Being pregnant and working can be difficult, but there are things you can do to be an awesome coworker to an expectant mom.
Being pregnant doesn’t mean your coworker is disabled, and no one should treat her like she is. She’s growing a life inside her, and she’s probably going to be cranky, tired and forgetful, but she’s still the same person you’ve known and worked with.
However, because she’s going to be cranky, tired and forgetful — and perhaps have days where she’s throwing up — things will change when she’s in the office.
Being pregnant is a challenging experience — for some with difficult pregnancies, it’s even more demanding — and being at work doesn’t make anything easier. Being supportive will help your coworker through her tough days and give her peace of mind. Here are a few awesome things you can do to support your pregnant coworker.
1. Cover for Them
Throughout the entire pregnancy, your coworker may be at work less than normal. Whether they are running to the bathroom to throw up or taking time off to go to doctor’s appointments, it’s important to realize that someone needs to cover for her absence.
Help out by letting your coworker know you’ve got her back and offer to take care of business if she needs to be away from the office.
2. Feed Them
One of the best ways to lessen morning sickness is to eat small portions of food throughout the day. As the pregnancy progresses, it’s important for pregnant women to keep their energy levels up for herself and the baby.
Have snacks on hand for your pregnant coworker to nibble on when she needs them. It’ll brighten her day if you bring in her favorite snack and let her know you care about how she’s feeling.
3. Be Lenient
Even if your coworker has never been late before, there’s a chance that will all change when she’s pregnant. No one can predict how pregnancy is going to make them feel or how much energy it is going to sap from their body, so be forgiving when it comes to schedules.
Give them a little bit of lenience so they can make it to work or meetings.
4. Be Considerate With Smells
Pregnancy increases women’s sense of smell, and certain scents can make them incredibly nauseous. Be aware of the scents you have in your office — from perfume to cleaning supplies to food smells — and attempt to reduce them to make your pregnant coworker more comfortable and less sick to her stomach.
5. Realize That Mom Brain Is a Real Thing
With all the hormones rushing through your coworker’s body, she’s going to be exhausted and she’s going to forget things. Reduce the embarrassment that comes with this issue by offering her a pack of sticky notes to write down important information or send email reminders to help her through the day.
6. Don’t Ask Them to Take on Extra Duties
Pregnant women’s bodies are going through a lot, and they are going to be incredibly tired. Asking them to take on extra duties isn’t going to benefit anyone.
If they volunteer to take on extra duties, that’s totally fine, but don’t force them or guilt trip them if they can’t or don’t want to do anything above and beyond. They’re already going to be adding on extra work to prepare for their maternity leave.
Have you been pregnant before? Do you have experience carrying a child and working? While every pregnancy is different, it might help your coworker to hear some of your stories and know they aren’t alone in this process.
Give them some tips on how to get through their day or ways to reduce the swelling in their feet at night. Sometimes just talking about what is going on will help alleviate some of your coworker’s fears and help them feel supported.
8. Show Enthusiasm
Pregnancy can be an incredibly exciting and exhilarating experience, but it is also full of stress and worry. It’s possible your coworker has a lot of concerns about her pregnancy and may be incredibly afraid. Focus on the positive aspects of being pregnant and show your support by getting excited for the life she is creating.
9. Be Respectful of Her Boundaries
Everyone woman has a different level of comfort when it comes to talking about their pregnancy and whether or not they want others touching them.
Respect her boundaries when it comes to her body and don’t ask questions that could potentially make her uncomfortable, such as what her birth plan is or what she’s naming the baby.
10. Support Her Replacement
If your coworker is having a temp come in to take over her duties while she’s on maternity leave, make it less stressful for everyone by helping the new person out and answering questions they might have.
Your coworker is definitely the best person to know how to do her job, but with a newborn, her focus should be on her family and getting some rest. If your coworker plans to return to work after her leave, she’ll probably be more productive than ever.
11. Throw Her a Baby Shower
Find out if she wants one first, then invite coworkers who want to share in her joy and excitement about having a baby. She’ll appreciate your thoughtfulness and support.
Being pregnant and working can be a difficult time for a woman, and she can be worried and stressed about a variety of different things. It may have been hard for her to tell her coworkers she was expecting. Help ease her fears and anxiety by being supportive and kind.
What other awesome things can you do or have you done for pregnant coworkers? Share them in the comments below and subscribe to the newsletter for more career advice and tips for expecting and working moms!
Get everything you need to build a career you love by signing up for the newsletter.