Dealing with Pregnancy Challenges in the Workplace


Working while pregnant can be extremely challenging, and no doubt it is; you have another life growing inside you! You may feel the pressure to perform to the standard you did when you weren’t pregnant and prove that you’re still a force to be reckoned with. However, you’ll be dealing with the feeling of just wanting to go home, and curl up in bed at the same time. You may feel very conflicted at this time, and be facing numerous challenges at work, but this doesn’t mean that just because you are pregnant, you can’t be successful at work. Quite the opposite really!

Telling Your Employer

Legally, you don’t have to inform your employer of your pregnancy until the 15th week before the baby is due. However, telling your boss of your pregnancy can be sometimes difficult as they will need to arrange cover whilst you’re on maternity leave. So you want to do everything in your power to make it go as smoothly as possible. Many women wait till the end of the first trimester, when the risk of miscarriage is greatly lower, before telling their employer. Once your boss knows of your pregnancy you are protected against pregnancy related discrimination, and giving notice of your pregnancy also informs your employer that you are entitled to paid maternity leave; your employer may ask for proof of appointments during the pregnancy.

First Trimester

The first trimester of pregnancy can be strange and can present its own set of challenges, such as nausea, anxiety, and fatigue. However, these symptoms tend to subside as you go into the second trimester. But during the first trimester most women have not told their employer that they are pregnant yet, due to the higher risk of miscarriage. So it is a challenge when you seem sick or tired for no reason before telling your boss.

Third Trimester The third trimester can also present its own unique set of challenges, such as fatigue, backache and swelling. Unlike the first trimester your employer should know about your pregnancy, so that challenge has passed. As you are carrying the extra weight of the baby, you possibly may be experiencing sleepless nights and anxiety about the ever looming birth. During this time, you must create a safer, more comfortable work environment and must be careful not to over exert yourself, eat several small meals a day, put your feet up and remember to ask for help!

Returning to Work

After the birth of your child and the end of your maternity leave, many women wish to return to work. However, not all women do. Instead, they prefer to stay at home and raise their children, although this does not mean that is all they do. They may take online courses, such as an online women’s health nurse practitioner course or WHNP degree, now that they have a hands on experience with pregnancy. Or they may consider to work from home or part-time so they can have a good balance of home life and work life.

Pregnancy is supposed to be a joyous time for the women, although it does present many challenges. Hopefully with this list the challenge of the work environment is lightened.


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Founded in 1994 by the late Pamela Hulse Andrews, Cascade Business News (CBN) became Central Oregon’s premier business publication. •

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