Working while pregnant

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Working while pregnant.

In most countries, there are laws governing the length of time that a woman has to work to receive financial benefits and the conditions that her employer must meet on her return to work. Outside these laws, the majority of employers are keen to cooperate with your plans for discontinuing employment before the birth and for resuming it afterwards. There is usually a statutory period of notice of maternity leave that you must give your employer; if you don’t comply with this you may lose benefits, so find out about your rights as early as possible. Around the end of the first trimester, you should be thinking about your future work. If you wish to have your job held open for you after your maternity leave, talk to your employer to see how your plans can be accommodated.

Working while pregnant
Working while pregnant

 

Difficulty working while pregnant

Unless your work involves heavy physical labour, or you work in an environment where there are harmful chemicals or fumes, there is no reason you should not continue working well into pregnancy. The length of time that you will work depends on your physical fitness, the sort of job you are doing and your reason for working. One benefit of working is that it encourages everyone around you to view pregnancy as normal. As well as that, your job gives you a feeling of stability and security during a time when you are undergoing physical and psychological changes.

There’s no hard and fast rule about when to give up work – it depends on the nature of the work you do and how physically taxing it is. Probably 32 weeks is a good time to stop as it is around this time that the greatest workload is thrown on your heart, lungs and other vital organs like the kidneys and liver, and there is a great deal of physical stress on your spine, your joints and muscles. It is a time when you should not be asking your body to do anything except rest if you feel tired. This is difficult in a job, even a sedentary one.

Whatever your job, you will have to make adjustments to your daily routine. In later pregnancy, you will lose some of your ability, and working long hours and having late nights will leave you exhausted. You will find yourself falling asleep and losing concentration. As far as your household chores are concerned, let your priorities slide. Your health and that of your unborn baby are now far more important than a spotless house.

Best working while pregnant

Some women are happy to deal with pregnancy as an interruption to their work, remaining in their posts until just before going into labour, then having the baby and returning to work within the shortest time possible. They avoid the emotional dilemma of whether or not to breast- or bottle-feed the baby and opt for the latter. Other women would be unhappy with this decision. They want to stay with their children; anything that takes them away from their children is painful.

Women with strong maternal instincts will be concerned with not only depriving their babies of affection but also with the sacrifices that they are making themselves. They want to enjoy their children’s presence and company much of the time, and, especially while their children are young, find it distressing to leave them even for a few hours.

Nonetheless, mothers continue to work for many different reasons, which include economic necessity, the desire to be independent and self-reliant, boredom with the routine of home life, and the absolute personal need to work. As women become more able to shape their lives, more mothers are working during pregnancy and of these more and more do so simply because they enjoy it. They feel that their work greatly enriches their lives and that if it does, that will certainly help to enrich their family life.

In the past, many women thought it was their duty to ignore their desires and serve the family; now most women feel very strongly that they have the right to take their wishes into consideration and to make the decision to work if they want to, even if they know that it may create difficulties in the family.

Your partner’s feelings should also be considered along with your own. It can lead only to unhappiness and resentment if you decide to return to work, but your partner is reluctant for you to do so. If you have reason to believe that he feels this way, you must bring matters out into the open. A frank discussion with him may lead to a suitable compromise and a happy solution to your working future.

Working while pregnant risks

If you or your partner work with certain chemicals, lead or radiation, your fertility could be affected. It is now known that certain industrial substances can damage sperm and cause malformed babies and spontaneous abortion. If you’re not sure about the chemicals or other substances that you work with and how they might affect your chances of conception, ask your doctor, union representative or human resources manager. Only a relatively small number of substances have been recognised as needing a safety threshold. Flower, this safe level of exposure doesn’t take into account how the chemicals may affect fertility. Rather than taking a chance, if one of you works with a hazardous substance, you might consider trying to change your job before conceiving a baby. If that’s not possible and you can’t avoid contact with doubtful substances, follow stringent safety regulations, wear protective clothing, and avoid breathing in dust or fumes or skin contact with the substance.

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