Being Pregnant in the Workplace

  • We have several pregnant women at work right now. A few are new moms and a few are having their second or third child. My wife worked up until the very end of her pregnancy. Being at work while going through morning sickness (which any mom can tell you doesn’t always come in the morning), and other bodily issues adds to the stress of any workplace. On the other hand many workplaces will go out of their way to help during a pregnancy to make things easier. Did you work while pregnant? What was the experience like?

  • My husband and I actually work together (which has honestly been a blessing for both of us) so whenever I've been sick or exceptionally uncomfortable he picks up my slack.  I didn't have morning sickness at all which was wonderful because I work the 4:30 to 8:30am shift Monday through Saturday.  My manager has been increadible when it comes to working with me and the changes that come along with a progressing pregnancy.  Our job is very physical and requires lifting and working around chemicals, but as soon as my doctor ordered that I not lift more then 20lbs and have no contact with chemicals my manager immediately made arrangements so that I would not ever be put in a position to do so. 

    However, I work with two different gentleman who are convinced that, despite my signed and sealed doctor notices for my work restrictions, I'm just using the pregnancy as an excuse and will go out of their way to try and force me into breaking my doctors orders.  They've done everything from neglecting duties so that I would feel compelled to do things that I shouldn't, to attempting to hand me bags that weight as much as 85lbs!  I've gotten to the point where I've told my manager that if something doesn't get done because they refuse to help me that I will not be responsible for it and thankfully my manager has been wonderful about it.

  • It was hard for me, because I worked in ICU. I was costantly exposed to MRSA and other contagious illnesses. I had to lift patients that weighed several hundred lbs. I was hit by my neuro patients. Once, I had an IV drain a chemo drug (highly toxic to a fetus) all over my arms. No one had ever had that happen before, and a geneticist had to get involved in my case. It was a mess! My co-workers were great and always tried to take the hardest cases, but sometimes those things just couldn't be avoided.

  • When I was pregnant with my daughter I was a server at Steak N Shake.  It wasn't too bad because I usually only worked about 30 hours a week and all of my co-workers were very supportive of my pregnancy.  They're the ones that suggested I ask for lifting restrictions from the doctor and until I got them they would not let me lift anything heavy.  They were a great group.

    During this pregnancy I work as a production associate for an auto manufacturer.  It's very physical work including lots of bending, stooping, climbing in and out of cars, etc.  My doctor didn't give me restrictions although I work in an area that deals with gasoline, primer, and sealer, but my team leader chose to remove me from those jobs anyway.  What really annoys me is that so many people in my area complain about doing some of the jobs that I am forced to do them more often.  When one of the guys started telling me about how he didn't want to do a certain job, I just told him that at least he didn't have to do it 4 times in 3 days the way I do.

    Because our jobs are so physically demanding we are only supposed to do each process once a day a couple of times a week.  The job that I'm stuck on the most is one that several other young mothers cannot believe I'm still doing.  We have less than 60 seconds to do the process and more than half of that time is spent bending over.  I haven't felt sore enough from it to complain yet, but I have a feeling I will be doing so in the coming weeks.

    For the most part my co-workers try to make things easier on me because I am pregnant, but there is one that seems to have a major problem with that.  He has made so many comments about how women get special treatment and one time when I was venting to another co-worker about my assignments he rudely said how he gets so tired of people complaining about their jobs.  I am grateful that I still have a job, but this individual just has no room to talk.  He complains more than anyone else in my area!  I'm just going to say that it's due to his dislike of me and the fact that he's a pretty ignorant individual.

    Anyway, sorry for going on and on, but I figure that it helps answer your question about pregnancy in my workplace.  Overall it hasn't been too bad, but there have been times where it was difficult to get a restroom break, etc.  I also think it's because until a couple weeks ago there were no other women in the area that had children.  It's a little harder for the childless women to understand what pregnancy is like.  I did have feelings of nausea at work in the beginning and it may not have been the best choice, but I just avoided eating meals until after work.  I'd eat crackers and drink water for most of the day.  And a sure sign that "morning sickness" can happen anytime of the day, I work 2nd shift, 4:30pm to 1am.  Mine was usually the worst between 4 and 8 Confused

  • Wow each of you have had some really intense experiences. I'm really impressed with how each of you handle(d) it. I would probably have bitten off more than a few hands for acting like that toward me just in my day to day. Being pregnant and handling those situations with such poise is something you should all be proud of!

