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How to survive work during pregnancy

Here are some tips on managing your work and career at this time.

What are my rights?

Quite often the time for having a baby happens to coincide with the time your career is just starting to take off.

In Australia, you are protected by law against discrimination during pregnancy. That means you cannot be fired, given fewer hours or overlooked for a promotion because you are pregnant.

Additionally, it’s against the law for potential employers to ask you if you are pregnant or planning to become pregnant in the near future when you are applying for a job.

Pregnancy is not considered an illness or an injury. If you get sick or are injured because of your pregnancy, you still get your usual sick leave entitlements. You are also entitled to take time off for appointments related to your pregnancy.

For more information on your rights, visit the Fair Work Ombudsman website.

 
When do I have to tell my boss Im pregnant?

By law, you need to give your employer 10 weeks’ notice if you are planning to take parental leave. You must give them written notice of your leave and expected return to work dates.

Although there is no other specific time frame in which you are legally required to tell your employer you’re having a baby, It is a good idea to let them know you are pregnant before they hear it from somebody else or perhaps before your bump is undeniably obvious.

This is not just to help them in planning for any changes needed whilst you are on leave but also your employer will need to assess any health and safety risks. They may need to move you to a different role that is safe during pregnancy, or consider different working hours in consultation with you.

Not all, but some employers will require a letter from your doctor or healthcare provider confirming that you are pregnant and your expected due date.

Protecting you and the baby at work.

The law is there to help protect you and your baby. All pregnant employees, including part-time or casuals, are entitled to be moved into a safer role if it isn’t safe for them to do their usual job while they are pregnant. During this time they are entitled to the same pay rate and working hours as in their usual occupation. In some cases, you may be entitled to “no safe job leave” if there is no other positions available that are deemed safe during your pregnancy.

Its essential that you seriously consider the risks associated with your type of employment. There are many hazards to your pregnancy if you work with chemicals or animals, are required to do heavy lifting, climbing strenuous activities or work in a very hot environment.

You should also consider the emotional strains of your job, travelling to and from work or throughout the day, posture and moving at work.

Managing pregnancy side effects while at work.

As long as your doctor says its ok, its perfectly normal and achievable to work right throughout your pregnancy. However, there will challenges you will need to address, and having some helpful tips can help make the process a lot more manageable and enjoyable.

  • take regular breaks if you can. Speak to your boss about splitting your break up into smaller periods of time so you can still complete your employment requirements while allowing your body the breaks it needs.
  • wear comfortable shoes and clothes. Your employer may allow a substitute uniform or have alternative options available.  Its important to talk to them about what you can do to ensure you remain professional while also being comfortable.
  • Stay Hydrated
  • If you are suffering from Morning Sickness or Pregnancy Nausea, try to organise your work so you don’t have to travel too much, or change your hours around the times you know you are least likely to suffer. Sometimes a slighter later start time will help you get up and settle your nausea slowly in the morning at home before commencing work.
  • try to manage stress, its dangerous for the baby. Where possible take a break, stretch, practice deep breathing or go for a short walk for some fresh air. This will help your body and your mind cope with working during pregnancy.
  • Enjoy a cup of MaterniTea. The benefits of tea plus the act of simply preparing your tea (getting up from your desk and walking around) and then sipping while relaxing the mind for a few moments has tremendous health benefits.
  • Get sunlight. Sufficient Vitamin D is essential for the development of your baby. Often we don’t get enough, especially when working indoors. So try to step outside and sit or walk in the sunshine for a few extra minutes a day.
  • accept help. Don’t try to take on everything with a super hero mentality. You’re not proving anything to anyone. Yours and your baby’s health is more important.