Did you recently find out that you’re pregnant?


This is definitely one of the best times in your life.

There is a spoiler though: you’ve got to keep working.

Yes, it’s not fun but the bills have to be paid.

We wrote this article as part of our congratulatory message to you.

From it, you’ll learn how to maneuver your work while enjoying the new family member.


As great as pregnancy is, it comes with some real challenges.

From nausea, food cravings at 2 AM, fatigue, you name it. On top of that, you still have to wake up in the morning and go to work.

If this is your situation, here are some tips to make it easy for you.

Schedule Your Doctor’s Appointments

Probably the first thing to consider doing is to schedule your doctor’s appointments.

This is important because you don’t want everyone talking about how you frequently leave the office early. Or come in late.

This can work differently for different jobs.

If your job is one that keeps you out of the office e.g. sales, then you may not have to worry much about this.

You can easily schedule your appointments when you don’t have any meeting with clients.

If your work plan is to meet a client in the morning, then you can organize to meet the doctor in the afternoon.

However, if you work from the office, your options are different.

You’ll have to plan your appointments for the time when you’re least busy.

You can also consider going for checkups at the time when the doctor is least busy. This way, you won’t have to wait for long in the queue.

For most women though, there are at least three options to choose from:

1. Early Morning – this is a good choice for you if you prefer finishing with the doctor before anything else. You may need a flexible job in terms of timing, for you to choose this.

This is a good option if your job starts later in the morning or work from outside the office. It can also work well if your boss is simply okay with you getting to work slightly late.

2. Lunch Time – if you can’t get to work late, you may need to sacrifice part of your lunch break. This can be especially effective if your doctor is close to your office. You can have a quick lunch then rush for the appointment.

As long as you have an appointment, your doctor will be free, just waiting for you. This will help in keeping the appointment short allowing you to return to work quickly.

3. After Work – if you must get to work on time in the morning, then you may have to settle for appointments after work. Maybe your job demands that some tasks be carried out first thing in the morning.

It might also be that you prefer doing your job in the morning when you’re most fresh and alert.

Or maybe your doctor is far from your office and you could get really late if you visited in the morning. It can also be a good idea to pass by the doctor while on your way home to rest.

You should schedule your appointments in line with your unique situation. Choose what works best for you after considering your job requirements and personal preferences.

Record Your Doctor’s Appointments

After you have scheduled these appointments, ensure you record them somewhere. You can have a pregnancy journal or any other notebook for this purpose.

Keeping a record of these visits will serve two purposes. You will have a record of how often you visited the doctor and the health progress you discussed. You can later refer to these notes for clarification on any matter.

The other reason is that you’re keeping yourself safe just in case your manager makes an accusation against you.

It’s very possible to have accusations flying around, especially if you’re not in good terms with your superior.

On that note, it will be wise to ask your doctor for a doctor’s note mentioning the pregnancy and the need for visits.

That note can be what saves you from being laid off due to accusations of slackness.

At the same time, it’s important to know that you have some protection from the law.

Being pregnant is no reason for being mistreated or discriminated against at work.

There are several laws which protect you during pregnancy. These include:

  • Family and Medical Leave (FMLA) – provides for up to 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave annually to care for your newborn. Read more about it here.
  • Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA) – provides for fair treatment for pregnant employees. For example, you should be required to go on leave until the baby’s birth. As long as you can carry out your duties, you should be allowed to work.

Here are some example situations from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) website to help you understand the protections you have from the law.

Knowing the kind of protection you have from the law will keep you on the right side of things. If your manager or boss is doing anything contrary to these protections, let him know that you’re aware of your rights.

Do not be confrontational with him. Exercise tact and wisdom but make sure you show that you’re aware of the wrong.

Talk to Your Boss

You may do well to engage him before he engages you. Fortunately, you may have up to the end of the first trimester before having to divulge the news.

Your doctor’s appointments during this period will also not be very frequent as to raise eyebrows.

But as soon as the second trimester comes around, get an appointment with your boss and tell him about it.

It’s also best to have him be among the first colleagues to know about your pregnancy.

Of course, you can share the good news with a colleague or two before then. Just ask them to keep it to themselves.

When your boss knows it before the whole office/company, it tells him that you respect him. That will make him be considerate as he handles your case.

Depending on your relation with him, you can opt for a way of communicating such that you have everything covered.

This is especially necessary if you suspect hat he may not be very happy about your expected reduced performance at this time.

You can divide the communication into two phases:

1. General Information – this should be the first mention of your pregnancy to him—hoping he wouldn’t have known yet. Do not go into details about how you plan to make changes to your work schedule. This will come later.