  • Well im actually at work now, my boss dosent know im pregnant Im really scared to tell them because I might not get as much work hour days as if I wasnt pregnant. Im not really sure what to do or how to break the ice to them. I heard that some bosses start treating people different when they find out their employee is pregnant. Im not really sure what to do.

  • I would suggest waiting until you are in your second trimester. But You definitely want to tell before you are showing. I'm pretty certain it is ilegal for you boss to discriminate against you because you are expecting. I hope it works out for you. Being a nurse, my managers were always very supportive. They love babies and didn't get too up in the air about maternity leave or anything like that.

  • I believe if they discriminate becasue you are pregnant they are legally liable, but you should consult a professional to be sure what the laws are in your state. If you are worried speak with your HR department about your concerns and options, they should be able to help you as well.

  • I'm currently 32 weeks pregnant and working close to 50 hours a week as a stylist and in a bakery. my co-workers have been amazing at helping me out, but as well as letting me do some things on my own so i dont feel compleaty dependant. i also have agreat boss who continues to check if my hours are still ok, what i feel comfortable doing, and is very flexible about the pregnancy. Hardly any of the girls i work with have kids (were talking ages 16-20) they are still helpful and understanding. Iplan on working right up until my duedate, and it's great to have that support from a job!

  • This is my first pregnancy and I work as an IT consultant full time, (40 hours) therefore most of my work is done from my desk. Although there are times that I have to deploy computers and printers to my clients so I have had to carry these items. The first couple of weeks of the pregnancy when no one knew about it I had no problem carrying them. But now at 4 months, my clients as well as my coworkers do not let me carry anything. Which is great some times but then I feel bad because I feel like Im not doing my job. I hope to be able to work up to my due date which is the end of September. The up side of my job is that if it came down to not being able to come into the office I can always work from home. So hopefully everything goes as planned ...Big Smile

  • This is my first pregnancy and last October I was laid off after working for the company for over 8 years. I had several interviews where I tried to "hide" the fact that I was pregnant. I accepted a position back at my old company and I start on Monday. I am nervous about it because I am 6 months along and by the time I get out of training, I will be within 2 weeks of my due date!

    I plan on telling my manager that I am excpecting as soon as I meet with her and hope that they don't get too upset. But, I know they can't fire me because of it, so I will just have to see what happens in training. I want to work right up till my due date at the end of July. I am getting so excited!!

  • I just turned 4 months today, and i work at childrens place you know the retail childrens store? I just started working there I didnt tell them know that I was pregnant yet, and im not very sure when i should let my manager know. I didnt want to tell them my first week I wanted to show my manager that I am a good hard worker regardless of me being pregnant, but since im on my feet all day I have to climb up latters and move boxes full of clothes,

    can someone please let me know when should i let my manager know?

  • I work around food, my job is normally very stressful and fast paced and until I got pregnant I was working 35+ hrs a week. but my morning sickness was so bad I had to tell my manager before anyone else. I was to sick to drive to work, or even make my own food and had to rely on the father for everything. my manager was very helpful although it seems as if im the first pregnant employee hes had. I only work 10-15hrs a week now and they wont let me take out the trash or even use the step ladder. The other employees are helping cover all the hrs im missing so i dont loose them when i feel better. and theyve done everything they can to put a pause on my stressful activities and managment training until i feel better.

  • Being pregnant at work can obviously be a worrying experience. In this economy it is not uncommon to wonder if a pregnancy can mean a serious change or end to your current employment. How are you handling the new questions about your future with your employer? What steps are you taking to further solidify your needs?

  • I dont think that there is a specific time to tell your manager about the pregnancy. Its when you feel up to it. Although in your line of work you should be extra careful when being on the ladder and carrying the boxes. I told my manager right away when I found out because I knew that I was going to be in and out of the office with all of the appointments.

    If you are already 4 months then you should be showing a little bit and pretty soon it will be inevitable to hide it.

    Good luck telling your manager.