We all encounter stress at work whether it is deadlines, a grumpy boss, long work hours or unrealistic expectations. Many newly pregnant moms worry that the stress they experience at work will negatively impact their baby. The truth is that we don’t have any scientific studies on the impact of stress on a fetus because it would be unethical to do a study to determine that. Babies have been born in times of war, natural disasters, and famine – and we continue to survive as a species. When you are pregnant your baby does not feel your feelings. Your baby doesn’t know if you are happy, sad or angry. The only time that emotional stress would negatively impact the baby is if the stress causes you to do things that would be harmful like: smoking, taking drugs, drinking alcohol, not eating well, etc…
When you are pregnant you have more physical demands than normal – nausea and fatigue in the first trimester, and in the third trimester the physical demands of the growing uterus can cause difficulty moving, and increase swelling which may limit your ability to function to the level you did before pregnancy. Remember, you cannot push yourself as hard and try to allow yourself to be mentally OK.
Another important thing to think about is what your company allows for disability. Many companies offer paid time off and some do not. Most states allow maternity disability beginning at 36 weeks. By law you are allowed to have this time off and your job will be secure. Make sure you let your company know in advance how much time before delivery you are planning to take off so they can make arrangements to have coverage in your absence. After delivery the minimum paid time off is 6 weeks for a vaginal birth and 8 weeks for a cesarean delivery.
Many women worry that their company will not function when they leave, which increases stress, but the truth is that for all jobs, companies can function while you are away having your baby. Do not feel guilty about taking time away from the stress of your job – you are entitled to this precious and short time with your baby.
Certain medical conditions may place restrictions on your work activities. Make sure you take every precaution and check with your doctor if you need restricted hours of standing or heavy lifting while pregnant. Don’t be afraid to talk to your employer about your pregnancy and what you are experiencing.
More questions on how to reduce stress during pregnancy? E-mail us at [email protected] with your questions and we will answer as soon as possible!