At this point, you are just sharing the good news. You’re also showing him that you value his relation with you as your boss and that’s why you’re telling him this. Be openly jovial and show that you treasure this stage of your life.

You can make this communication around two weeks before the expected visible body changes. This way, your boss will see that you’re still active and performing well despite the news you gave him. This will ensure he doesn’t conclude too early that your performance has taken a dip.

2. Action Plan – shortly after body changes become evident, come up with a plan for how you’ll keep working. This should be as detailed as possible. Have a detailed draft for yourself and use it to make a comprehensive summary which you’ll present to your boss.

Think of all the challenges you may face—some of which are discussed below—and factor them in. Remember that your boss is interested in the continuity of work.

So focus on how your productivity and efficiency will be maintained.

At the same time, keep in mind that you won’t be able to do all you used to do.

Having familiarized yourself with the protections you have from the law, go through your company’s HR policy.

Be keen to note mentions of pregnancy, maternity leave, return-to-work options, work-from-home options etc.

It is necessary to be equipped with facts and legal knowledge before going for that second appointment. While in the conversation, mention that you have considered the law and the company policy.

This will make your boss—and possibly HR—know that you’re well aware of how things ought to run.

Work from Home Instead of Taking the Day Off

Certainly, there are days when you won’t feel like going to work.

Fatigue is one of the hallmarks of pregnancy and so fully avoiding it may not be possible. Still, you can manage working if you handle this well. More on that in the next tip.

One of the most important things to keep in mind is that you have up to 120 days of legally-protected leave days.

Though these may not all be paid, they are very important. You’ll need lots of rest immediately before and after delivery.

For that reason, do not be in a hurry to use them up. Do not rush to call in sick when you feel like you can’t get out of bed.

Just gather the strength and try to be active.

But since you may not be completely in control—your hormones are quite powerful—then here’s a trick to balance things up.

Does your company allow one to work from home? If not, is it possible to negotiate these in that second meeting you have with your boss or HR manager?

This requires that you have done your homework well.

Understand how your work contributes to other colleagues’ work and come up with a plan enabling you to work from home.

The important thing is to ensure that you play your role well.

In those days when your head feels too heavy to lift from your pillow, here is what you can do:

1. Call Your Manager and HR – these should be the first people you call. They are aware of the arrangement you proposed and should have no problem giving you the nod. Even if you feel too weak to get up from bed, at least do so for the sake of the phone call.

Don’t call while still in bed.

2. Call Your Colleagues – the colleagues with whom you work closely need to know that you won’t show up at the office. To prepare them for such a day, inform them about the work-from-home option you have discussed with your boss and HR. This way, they won’t be taken by surprise.

3. Discuss Your Day’s Work with Your Colleagues – since your work affects theirs, you need to plan how to execute it without affecting the overall output. If you need some data from the office, request them to send it to you via mail or a cloud sharing option.

4. Be Available for Them – working from home will require that you be available for communication. There might be need to seek clarification from you, quickly update you on something etc. Don’t restrict communication to email. The idea is to keep productivity high.

5. Make Sure You Workworking from home can become tricky, especially if you’re not disciplined enough. When you combine that with pregnancy, you have a big problem to deal with.

If you’re not careful, you may extend your sleep just a little bit, only to wake up at midday. You may see the sofa and TV and forget that you’re supposed to be working.

To stay safe, prepare your home for these days ahead of time.

Set aside some space for a table. Keep your computer desk/table neat and organized. This should be located in the living room, not bedroom.

Pull back the curtains, open the windows and let light come in. Take a shower and dress up.

This is how to work from home.

Plan Your Sleep Time

The fatigue we talked about will mainly be handled through rest and sleep. Do not neglect these at all.

The more you rest, the better you’ll be able to maneuver the day ahead. Sleep is also the time you refresh yourself and your muscles get repaired, so you need it.

You also need to remember that you now have someone else relying on your good health. If you don’t take care of your health, your baby will be affected.

With your employer expecting performance, your ability to stay focused at work also relies on how much sleep you have. The quality of sleep is equally important.

But pregnancy is a tricky thing. As much as you’re fatigued and would like to have lots of sleep, sleep can also elude you.

Watch the below video for ways to sleep better during pregnancy.

Sleep has also been found to affect labor and delivery.

Researchers found that women sleeping less than 6 hours a day had longer labors and were 4.5 times more likely to have cesarean deliveries.

For that reason, make a plan and stick to it. With a preferable duration of 8 hours, ensure that you get that sleep. If you plan to wake up at 6AM, then plan to sleep by 10PM.

If this is your schedule, then you should stick with it even if you plan to have visitors for dinner.

