Pregnancy & Work: A Guide for Expectant Mothers

Discovering that you are pregnant is a joyous feeling, even if the upcoming journey comes with a unique set of challenges, especially concerning the management of your professional life.

Striking a balance between work and pregnancy entails several considerations, including workplace precautions, managing pregnancy symptoms and understanding your entitlements regarding maternity leave. With some thoughtful planning, however, you can navigate this exciting time with grace. Here are some points to keep in mind.

First up, ensuring a comfortable workspace is essential during pregnancy. Ergonomics play a crucial role, prompting the need for adjustments at your workspace to ensure your comfort. Investing in an appropriate chair, elevating your feet and maintaining good posture can significantly reduce strain on your body.

Taking frequent breaks is equally important, especially if your job requires long periods of sitting or standing. These breaks allow you to stretch and move around, improving circulation and reducing discomfort. Remember to stay well-hydrated and maintain a balanced diet as these are also vital aspects of self-care during pregnancy.

Managing common pregnancy symptoms like nausea and stress is another key to a smoother pregnancy. Combatting nausea can be addressed by snacking smart with light, easily digestible options including crackers or nuts. Incorporating ginger or peppermint tea, or chewing gum, can also help alleviate nausea. In the second and third trimester, compression stockings or socks can improve circulation and help with tired legs as well as swelling at the end of the day.

Additionally, ensuring a fresh and well-ventilated environment contributes to minimising feelings of nausea. Effectively managing stress involves practising deep breathing exercises and, whenever necessary, delegating non-urgent tasks or responsibilities that could contribute to heightened stress levels.

Informing your HR department about your pregnancy at an appropriate time is also crucial, typically during the second trimester when you have settled into your pregnancy. Familiarising yourself with your company’s policies related to maternity leave, benefits and workplace support for expectant mothers ensures you are well-informed about your rights.

In Malaysia, female employees are entitled to paid maternity leave for 98 days according to the Employment (Amendment) Act 2022. Employees can choose to work right up until the day they give birth or commence maternity leave 30 days before their expected confinement (supported by a doctor’s letter confirming their due date). Once you have informed HR, you can start making concrete plans about when you will go on leave.

Incorporating fun elements into your pregnancy journey can further enhance this special time. Documenting your pregnancy journey through a journal or weekly bump photos allows you to track your growth and create beautiful memories. Embracing your changing body and indulging in maternity clothes and comfortable shoes that make you feel good at work are also important. Office baby showers and pampering sessions, like a prenatal spa day or gentle pregnancy-friendly workouts, could further add an element of joy and relaxation during this transformative time.

Balancing pregnancy and work is indeed a remarkable feat. By understanding your rights, fostering effective communication with your workplace and prioritising self-care, you can embark on this journey joyfully. Each passing day brings you closer to meeting your little one, making this time truly precious amidst the professional hustle and bustle.

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