Black pregnant business woman suffering backache at modern office

As you’re preparing for maternity leave, you may be wondering when it’s best to stop working.

Several factors impact that decision, including your medical needs, financial situation and personal preferences.

Some expecting moms want to work as long as possible while other moms have a set date for when to start their leave even if baby hasn’t arrived yet.

The right choice for you depends entirely on what you and your family need.


When and How to Share Your Pregnancy in the Workplace

The general rule of thumb is to wait to share your news until after the first trimester, but different situations and factors might affect that timeline.

You may want to make your announcement sooner if:

  • Your job involves heavy lifting
  • You’re exposed to chemicals or other hazards at work
  • You’re feeling particularly sick
  • You’re experiencing complications that require frequent doctor’s visits or lots of rest

However, you might consider waiting if:

  • You have a promotion or performance review on the horizon and you’re worried the news might impact that
  • You’re concerned about how your boss might react

Keep in mind that if you’ve already told your coworkers, word might spread. Your boss would rather hear the news from you directly than your colleagues or social media.


Tips for Informing Your Employer

  1. Do your homework. Look into your workplace’s policies about pregnancy. That information might be in the employee handbook or an internal website. If you can’t find what you’re looking for, ask HR for help.
  2. Schedule a meeting. It’s best to make an appointment to sit down and discuss in private rather than mentioning your pregnancy in passing. That will allow you to discuss any concerns, ask questions and brainstorm solutions. If you’re worried about how your boss will take the news, consider inviting an HR representative to the meeting, as well.
  3. Discuss the nitty gritty. Will you need to share any duties leading up to your due date? Who will cover for you while you’re on maternity leave? Will you need to assist with hiring or training temporary help? What’s the timeline for the full transition? How long of a maternity leave would you like to take? What factors might impact the date you start your leave?
  4. Stay positive. This is a joyous time! There’s no need to apologize or feel guilty for being pregnant. Reassure your boss that you’re a valuable part of the team and that pregnancy won’t change that.
  5. Follow up. After the meeting, send an email to your boss and HR to recap the plan you discussed.


How to Stay Comfortable Working When Pregnant

Tips for a Desk Job

  • Move around: Stand and walk at least every hour to prevent or remedy swollen feet and ankles. While you’re up, do a few stretches to alleviate lower back pain.
  • Make adjustments: Properly adjusting your chair and computer can help you prevent strains.
  • Request modifications: Items like wrist guards, a wrist rest, a footrest, and a pillow or cushion for lower back support can make you feel much more comfortable while sitting all day.

Tips for a Standing Job

  • Take breaks: Sit and put your feet up.
  • Dress practically: Wear comfy shoes and well-fitting maternity clothing. If you’re struggling with swelling and varicose veins, consider pregnancy compression socks.
  • Request modifications: Ask if you can sit on a tall stool or request a short stool or box to prop one foot up.
  • Add support: Wear a pregnancy support belt to help relieve back pain.

Additional Tips for Enhancing Comfort at Work

  • Stay hydrated and eat regular meals and snacks to prevent morning sickness and dips in blood sugar. Aim for a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
  • Reduce stress or find ways to manage it. Stretching, deep-breathing exercises, yoga and short walks are all great ways to clear your mind and alleviate frustrations.
  • Accept help. If your coworkers want to help you, let them! That can greatly reduce your stress or prevent injuries.


How to Cope with Common Pregnancy Symptoms at Work

Morning sickness: About 70% of pregnant women experience nausea or vomiting during pregnancy, especially in the first trimester. Talk with your provider about ways to alleviate that discomfort. If you’re struggling to keep food down, pack a kit for the workplace with a toothbrush, toothpaste and mouthwash. Eat small meals and snacks throughout the day and drink ginger tea or ginger ale to settle your stomach.

  • Note: if you’re struggling with morning sickness and it’s affecting your performance or causing you to duck out of meetings or miss work, it might be a good idea to tell your boss about your pregnancy sooner rather than later so they can understand these changes in your behavior.

Fatigue: It’s common to feel exhausted during the first trimester and as you’re approaching your due date. Be sure to rest when you’re not working. And try to get 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep every night.

Frequent Urination: You might find yourself visiting the restroom often during pregnancy. If you can, opt for shorter, more frequent breaks versus longer, fewer breaks. And beware of holding in your urine for too long, as that can weaken your bladder and cause urinary tract infections.

Back or pelvic pain: As your ligaments and joints adjust to account for the growing baby in your womb, you might experience pain in your back or pelvis. It’s important to wear supportive shoes, have good posture and take breaks when necessary. Consider wearing a pregnancy support belt and using heating pads or ice packs to alleviate pain.


Signs You Should Stop Working When Pregnant

Your physician may recommend starting your leave early if:

  • You have high blood pressure, a cervical insufficiency or intrauterine growth restriction (IUGR)
  • Your baby isn’t growing properly
  • You’re at risk for preeclampsia
  • You have a history of stillbirth, preterm birth or late miscarriage
  • You’re at risk for preterm labor, which includes symptoms like:
    • Abdominal pain, cramping or pressure
    • Watery, bloody or other vaginal discharge
    • Increased discharge of any kind
    • Back pain
    • Regular or frequent contractions, whether they’re painful or not
    • Water breaking

If you have any concerns or experience symptoms of preterm labor, talk with your healthcare provider as soon as possible.


Finding a Reliable OBGYN in Southgate or Brownstown

A trustworthy physician will guide your pregnancy journey and serve as your advocate to help you and your baby stay as healthy as possible.

The doctors at Northline Women’s Health Center are experienced, compassionate and dedicated to helping you experience a smooth pregnancy and delivery.

Schedule your appointment today.

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Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax