12 Worst Things About Being Pregnant at Work and How to Deal With Them

Being pregnant is awesome. Feeling those little flutters and kicks is the most amazing thing in the world and, at times, have moved me to tears.

Being pregnant at work, though? That sucks. At least, like 99% of the time. At least once, it’ll probably move you to tears as well.

Here are some of the worst things you’ll deal with while being pregnant at work – and how to deal with them.

1. Morning Sickness

Feeling nauseous or throwing up in the morning is a completely normal part of pregnancy. That doesn’t make any more fun, though. Even when dealing with it at home, morning sickness can be a nuisance. Having to deal with it at work can be downright irritating.

Can you make it to the bathroom in time?

How nasty are these toilets really?

What do I do if I throw up in a trash can?

Did everyone hear/see/smell that?

Not the questions you want to be asking yourself at work, am I right?

To help combat morning sickness, try eating small portions often. It seems counterintuitive to eat when your stomach is upset, but having an empty stomach will make your morning sickness worse. Also, drink plenty of fluids and try using ginger in a variety of ways to relieve your symptoms.

My favorite was Tazo Green Ginger tea or Stash Lemon Ginger tea with a couple honey graham crackers. That combo got me through many mornings/afternoons and pretty much saved my life before meetings where I couldn’t look like I was going to die at any given moment.

2. Keeping Your Pregnancy Hidden

If you’ve decided to keep your pregnancy from your coworkers for whatever reason, it may be difficult to keep up the charade. If you experience morning sickness, they may notice you running to the bathroom multiple times a day and get suspicious. (Or you know, running to the bathroom to pee a million times a day.)

You may also feel incredibly exhausted and unable to focus, which could start the rumor mill turning.

While it’s completely up to you when and if you want to divulge personal information to your coworkers, keep in mind that telling at least your supervisor or boss could get you some work concessions, which may make your work day easier to endure.

As for everyone else? Don’t be afraid to tell them ever-so-politely that it’s not their business (if any of them are brazen enough to ask).

3. Pregnancy Brain

Being forgetful is a normal part of pregnancy — and it can even have an impact after you’ve had your baby. For ways to cope with not remembering what tasks you have to do at work, write yourself notes and keep a detailed calendar.

Make sure you stock up on Post-it notes and keep them handy as well, and don’t be afraid to put them wherever they’ll be the most effective. Take comfort in knowing that after you become a mom, you’ll actually be more productive at work.

4. A Heightened Sense of Smell

Pregnancy hormones are such wonderful things, and they have the ability to heighten your sense of smell. This, of course, can make scents that you used to enjoy nauseating, which can impact how you feel throughout the day.

Unfortunately, you won’t be able to control all the scents that happen at work, but if you know certain fragrances impact you, do your best to avoid them. You may even consider asking coworkers to refrain from eating particularly stinky foods at their desk until you get over your smell sensitivity.

And if your desk-mate takes two hours to eat her salmon at her desk (true story), try grabbing some coffee beans or grounds in a cup to keep at your desk. Take a whiff to reset your senses when you can’t stand it any longer.

Blessed enough to have a laptop? Reserve a conference room over lunch if you find that coworkers eating at nearby desks leaves you feeling queasy.

5. Maintaining Your Body Temperature

Studies have shown that women’s body temperature can rise a half a degree to one degree during pregnancy. Being hot in and of itself is incredibly uncomfortable, but it also means that you’ll sweat more and be less focused.

To ensure comfort, drink lots of water during the day and wear comfortable and cool clothing. Even if your work is air conditioned, you may consider having a personal fan to keep you even cooler.

6. Being Asked Personal Questions

If and when your coworkers find out about your pregnancy, they may be curious about what you’re experiencing — from morning sickness to weight gain to what you’re having to what you’re going to name the baby.

They may even want to feel the baby move the farther along in the pregnancy you get.

It’s up to you to decide what questions you want to answer and how much touching you want your coworkers to do. Be kind when drawing the line, but do what makes you comfortable.

7. Going to the Bathroom Regularly

The farther you progress during your pregnancy, the more things get squished, and the more you’ll have to go to the bathroom.

Try to plan your day and meetings with this in mind so you can stay comfortable. (Read: don’t schedule two-hour long meetings, ever.)

Getting up frequently is so beneficial for your pregnant body so take your time getting back to your desk after your bathroom break so you can stretch your legs. If you can make it to a bathroom that’s not the closest to you, make the trek so you can get a few extra steps or an extra flight of stairs.

8. Always Being Exhausted

Your body is going through a lot. It’s creating new life, and that takes its toll. To help combat being tired, take plenty of breaks to regain focus.

Throughout the day, take breaks to regain some energy. Try:

  • Taking a walk
  • Drinking a cold glass of water
  • Eating an apple as your snack

If you can, find times during the day to take quick naps — perhaps on your lunch break — and make sure to get to bed early so you’re getting enough rest.

9. Standing or Sitting All Day

Being in one position for extended periods of time isn’t good for our bodies, so if you sit all day, it will have an impact.

Standing all day isn’t a great alternative, though, especially for pregnant women with swelling feet.

To help alleviate these impacts, get up and move throughout the day. If your job requires you to stand for extended periods, ask if it’s possible to sit for short times throughout the day. Most companies are legally required to oblige such requests.

10. Being in Pain

Being pregnant puts a lot of strain and stress on your body, and as you progress through the pregnancy and get bigger, there is more strain. Your muscles will ache, your back will hurt, and your feet will more than likely swell.

To feel better, find ways throughout the day to put your feet up and to relieve the strain on your back and other joints.

Despite frequent breaks, my back ached and my tailbone felt perpetually bruised from the pressure. I finally gave in and got a chair pad for my seat after weeks of pain and consider it one of the best purchases I’ve made thus far.

11. Making Time for Appointments

Your OBGYN will monitor you throughout your pregnancy, and the closer you get to your due date, the more appointments you’ll have. This will impact your work day since you’ll have to leave work to be seen by your doctor.

Knowing in advance when your appointments will be and planning around that schedule will help so you can still be productive at work.

If you’re finding that you need special arrangements – like working from home for an appointment or using flex time – it doesn’t hurt to ask your boss.

12. Worrying Something Will Go Wrong

It’s completely natural to worry about what will happen during your pregnancy and what could potentially go wrong. You may also fear going into labor while at work. To help allay the fear of your water breaking on your office chair, keep a thick pad with you, along with a change of clothes. However, keep in mind very few women actually have their water break before labor begins. Even if you are one of these women, you’ll have plenty of time to get to the hospital before your baby arrives.

Getting ready to bring a baby into the world can be an exciting and emotional experience. After all, you’ve created life, and you are sustaining and nurturing it in your body. It’s a big change but one that you can handle. If you’re working, you face a whole new set of challenges while being pregnant, but with a little information and preparation, you’ll be able to overcome those obstacles too.

What are some other things you’ve had to deal with while being pregnant at work? Share them in the comments below and subscribe for more useful work tips and advice!


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Sarah Landrum is the founder of Punched Clocks.

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