Rejoice, rejoice! At the time of writing, I’ve just officially started maternity leave! I’m glad I made it – it wasn’t easy. I didn’t realise that working up to 38 weeks is considered madness by many. It probably is.
Anyway, I’m no expert, but I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve learned from the experience.
Here are my survival tips for working late into pregnancy:
- Expect to slow down. For anything past 35 weeks, make sure your boss and colleagues understand that you are going to be tired and uncomfortable at least some of the time. There will be days where you’re not on top form, and there’s no point trying to hide it.
- Don’t try to work late. Pre-pregnancy, and possibly during the energetic second trimester, you may well have worked late, or put in a few extra hours over the weekend. Seriously, you need to cut that out in late pregnancy. If you don’t rest, you’ll be useless during the normal working day.
- No heavy lifting. Well obviously it’s not a good plan to lift 50kg weights, but it’s also not a good idea to carry any more than you have to in your handbag. By 34 weeks or so, there’ll already be so much weight on your front, leaving as much as you can out of the commute will make a big difference.
- Keep cool. I still can’t quite believe how hot I got just sitting at my desk in the last few weeks. Have a desk fan on hand and layer up cool, breathable clothes. Even in winter, you really don’t want to be stuck in the office in a woollen dress or polo neck jumper.
- Eat lots of small meals. Big meals are the enemy of productivity during late pregnancy. As hungry as you may feel, if you stuff yourself at lunch, you’ll be sleepy and bloated all afternoon. If you’re like me, you may not even be able to comfortably reach the desk. Snack, don’t binge (although cakes are A-OK, in my book).
- Drink lots of water. If you’re immersed in your work, you might forget this simple essential. If I made that mistake, I felt absolutely rotten when I came to stand up, so try to keep a jug of cool water on your desk at all times.
- Sleep when you can. If there’s a spare office you can grab 20 minutes kip in at lunchtime, do it. If not, it might be worth nipping home if the journey isn’t too far. A quick rest when you get home is wise too, if you can. The power of power naps cannot be underestimated in late pregnancy.
- Know your limits. If you find you can’t work, then you can’t work! Again, talk to your boss – they will be much happier if you say at 35 weeks, “I need a rest” than if you sit suffering at your desk for several weeks looking like a dying whale.
Are you working late into the third trimester? Any tips to add?