Plenty of people will tell you that pregnancy is the happiest time your life. And sure, the excitement, anticipation and joy that comes with growing a little person is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced.
But pregnancy is also hard. You’re emotionally preparing for the rest of your life as a mom. Your body is changing in ways you never knew possible, and you’re also trying to navigate how to professionally work through your pregnancy.
All to say, moms-to-be aren’t helped by getting a sugar-coated version of what these nine months are like. Instead, here are 10 real advice tips about how to maintain your personal and professional selves while preparing to welcome a new little life into your family.
1. Use Technology to Your Advantage
Millennials know how to use technology to make life easier and more efficient. There are plenty of apps that can help moms-to-be navigate pregnancy, from forums with other moms, tracking baby’s development and providing pregnancy Pilates exercises.
Use these apps to store information like weight gain and doctor’s appointments, and make this busy time just a bit more simple.
2. Share Your News Without Clicking “Share”
In your personal life, you might have shared your pregnancy news with close friends and family right away. After all, you needed to ask your mom for advice about morning sickness and your friends may have noticed your mocktail at happy hour, so you had to come clean.
In the workplace, though, you’ve got to share your news a bit more judiciously. The reasons are practical and personal. It’s common to wait until you’re clear of the first trimester, and always tell your boss first.
This can be difficult if you work in a small office, but your supervisor should be the first to know. The boss is one person you do not want to find out through the grapevine. Schedule a time to talk to them, and be professional and excited. Assure them you look forward to working together throughout your pregnancy and will leave the office in good stead for your maternity leave. Now is the not the time to talk about exact leave plans, or whether or not you plan to come back.
3. Stock Your Snack Drawer Wisely
The snacks you’ve loved pre-pregnancy might not serve you well once the hormones are raging. But ravenous hunger or a nauseous spell can strike you out of nowhere, and you need healthy options.
For morning sickness, keep hard candies and ginger ale on hand to help you through bouts of nausea. Trail mix, protein snack bars and dried fruit are healthy options when hunger hits. There are some foods you need to avoid when pregnant, like fish which is high in mercury and unpasteurized dairy products. Keep those in mind when stocking your fridge and pantry.
4. You’ve Got to Move It, Move It
Sitting all day isn’t great for your body during pregnancy. Heck, it’s not great for your body when you aren’t pregnant. But as your ligaments expand and your joints are under more pressure, it is more important than ever to get up and move. You want to be focused on your work while at work, not on your sore body.
If the weather is nice, some fresh air and a walk around the block will reinvigorate you. Try a few yoga stretches for pregnant women without leaving your office, and your achy back will thank you. After giving birth you will most probably not be allowed to exercise much and that’s when wearing an abdominal binder may come in handy, so you’ll want to have it at hand.
5. Schedule Doctor’s Appointments Wisely
You might be surprised at how often you head to the doctor, between your regular OBGYN checkups, blood draws and other health issues that might crop up. Moms use a lot of their sick time at doctor’s appointments, and that is time they could use during maternity leave or after baby is born.
The thing is, there are four births every second in America, so there is competition for those doctor’s appointments. Whenever possible, schedule them far in advance and at the beginning of the day, before the office gets backed up to ensure you are in and out as quickly as possible.
6. Keep a Spare Hair Tie in Your Drawer
You might be taking weekly — or daily — photos of your growing belly, but you’ll be surprised by pants that fit in the morning and are painfully tight by lunchtime. Smart moms keep a hair tie or two in their desk drawer to make those button up pants just a bit larger.
Just loop the hair tie around the button, through the button hole, and back around the button to give yourself an extra inch or two.
7. Keep Extra Vitamins at Your Desk
Your doctor has told you about the importance of taking your prenatal vitamins. But sleepy mornings and busy evenings mean you’ll probably forget to take them more than you’ll want to admit.
Keep a few extra vitamins in your desk drawer so you can stay on track with those important nutrients.
8. Work Through Your Pregnancy and Maternity Leave With Your Boss
The Boy Scouts are on to something with their motto, “Be Prepared.” It applies to pregnancy and maternity leave at work, too. If your job requires heavy lifting or exposure to chemicals, you’ll want to start planning alternatives as soon as possible.
And a thorough plan to see your colleagues and boss through your maternity leave cannot be overstated. In addition to helping your coworkers, it will also give you peace of mind as you prepare for the baby.
9. Identify Your Own Stress Relievers
Stress levels jump when pregnant, and they can negatively impact your sleep, work and health. Now is the time to recognize your own healthy coping mechanisms, like light exercise, meditation or even the latest craze, adult coloring books.
No matter what works for you, it’s best for baby and mom if you can keep stress to a minimum.
10. Splurge for a Reusable Water Bottle
Water is crucial to ensure the effectiveness of the prenatal vitamins, stave off fatigue and prevent the dreaded pregnancy constipation. Pregnant women should drink as many as 13 glasses a day, which can be tough for those trying to work through pregnancy.
Buy yourself a large reusable water bottle that you’ll only have to refill once or twice to get the allotted H20. You can flavor it with lemons or fruit to help make drinking this much water a bit more palatable.
Moms should be honest with each other. It can be hard to navigate pregnancy while also killing it at work. If you want to successfully work through your pregnancy, try some of these tips to stay happy, healthy and stress free — or as stress free as possible — during this exciting time for you and your family.