By Rachel Paxton
It's not easy working a full time job throughout your pregnancy. You may be at work out of choice, or out of necessity, but either way you need to take some extra precautions in taking care of yourself during the coming months.
It is very important to keep your stress level as low as possible during this time, and that's not always easy. You will find yourself prioritizing your activities, and filtering out unnecessary tasks. My work schedule isn't particularly demanding, but I have had to cut down on evening activities in order to make time for exercise and extra rest, two things that don't come very easily to me.
When you're supermom, taking time for extra rest is extremely important. When I first found out that I was pregnant, I had to keep reminding myself that I needed to slow down and rest more, including going to bed earlier. I resisted a little until I discovered that I am expecting twins. After recovering from that shock (I still haven't), I decided that no activities were more important than getting my much needed rest. Rest is something you may not getting much of after your baby is born.
Don't be afraid to ask for extra help around the house, with pet chores (don't touch that litter box!), laundry, cooking, dishes, etc. Your husband and older children are perfectly capable of helping out, and will probably be more than happy to if you ask. Or, it just might not get done occasionally. My husband is getting used to the fact that he is "on his own" for dinner a night or two out of each week when I'm not hungry or can't bear to cook.
Exercise is also very important, especially if you work in front of a computer all day. If you are able to join a family court club, they have many activities to choose from for the whole family. Ours offers a prenatal water aerobics class. If you can't afford the monthly dues, often you can pay a one-time fee for a particular class. At the very least, get out and walk as much as you can, during your lunch hour or in the evenings.
I'm still in the first stages of pregnancy where most food doesn't sound very appetizing. My tastes are constantly changing. I try to bring a variety of foods to work with me so that something will sound good when it's time to eat. Lately I have been eating dried fruits, instant oatmeal, canned fruit cocktail, bananas, apples, tuna and sprouts on a wheat bagel, and chicken cup-of-soup. The hardest thing for me is drinking the 8 plus cups of water a day. I feel like I'm going to float away and hate getting up to go to the bathroom in the middle of the night. I have been assured that drinking all this water will keep me from getting too bloated later in the pregnancy.
It can be hard to find good maternity work clothes. Look for local consignment stores and on Ebay.com. You will find a lot of great deals there and not have to pay "new" prices. Buy several pairs of neutral pants that will go with any top, and that will help save on your wardrobe.
Now is the time to start looking into your employer's maternity benefits, if any. I have 6 weeks short-term disability I can use, at 66% of my current income. Income taxes, 401K, etc., are not deducted. If you plan ahead, you can take the time off you need without a large financial burden. Find out ahead of time what paperwork needs to be filled out and by when. Your doctor may need to fill out some of the paperwork for you.
If someone is to fill in for you while you're away from the office, plan ahead and make sure someone knows what you do every day. My doctor told me I could be in bed as early as 6 months, and I have to plan on that even if it doesn't happen. Don't leave your employer without a replacement, if possible.
Don't be afraid to get up and walk around when you need a break or to kick your shoes off under your desk when no one's looking. Hopefully your employer is watching out for you and wants to help you through a successful pregnancy.
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