Balance Your Home, Work and Social Life
Achieving an appropriate work-life balance is increasingly of concern even when you are not pregnant, but it becomes much more difficult once you conceive and later, when you have had your baby. Of course, for most of us, having a job or career is not only desirable, it is often financially essential and you will probably feel that your priority, especially if this is your first pregnancy, has to be your work. However, it is also important to have time for yourself and your partner, both for necessary tasks at home and in order to take ‘time out’ from being pregnant, just to be yourself. Many couples try to snatch a holiday or a short break away before the baby is born, especially if it is their first, so that they have had a rest and spent time together, and this may be something you might like to think about if you can afford it.
You need to consider when you will stop working to prepare for the birth of your baby and whether or not you will return to work afterwards. How long you decide to continue working will depend on your health and well-being and the development of any pregnancy complications, as well as the type of work you do, especially if there are specific risk factors such as chemicals or physical exertion. Many mothers choose to work until almost their due date – and may have to do so in order to be able to take off more time once the baby is born. However, this is not ideal. Try to find time for yourself before your baby is born and perhaps do things you may not be able to do afterwards, to prepare for the birth and motherhood – and to rest. You will never, ever have time again to do things totally spontaneously -at least not for the next 20 years!
Whilst you are still at work there are some steps you can take to look after yourself and avoid becoming over-tired. If you sit at a desk take cushions, inflatable pillows and a stool on which to put your feet to make yourself more comfortable. Open the nearest window if possible, or in very hot weather ask for a fan to keep you cool. Work with your shoes off and wear loose comfortable clothing. Take frequent breaks to stretch, walk and go to the toilet. Sip plenty of water throughout the day and avoid too much coffee.
If you work at a computer ask for any aids that may make you more comfortable – and to which you are entitled – such as an ergonomic chair and arm-rest for your mouse, and avoid prolonged periods with the VDU switched on unnecessarily. Remember that your employer has a duty to provide all possible services and equipment that may make your workplace more ergonomically and environmentally safe, especially when you are pregnant. You are also, in the UK, entitled to paid time off work to attend antenatal appointments and classes.