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Working Mommy-to-Be

If you're a full-time working woman that is busy building her career, you'll probably be wondering when the right time to announce your pregnancy is. Chances are you won't have much to worry about the first few months if your job doesn't involve strenuous work or long hours on your feet, but as your pregnancy progresses and your baby bump begins to show, you're going to have to begin thinking about how to break the news.

Some women choose to divulge the big news to their employers as soon as they find out about it, while others wait until much later in the game. If you do decide to talk to your manager, know what you want to get out of the conversation, and consider what your manager will want, such as commitment that you'll get your work done and meet deadlines even if you have to do it on your personal time.

Handling Pregnancy Symptoms on the Sly

When to tell you boss, human resources department or supervisor that you're expecting is entirely up to you, but if you decide to wait, here are a few tips on how to keep things on the down low until it's time for the big announcement:

Nausea - Nausea, or morning sickness, can strike at any moment during the day. If you haven't told your coworkers or employers about your pregnancy yet, you're going to have to think up a plausible excuse for your situation. Here are some suggestions on how to deal with nausea without drawing too much attention:

  • Sit next to the door during meetings so you can escape to the bathroom more easily.
  • Limit the amount of time you spend in the lunchroom—the smell of brewing coffee could make you feel nauseous.
  • Drink no more than one cup a day of ginger ale or ginger tea, in addition to plenty of water to control the feeling of nausea. Consult with your doctor whether drinking ginger is safe for your baby, as ginger is generally believed to contribute to uterine contractions.

Fatigue - It's natural to feel tired and fatigued when pregnant; your body is changing, your hormones are raging, and what with the morning sickness, fatigue is probably the least of your problems. But here is what you can do to keep your energy up at the office:

  • Use part of your lunch hour to nap in your car or office.
  • Stand up and stretch every couple of hours to relieve aches, pains and stiffness.
  • Take a walk, even if it’s just around the office.

Forgetfulness - Changing hormones and fatigue can leave you feeling disoriented and unfocused. Most often this translates to pervading cases of forgetfulness that not only leave you frustrated, but can also cause trouble at work at crucial moments. Here is what you can do to stay on track:

  • Take notes to remind yourself of key information. Don't rely on your memory to keep you afloat.
  • Tackle the most challenging tasks first when you get to the office or during your peak performance hours.
  • Don't agree to take on extra duties until you're sure you can handle the basics first.

Letting the Cat Out of the Bag

Once your baby is big enough to create a noticeable bump, it's time to notify your HR department or manager about your pregnancy. Here are a few tips on what you need to take care of in the process:

Plan for Maternity Leave - Check with your HR department whether you're entitled to a paid maternity leave and what rules and regulations you must follow.

Act Now for an Easier Return - You might have to take a year off work to care for your child once it's born, but that doesn't mean that you have to stay away permanently. Here are a few suggestions on what you can do to make your return smoother when you do decide to come back:

Plan for the maximum time off. If you've agreed with your boss to return to work after a given period of time, try to set a longer period than you're planning on actually taking. That way if you end up returning earlier than planned, you’ll look like a hero.

Prepare your replacement properly. If you must train a replacement before you leave, make sure they know what they need to do and leave your documents and files well-organized for them.

Don’t promise to work while you’re on leave. You will need time for your self during your maternity leave, and working might leave you feeling fatigued and ill.