As an expecting mom with a career you may be wondering when the best time would be to stop working and how you can stay comfy and productive when you are still in the workplace. Morning sickness, back pain, frequent bathroom breaks and other pregnancy related symptoms can make working as you used to a more challenging task for you.
It’s important that you calculate the risks that your job could possibly have to you and your baby. For instance if you are working with chemicals, heavy metals or radiation you’ll need to either stop working or take extra precautions. Heavy lifting or labour intensive jobs and lots of travel for work are also jobs that’ll become more difficult as your pregnancy progresses. Desk work and computer work are generally regarded as safe, whereas jobs that require lots of standing will become more difficult in later pregnancy.
Dealing with work and pregnancy
Working can be stressful without having a growing baby in your belly. The physical and emotional changes that you experience can make meeting your body’s and workplaces’s demands a challenging task. However, some moms with healthy pregnancies are able to work almost until they go into labour, how much you can do will depend on your pregnancy.
Morning sickness is something many moms have to deal with. There are ways you can help manage nausea at work. Avoiding dining areas, packing mouthwash and a toothbrush and packing in soothing lemon and ginger are all things you can do to make yourself more comfortable. Eating and drinking little and often can also help keep the nausea at bay.
Be sure to dress comfortably, and try to take frequent breaks and walks, as this’ll also help you stay more comfortable.
What rights am I entitled to as an expecting mom in South Africa?
As a pregnant employee, you are probably wondering what rights you’re entitled to. It is a good idea to inform your employee as soon as you can, so that your employer can manage the situation as best as they can (for both of you) – they are required by law to maintain a work environment that is safe for their employees.
As an expecting mom, you will be glad to hear that you’re well protected under South African law – you may not be discriminated against or dismissed due to your pregnancy. You also have the right to four consecutive months unpaid maternity leave, anytime from four weeks before your expected birth date. Unfortunately employees are not obligated to pay you during this period, however, your job will be kept open for you until your return to work after maternity leave.