a pregnant mother-to-be, you have every right to draw boundaries and politely decline, by saying that you’re not comfortable answering.  

Another easy way out is to ask them about how they’re doing, and then diplomatically change the topic. 

“I’m not good enough!”:

As a working professional, it can be very unsettling when you are not feeling your best or accomplishing as much. This can make you question your self-worth every single day. 

The simplest way is to breathe through this, with calming deep inhales and exhales. Remind yourself that you’re going through the most transformational chapter of your life, and pat yourself on the back for doing as much as possible.

There may be errors and you may have to revise or redo things that you have otherwise done effortlessly before, but that’s fine too. You will pull it off. 

Too many trips to the washroom. It’s so embarrassing!

The urge to use the washroom every few minutes is a very awkward part of pregnancy, especially if you’re at work. Simultaneously, it is important to stay hydrated. To manage this, start multitasking by doing something else. It could be as simple as going to the water cooler on the way to the washroom, or getting something small done on your way back. 

Taking short walks in and around the office or try stepping out for a bit, to clock in a few hundred steps. This will keep you active, and also prevent swollen feet that most pregnant women complain of, while sitting too long in a place. 

Backaches and stiffness

As you go through physiological and hormonal changes, you may experience pain in the lower back region as well as stiffness in the muscles.

By consciously maintaining a proper posture, doing light stretches (as advised by your doc) during the day and stepping out for short walks, you can ensure that the discomfort is minimal. 

Every pregnancy is unique, and you don’t have to compare yourself to others at any point of time. Simply listen to your own body, your intuition and your doctor’s advice. 

Also note that..

An organisation cannot discriminate against you on any count, if you’re pregnant. You are supposed to be accorded the same convenience and concessions that an employee with any other health risk is entitled to receive. You can however refuse to perform any tasks that may be hazardous to your health and safety.

  • A pregnant employee cannot be denied a promotion or forced to quit the job, if her work is up to mark and she is efficiently completing given tasks.
  • A pregnant woman, who is a single mother, has the same rights, benefits and privileges as a married woman. 

Being a pregnant mother-to-be as well as a working professional is a phenomenal accomplishment in itself. If you’re managing to do this, you deserve to be appreciated and admired. It is one of the most crucial phases of your life, and is a time when you need to focus on your physical, mental and emotional well-being. So, don’t doubt your worth or feel guilty about your choices. 

Don’t forget to:

  • Take small steps to fill your day with laughter and contentment. 
  • Keep a gratitude journal to write down what you are most grateful for, and re-read it whenever you’re feeling low.
  • Make your well-being your priority this time around, and find some time to include meditation in your schedule. 
  •  Pamper yourself with things that bring you joy
  • Sit in a peaceful place and listen to uplifting music
  • Spend time with family and friends, and share meaningful conversations

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