During the last few weeks of your pregnancy, you’re probably getting tired so easily that it’s like a major achievement to do anything. (Ever try tying your shoes lately?!)
It might seem like each day during your third trimester brings a new symptom and side effect. However, you're still expected to arrive to your job and smile and work like everyone else.
Here are 6 tips on how to survive life at work when you are very, very pregnant:
1. Dress Comfortably
Dress for comfort, and wear loose, stretchy clothing paired with flats (you’ll feel much more comfy in flat shoes versus heels!) You can put together a professional maternity outfit and still be comfy. We suggest wearing a maxi dress or maxi skirt. Dress it up with a scarf, necklace, bracelets, or a belt tied loosely above your belly. Or, try leggings: you can make it look more work-appropriate by wearing a long tunic or dress over them. If the place you work at has a dress code, you can talk to your boss or HR about making an exception for you while you're pregnant.
Make sure that you have snacks handy at work. They’ll help with the extreme tiredness you’re probably feeling right now. Snacking satisfies your hunger (which you may feel all day, every day!) and provides you and your growing baby with the nutrients and extra calories you need.
3. Ask for Adjustments
Speak to your co-workers and boss about the changes you might need to make during your third trimester. This could include taking breaks more often, or less standing in order to keep working.
Make your work area as comfortable as you can. If you sit at a desk, place a box underneath so you can prop your feet up. Getting up often to stretch and move around will really help. And try putting a little pillow behind your back. It can make sitting all day more bearable. If your back or hips are sore and bothering you, bring in a heating pad or heat packs. If your job involves standing all day or moving around, make sure to take breaks and rest often.
4. Water, Bathroom Break, Water, Bathroom Break…
You’ve probably already heard the pregnancy tip of drinking tons of water. It helps with the oh-so-fun swelling that happens when you’re pregnant. It also helps prevent UTIs, constipation, hemorrhoids fatigue, headaches, and overheating.
Obviously, the more water you drink, the more you'll have to pee, but it's worth it. Find out where the closest bathroom is, and have a back-up bathroom in case that one’s being used.
5. Days Off or Schedule Changes
Give yourself a day off now and then to just relax and nap (just make sure you’re not taking a day off every week!) If you have a stressful job, a two-day weekend probably won’t give you enough time to wind down. This is especially true if you already have children!
Sometimes a typical five-day work week can be too much when you’re in your third trimester. It might leave you stressed out, drained, and overwhelmed. If you feel like this is happening, ask your supervisor if you can change up your schedule a little. For example, if you work part-time three days a week, you could ask your boss if you can come in for five “half days.” Changing your schedule that way lets you get in a much-needed nap in every day.
6. Doctor’s Appointments
You'll have what feels like a billion doctors’ appointments during their third trimester. Going to these doctor’s appointments doesn’t make you any less valued or good at your job. Sure, a few doctors’ appointments a week will take you away from your job. However, but because of this prenatal care, you can feel more confident in your baby’s well-being. Showing your co-workers confidence (even if it’s just for show) tells them to take you seriously and not write you off.
Women who worked through their pregnancies while moving through an adoption plan for their child often feel grateful for the chance to continue making an income, while staying active and busy each day. One woman shared with us, "If I didn't work through that time, I would have just sat at home feeling mixed-up about my situation. I wanted to know I was making the most of this time to get me, and my baby, out of the situation I was in."
Curious what open adoption is like?
Click to watch birth mothers sharing their own adoption stories:
Editor's Note: This article was originally published on November 6, 2015, and has since been updated.