Morning sickness isn’t just limited to the AM hours – it can strike anytime of the day. Learn how to best cope with work responsibilities when you’re feeling nauseous.
When I found out I was pregnant with my first child, I had no symptoms except for a missed period. By that point, I was nearly two months pregnant.
Thinking that I was one of those “lucky” women who bypassed morning sickness, I continued life as normal.
Fast-forward another month and morning sickness finally reared its ugly head.
It was a Monday morning and I had to be at work by 7 AM for an important meeting. While I slept my usual eight hours, I woke up feeling groggy and a little nauseous.
As I slowly slid out of bed and began my morning routine, I felt my stomach start to churn. The next thing I know I’m kneeling before the porcelain throne.
How was I going to get through my morning meeting, let alone the whole day? I quickly had to learn to manage my morning sickness at work.
It may be uncomfortable, but morning sickness is a sign of a healthy pregnancy. More than 50 percent of pregnant women experience morning sickness, according to the American Pregnancy Association. The bulk of these women must also juggle their daily bouts of nausea with family, household, and work responsibilities.
To find the best ways to deal with my morning sickness, I sought advice from friends, family, and experts in the field.
What the Experts Say
Most experts agree that a light, healthy diet can help ward off queasiness during the day. Skip the traditional three meals a day in favor of all-day-long grazing. Munch on mini-meals and snacks to prevent your stomach from becoming too empty, which can cause nausea.
Keep a variety of snacks on hand while at work. Opt for a stash of stomach-calming foods and beverages, such as saltines, peppermints, and ginger ale. Also sip on ice water throughout your day. Not only will drinking water keep you hydrated, it will also deter hunger.
“There are many tips and tricks that have floated around for hundreds of years on how to deal with morning sickness, but one method that seems to work is eating crackers before getting out of bed.”
Craig Baird, I’m Going to Be a Dad: Now What?
“Talk to your boss, team members, or whomever you deal with on a daily basis, and let them know that you haven’t been feeling well lately due to your pregnancy. Explain to them that you’re not being rude intentionally by running to the restroom in the middle of a conference call or morning meeting.”
Leah Ingram, The Everything Etiquette Book: A Modern-Day Guide to Good Manners
“If you are one of those women whose symptoms occur primarily in the morning, it may be because of a sudden transition from sleeping to wakefulness. Abrupt motions, such as reaching to turn off a noisy alarm clock, can disturb your equilibrium. Avoiding these “morning triggers” may help you deal with your first bouts of sickness during the day.”
Miriam Erick, Managing Morning Sickness: A Survival Guide for Pregnant Women
“In early pregnancy you may not be feeling well enough to focus on good nutrition. Fluids and calories, in any form you can get them down, are the highest priority. Gatorade, milkshakes, Jell-O, bananas, Kool-Aid – whatever works.”
Marjorie Greenfield, The Working Woman’s Pregnancy Book
“More than half of pregnant women will experience morning sickness in the first trimester, marked by bouts of nausea and vomiting. Typically these symptoms last from the 6th week of pregnancy until around the 12th week.”
Dr. Irina Webster, Healthy Pregnancy from A to Z: An Expectant Parent’s Guide to Wellness
Coping with Morning Sickness at Work
Pregnancy comes with many rewards, such as the ability to feel your little one grow and develop inside you. It also comes with some unfavorable side effects, such as extreme fatigue, interrupted sleep, and morning sickness.
Begin by telling your boss you’re pregnant. Many women wait until after the first trimester to share the good news when the risk of miscarriage significantly reduces.
“If you can, consider timing your announcement to coincide with the completion of a project or another milestone,” says BabyCenter. “This demonstrates that pregnancy hasn’t affected your productivity.”
If you’re feeling hesitant about announcing your pregnancy to your workplace, remember that your job is safe under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). The PDA forbids discrimination based on pregnancy in all aspects of employment, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
Also announce your pregnancy to your co-workers. By letting both your boss and co-workers know about your pregnancy and challenges with morning sickness, they won’t have to feel offended when you make frequent trips to the bathroom or are slightly slower completing tasks.
Depending on your job description, you may have to stay fairly active during your pregnancy. Remember to take it slow and don’t overdo it. Simply jumping out of your chair to catch your afternoon meeting can wreak havoc on your sensitive stomach.
While they don’t work for everyone, many women have found success in managing their morning sickness with Sea-Bands. These stretchy fabric bracelets place pressure on the wrist and help restore your sense of balance. Wearing one at work could help reduce your nausea.
Pregnancy and Work
For many women, morning sickness is an expected but nonetheless miserable part of pregnancy. While it’s not always possible to cure the waves of nausea, you can keep up your pre-pregnancy productivity by implementing a few simple coping strategies for morning sickness.