HAN­DLE IT LIKE A BOSS!

Dos and don’ts while work­ing dur­ing preg­nancy

Mother & Baby - - CONTENTS - BY AARTI PATHAK

When plan­ning to work through your preg­nancy, start with in­form­ing your su­pe­ri­ors about the preg­nancy. Let them know how long you’ll be work­ing be­fore you go on ma­ter­nity leave and how long a break you ten­ta­tively plan to take. This will give them time to train your col­leagues in the tasks han­dled by you and make the tran­si­tion smooth. In­form them be­fore you tell your col­leagues so that they know you have been forth­right and hon­est with them and also so that they don’t hear it first through the of­fice grapevine ei­ther. If you know your work is stress­ful and de­mands ir­reg­u­lar hours, now is the time to ask for a trans­fer to a po­si­tion which has bet­ter hours and lesser stress. If the preg­nancy is nor­mal and there are no ob­stet­ric com­pli­ca­tions then of­fice go­ing women can con­tinue to work right till de­liv­ery. But one needs to fol­low the doc­tor’s or­ders prop­erly and main­tain good health by fo­cussing on a well-bal­anced diet, stay­ing hy­drated, reg­u­lar ex­er­cise and tak­ing the pre­na­tal vi­ta­mins pre­scribed by the doc­tors.

Though no two preg­nan­cies are alike, not even two preg­nan­cies of the same mother, know­ing broadly what one can ex­pect each trimester, can help mums to be pre­pared for the months to fol­low.

THE FIRST TRIMESTER

Here you can ex­pect morn­ing sick­ness, fa­tigue, height­ened sen­si­tiv­ity to smells, fre­quent uri­na­tion, crav­ings and aver­sions, mood swings, ten­der­ness in breasts, con­sti­pa­tion, acid­ity and so on. Al­ter­nately, there are mums who breeze through the first-trimester symp­tom-free, with a lovely glow al­ready in place. Re­gard­less of the symp­toms, the first trimester is the time when risks of mis­car­riages are max­i­mum so make sure to dis­cuss the na­ture of your job with your doc­tor and un­der­stand your preg­nancy and re­quired pre­cau­tions prop­erly. Take ad­e­quate rest and don’t ig­nore any signs that your body may be giv­ing you.

THE SEC­OND TRIMESTER

This is the best time of the preg­nancy for most women. Most of the symp­toms from the first trimester be­gin to go away and women feel en­er­getic and re­laxed. You’ll be an­nounc­ing the news to friends and fam­ily, so a lot of con­grat­u­la­tions will be pour­ing in and adding to the ex­cite­ment. Some­time now you’ll need to get your­self com­fort­able ma­ter­nity wear as the weight and inch gain will be a lit­tle pro­nounced by now. You’ll be able to see the gen­tle be­gin­nings of stretch marks. The belly skin may be­gin to itch due to the stretch­ing so do mas­sage it with oil or cream to have an itch-free day at work. Be sure to carry healthy snacks to work, if you

have not started al­ready, as you’re bound to get hun­gry be­tween meals. There might be in­creased dis­charge so stay stocked with panty lin­ers (not tam­pons). Headaches are com­mon which may be ac­cen­tu­ated for women who work with com­puter screens. Your doc­tor will pro­vide you with baby safe meds for the same. Also, re­mem­ber to stay hy­drated and stretch out at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals in case of a desk job. Some­time in the sec­ond tri, you’ll feel your baby kick! And oh, this is the trimester where the fa­mous preg­nancy glow is sup­posed to be the most vis­i­ble.

THE THIRD TRIMESTER

This is the trimester when the travel re­stric­tions will kick in so you may not want to sched­ule out­sta­tion meet­ings for your­self. You’ll have to keep some time aside from work for the doc­tor vis­its and the var­i­ous med­i­cal tests she pre­scribes. The baby’s move­ments will be more pro­nounced. You’ll get more un­com­fort­able with each pass­ing week as the belly gets big­ger. Sleep­ing, ly­ing down, get­ting up- ev­ery ac­tion will re­quire more ef­fort than nor­mal. Fa­tigue will be much higher, back­aches may arise, di­ges­tion may be slow lead­ing to heart­burns and you may ex­pe­ri­ence weak­en­ing blad­der con­trol too. None of the above is favourable for a smooth ef­fi­cient work­place ex­pe­ri­ence, so keep your at­ti­tude pos­i­tive and willpower strong. You will need it. Also, don’t take on any ‘ex­tra’ work or over­times. This is not the time to vol­un­teer. As for the rest, with the right diet and ex­er­cise and sup­port from fam­ily and col­leagues, you’ll be able to man­age right till de­liv­ery.