If you have a different schedule on one day, just make the appropriate adjustments. The more your body and mind get used to a schedule, the easier it will be to achieve your rest.

Some of the tips to improve your sleep include:

  • Drink lots of water during the day but cut down before bedtime
  • Avoid stress
  • Take short naps during the day

Plan for Nausea

Another common sign of pregnancy is nausea. 70-80% of pregnant women experience it.

Since this can also be a visible sign of pregnancy, you need to plan for it.

This is especially for the first trimester before you decide to share the news with your colleagues.

Some of the things to do include:

  • Carry a washcloth – this will come in handy when you need to do some cleanup. Some women also carry a plastic bag for use when vomiting. With a washcloth at hand, cleaning becomes easy.
  • Have a toothbrush and toothpaste – the beauty of being a woman is that you can carry several things in your handbag. Including a toothpaste and toothbrush during this time is key. These will help when you need to do some freshening up especially after vomiting.

An alternative to this is the mouthwash. This is an easy and convenient option which you can try. You can also carry chewing gum.

  • Have some ginger ale or tea – looking for a quick and easy way to manage nausea? Try some ginger ale or tea as they are known to help.
  • Avoid triggers – wisdom dictates that you avoid the things which trigger nausea. There are no strict triggers for all women but a common one is certain smells.

You may have been okay with your colleague’s favorite food—until now. Your perfume might be the best in the office, but pregnancy may force you to change it.

Don’t force yourself to do anything your body or hormones don’t like. If going to the cafeteria will cause you to smell some foods, then avoid it.

If certain ares of your office are triggers for whatever reason, avoid them.

  • Carry packed lunch – in an effort to avoid foods which may not go down well with your fluctuating hormones, carry food you’re sure will work for you. The office cafeteria may not be able to make you the special meal you may feel like having.

Packed lunch also ensures that you eat healthy meals. One of the important things to do is avoid fast foods.

Have some healthy snacks like dried fruits and include proteins and iron-giving foods like green leafy vegetables, liver and eggs. Also plan to take lots of water.

Set Reminders if Necessary

During your pregnancy, you’re also likely to experience pregnancy-related forgetfulness.

If it hasn’t happened yet, thank God. But to stay safe, familiarize yourself with the calendar.

The options in your smartphone and computer are good enough. A diary can also serve this purpose.

Any meeting you attend and you’re assigned some responsibilities, note them down. Indicate the deadlines and set reminders for days or hours before the deadline.

This will keep you aware of what you’re expected to work on and finish on time.

A good way of going about this is by using your email program.

Using your email program’s calendar, you get to see the reminders every time you check your email.

Since emails are the main mode of communication at work, you won’t fail to see the reminders.

Request for Help (or More Time)

Doing all these and making many other changes will not prevent you from slowing down in your performance.

And the more you head towards the d-day, you will certainly need help from colleagues.

Knowing this, it is only wise, and even expected that you ask for help.

Hopefully, any female colleague who has been through pregnancy will offer to help where she can. Others can help too, including male colleagues.

Do not restrain yourself from asking for help. This is one stage of life when you need lots of love to be shown to you.

Note that some people may not know how to help you unless you tell them. Others may even not know that you need help.

Therefore, don’t sulk and assume that your colleagues are insensitive to your need for help.

Ask for help!

You can also take the route of talking with your boss or HR. Since they already understand the situation, they will see that you’re seeking to ensure productivity remains high.

Taking the workload of your colleagues into consideration, request that some of your work be given to someone else.

You can also request for more time to complete the tasks you used to complete quickly. This might be a good option in case your colleagues also have lots of work.

Do not tell your colleagues about your planned meeting with your boss. Have the meeting then allow your boss the opportunity to make the changes and announce them.

Be grateful to him after he promises to look into the matter and after he makes the changes.

Take Breaks

If your work involves sitting too much, this is the time to schedule breaks. Do not sit down for over 1 hour without rising from your desk.

You will do well to take 5 or 10-minute breaks to walk around the office. You can also get out of the office and walk around the block. Get some fresh air for better breathing and a change of environment.

Walking also helps stretch your muscles and exercise them.

Exercising is important during pregnancy. Since you may get home tired and struggle to do some exercises, this can help.

But as much as possible, plan for exercises and do them.

Here are some great exercises for expectant women.


As you go through work while pregnant, do not allow stress to interfere with the joy of carrying a child inside you.

Allow yourself to think about what it will be like holding your child in your arms.

This is one of the times when the uniqueness of being a woman is evident.

Thank God for your baby and enjoy the journey.

How to Get Through Every Trimester While Working

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