How to Survive at Work in Your Third Trimester

by | Jun 8, 2023 | Birth Parent Blog

Pregnant woman making copies while struggling to work whil pregnantDuring the last few weeks of your pregnancy, you’re probably getting tired so quickly that it feels like a significant achievement to do anything. (Ever tried tying your shoes lately?!) Each day during your third trimester might seem to bring a new symptom and side effect. However, your employer will still expect you to arrive at your job on time and get to work like everyone else. If you’re struggling to work while pregnant, you’re not alone.
Pregnancy comes with new physical limitations for most women, and it can be hard to work through them — especially if you pride yourself on being able to “do it all.” The nine-to-five routine can be a real grind when dealing with swollen feet, an aching back, and the infamous “pregnancy brain.”

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Are you struggling to work while very pregnant? Here are seven tips to help you survive at work in your third trimester:
1. Bring Snacks
Make sure that you have a stash of snacks handy at work for easy snacking. They’ll help with the exhaustion and nausea you’re probably feeling right now. Resting during the workday can be challenging, so try eating snacks rich in iron and protein (like dried fruits, trail mix, or jerky) to handle your fatigue.
Snacking satisfies your hunger (which you may feel all day, every day!) and provides you and your growing baby with the nutrients and extra calories you need. Experts recommend pregnant women in their third trimester eat about 450 extra calories daily. For simple snack ideas, check out this list of easy-to-prepare foods for pregnant women.
If you’re suffering from nausea, crackers and other bland foods can be lifesavers. Other ways to treat nausea include taking vitamin B-6 and drinking ginger tea or ginger ale (just make sure it’s made with real ginger).
pregnant woman working retail in her third trimester2. Request Adjustments
Speak to your co-workers and boss in advance about the changes you might need to make during your third trimester. These adjustments could include taking breaks more often or less standing in order to keep working. Asking your boss in advance will give them time to accommodate your needs.
If your job involves lifting and bending, lift with your knees, not your back. Wearing a belly band will support your lower back, hips, pelvis, and abdomen as you lift. If you’re on your feet for much of the day, try wearing compression socks, which will gently hug your legs and support your tired, swollen limbs.
According to the CDC, pregnant employees may need to avoid:

  • Standing for three hours or longer
  • Lifting heavy objects
  • Stooping, bending, or squatting often
  • Reaching
  • Lifting overhead

Don’t hesitate to ask for help. Most people don’t mind giving a pregnant woman a hand but often don’t want to assume you need help. If your job is physically demanding, you may benefit from sitting down during breaks.
3. Change Up Your Environment
Make your work area as comfortable as you can. For example, if you work at a desk, place a box underneath your feet so you can prop them up. Getting up often to stretch and move around will help.
Ask for an ergonomic chair or put a little pillow behind your lower back to make sitting more comfortable. It can make sitting all day more bearable. If you work at your desk most of the day, make sure to get up, stretch, and move around frequently.
Bring a heating pad or heat packs if your back or hips are sore and bothering you. If your job involves standing all day or moving around, make sure to take breaks and rest often.
4. Water, Bathroom Break, Water, Bathroom Break…
You’ve probably already heard the pregnancy tip of drinking tons of water. It helps with the oh-so-fun swelling that happens when you’re pregnant. It also helps prevent UTIs, constipation, hemorrhoids, fatigue, headaches, and overheating.
Obviously, the more water you drink, the more you’ll have to pee, but it’s worth it. Find out where the closest bathroom is and have a backup bathroom in case that one’s being used.
5. Request a Schedule Change or Time Off
Give yourself a day off now and then to just relax and nap. If you have a stressful job, a two-day weekend probably won’t give you enough time to wind down (especially if you already have children!)
Sometimes a typical five-day workweek can be too much when you’re in your third trimester. It might leave you stressed out, drained, and overwhelmed. If you feel like this is happening, ask your supervisor if you can change up your schedule a little. For example, if you work part-time three days a week, you could ask your boss if you can come in for five “half days.” Similarly changing your schedule can help you fit in a much-needed nap every day.
6. Manage Stress
Stress on the job can drain the energy you need to perform, so take steps to minimize workplace stress. You can take control by making to-do lists each day and prioritizing tasks.
Practice relaxation techniques, like imagining a calm place or breathing slowly. Downloading a mindfulness and meditation app may also help you. And many pregnant women have found stress relief by taking a prenatal yoga class. Before starting any new workout plan or class, make sure to get the go-ahead from your healthcare provider.
7. Get the Sleep You Need
Getting enough sleep is an essential part of prenatal care, so try to go to bed early. Sleep helps you keep up with the absolute physical exhaustion of growing a baby and the stress it puts on your body. In addition, lack of sleep during pregnancy has been seen to cause complications, including gestational diabetes and preeclampsia.
Strive to get at least eight hours of sleep every night. If you can’t get eight hours, try napping during the day. Resting on your left or right side will keep blood flowing well to your baby and ease swelling. Try placing pillows between the legs and under the belly to make your bed more comfortable during your third trimester.
Choosing Adoption While Working
Women who worked through their pregnancies while moving through an adoption plan for their child often feel grateful for the chance to continue making an income while staying active and busy each day.
One woman shared with us, “If I didn’t work through that time, I would have just sat at home feeling mixed up about my situation. I wanted to know I was making the most of this time to get me and my baby out of the situation I was in.”
If you have questions about open adoption and how it works, Lifetime’s adoption professionals are always available by calling or texting 1-800-923-6784.
Curious about what open adoption looks like in real life? Watch as birth mothers share their own adoption stories.

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Editor’s Note: This article was originally published on November 6, 2015, and has since been updated. 

Heidi Keefer

Written by Heidi Keefer

Heidi Keefer is a Content Creator for Lifetime Adoption and has over 15 years of experience in the field of adoption. An author of thousands of articles and social media posts over the years, Heidi enjoys finding new ways to educate and captivate Lifetime’s ever-growing list of subscribers.

Heidi has a keen eye for misplaced apostrophes, comma splices, and well-turned sentences, which she has put to good use as a contributor to Lifetime’s award-winning blogs. She has written and published hundreds of adoption articles which explore the various facets of domestic infant adoption today.

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