WARN­ING SIGNS

If ever you ex­pe­ri­ence se­vere ab­dom­i­nal pains, cramps; sig­nif­i­cant bleed­ing, sharp dizzi­ness or rapid weight gain meet your doc­tor im­me­di­ately. Mum­bai-based Pooja Gu­lati shares, ‘I work in the IT sec­tor. For my first preg­nancy, I worked right till the day I de­liv­ered. I used to wake up early, get ready, catch my train, reach work, get back home the same way and then cook. My wa­ter broke one evening in the of­fice! I de­liv­ered the next morn­ing. Dur­ing my sec­ond preg­nancy, I had se­vere fa­tigue, nau­sea, headaches and weepi­ness. Run­ning af­ter the train was get­ting hard and I be­gan to ques­tion why I was push­ing my­self this way. I re­signed soon af­ter and spent the rest of my preg­nancy at home. To­day my chil­dren are three and five and I re­sumed work a cou­ple of years ago. I had never thought that I’d take such a long baby break, but I did. Ul­ti­mately, one should un­der­stand the signs one’s body is giv­ing and then fol­low one’s heart.’ Ahmed­abad-based events co­or­di­na­tor Ji­nal Pa­tel shares, ‘My work re­quired travel, (some­times out­sta­tion travel too) and late hours. Though I en­joyed the work thor­oughly, I had se­vere nau­sea through­out my preg­nancy. The doc­tor had pre­scribed some medicines but they re­fused to work on me and I didn’t want to stop work­ing at all. So when­ever I’d feel the sick­ness get­ting too much, I’d go and throw up in the wash­room and then I’d be good as new! I took pre­cau­tions though. I ac­cepted events at lo­ca­tions where I knew I’d be able to de­liver work wise and take care of my­self. Eat­ing and drink­ing healthy was tricky when out at work, but I made sure to eat only healthy food when back home. I ac­cepted only small events in the last trimester, but even those were tir­ing.’ Vado­dara-based gy­nae­col­o­gist, Dr Mon­ica Jani says, ‘a preg­nancy is sim­ply an al­ter­ing of a wo­man’s phys­i­ol­ogy. It is not an ill­ness. So if there is no ob­stet­ric com­pli­ca­tion and the vi­tals are good then there is noth­ing med­i­cally that stops a preg­nant wo­man from be­ing able to go work, if she wants to. I would tell women to sim­ply prac­tice ex­tra pre­cau­tions when they would be work­ing in high-risk fields which could leave them sus­cep­ti­ble to in­fec­tions or falls and phys­i­cal in­juries. For in­stance, women work­ing with X-Rays; med­i­cal per­son­nel han­dling in­fec­tious diseases; lab and re­search work in­volv­ing mi­crobes, harm­ful chem­i­cal and fumes which would be dele­te­ri­ous to both the mother and baby; women work­ing in fac­tory floors han­dling heavy ma­chin­ery and/or re­quir­ing to climb the in­dus­trial stairs or en­gi­neers re­quired to work on­site. A preg­nant wo­man’s gait is al­tered and she may have a mo­ment of gid­di­ness, ei­ther of which could cause her to fall and sus­tain se­ri­ous phys­i­cal in­juries. Once I ad­vised a wo­man against her ex­cit­ing plan of learn­ing to ride her horse in her sec­ond trimester, sim­ply due to the risk of her fall­ing and get­ting hurt. And some­times one has to take things slow due to prac­ti­cal rea­sons, as it hap­pened for me! I worked all through my preg­nancy, but in the third trimester I needed as­sis­tance with the surg­eries that I con­ducted, as my own stom­ach came in the way!’

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