Your guide to working while pregnant

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It's becoming increasingly common for women to work through pregnancy, either to keep their career goals on track or to help out the changing family finances. 

Here are a few tips on how to get by as you keep your paid job while growing a human. But before we begin, an important reminder: your pregnancy should never lead to discrimination in the workplace. Read the Australian Government's guide to know your rights and what to do if you feel they are being violated. 

When to tell your boss you're pregnant

It's up to each individual woman to tell her boss when she feel comfortable - there is no legal reason for you to tell them at any specific time. 

Most people wait until the 12 week mark, but the sooner you tell your boss, the sooner you can put plans and assessments in place, says human resources professional Claire Bourne. This is particularly important when working in a "more safety-sensitive industry".

Keeping communications open with your boss thought your pregnancy is important, Bourne says.

Let them know if you're uncomfortable or need to change your responsibilities at any point.

Keeping safe, healthy and comfortable 

Bourne says every office worker should have an ergonomic assessment to make sure their setup works for them, but this is especially important if you're pregnant.

Bourne, who had her daughter Minnie nine weeks ago, says she had horrible back pain, so needed to stretch and take regular breaks.

Taking baths after work helped, too, and she says that sitting on a swiss ball was also a good idea as it improved core strength.

Remember to keep a stash of healthy snacks close at hand - sudden blood sugar drops can leave you feeling sick and light headed. Fruit and nuts, crackers and biscuits are good options to get you through the day.  


Transport issues

Ideally, employers should organise a carpark for pregnant employees in their third trimester if they don't already have an allocated parking space, Bourne says. This should cut down on he strain of walking or catching public transport.

It will also make it easier and faster for women to get to and from things like midwife appointments.

Flexible working

In the age of mobile and the internet there's no reason pregnant workers shouldn't be able to work from home when necessary.

Bourne says going home in the afternoon and working the rest of the day from home, or working the whole day from home when you're feeling tired or unwell is something most employers are open to.

Having good, honest communication with your boss or the HR department will help.

Taking leave

Again, when to take maternity leave is up to each individual.

Bourne says she planned to take a week off before her due date but her daughter came early, ruining that plan.

However, most women go on leave between 34 and 38 weeks.

Her company also offered 10 days of special leave that could be used for things like appointments and antenatal classes if needed - check your work's leave policy for these kinds of provisions. Also keep up to date with the government's paid leave scheme. 

And some companies have policies allowing fathers or partners to take leave either side of the due date to help out with other children, or when an expectant mother was ill.

What to wear

Now, for the most important topic: what to wear.

Thanks to an ever-increasing selection of clothing in stores and online, pregnant women are able to find clothes that fit them, are comfortable and are still appropriate for the workplace. Buying online also saves time and energy - two things you want to conserve right now!

Bourne says she transitioned to flat shoes during her pregnancy, and online stores like ASOS meant she didn't have to drastically alter her wardrobe.