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Doing nights in later pregnancy - what would you do?

(13 Posts)
TwitchyTail Thu 15-Nov-12 22:38:14

I'm 22 weeks, and have just moved to a different job where in addition to a 9-5 Monday-Friday job (with 2 hour total daily commute), I would normally have to do one full 24 hour "on call" shift once a week. This would involve being at home but called at any time in the night and having to drive over an hour to my place of work (usually at least once per night).

I'm feeling quite knackered already. I also worry about causing harm to the baby, especially pre-term labour. Work would excuse me from the nights if I had GP support (which I probably would), but I feel guilty about not doing the job properly.

What should I do? confused Any shift workers who have been in a similar dilemma?

bangersmashandbeans Thu 15-Nov-12 22:45:22

I am in a job that is 24 hour and lots of pregnant ladies are excused night shifts. With my first pregnancy I had no time off, no sick days, struggled in through the snow etc etc and for what?! A clear conscience?! This time I'm determined to put me and baby first and that means time off when I'm exhausted (went sick last week for the first time in 8 years just so I could sleep!) and I will ask to shorten my days as I get nearer my due date. Don't feel guilty, you know whether you're taking the piss or just looking out for yourself during your pregnancy.

vigglewiggle Thu 15-Nov-12 22:48:04

I worked in a frontline policing role in my first pregnancy. I worked shifts until I was about 32 weeks. However I had to have another supervisor to cover any 'outside' duties so they tended to let me go home at around 2am on nights. It was ok until one night when I couldn't go home because there was a masive operation kicking off and I had to stay on until 7am and then go to my scan at 10am. I was crying by 10.30 when they still hadn't scanned me and I was dying for a wee and seriously sleep-deprived!

Why don't you see how it goes, but don't feel under any obligation. Any H&S assessment would have to take into account the effect of a tired pregnant woman driving through the night.

FWIW, I'm glad I did what I did. I Blazed a trail for pregnant police women who followed and I'm loving just getting my career back after 5 years out. But you have to take care of yourself and listen to your body.

TwitchyTail Sat 17-Nov-12 13:18:01

Thanks for input guys, lots to think about. I think I'll speak to my GP and see what she suggests.

lotsofcheese Sat 17-Nov-12 17:43:52

Do you have an occupational health department at work? They might be able to advise?

SoYo Sat 17-Nov-12 17:45:57

I work shifts and I'm stopping all 12hr shifts at 28 weeks, so no nights and no long weekends. Just doing 9hrs max. They've swapped my previous 8am-9pm shifts to 12pm-9pm and stopped my nights all together. I went to my consultant and told them I was struggling with the commute and shattered and she wrote a letter to my employer. I do feel guilty about other people covering and leaving our rota short but I feel like I won't be doing my job to the best of my ability and I'll be putting me and the bubba at risk (fell asleep driving on the motorway the other day! Ooops)

HavingALittleFaithBaby Sat 17-Nov-12 19:22:12

I'm 17 weeks and just did my first night shifts. To be honest I've found it really tough, much harder than before (its two years since I've done nights). I was really sick when I got home! My boss had offered me the choice and I'm going to ask to be taken off nights based on this week!
Being on call is obviously slightly different but I agree with lots, I would speak to occ health about it, if you were called in, would you still have to come into work the next day?

TwitchyTail Sat 17-Nov-12 19:35:05

lotsofcheese, we do have an Occupational Health department but they are not very helpful - in this case they've said it's up to me, some women manage/want to do them and some don't. The choice is mine and luckily won't impact on me financially (or my employer, as there is a built-in back-up system).

SoYo, it sounds like we're in similar lines of work. I was hoping to do hours along the same line as you. Safety definitely needs to come first!

HavingALittleFaithBaby, yes, I would always have to work the next day as it isn't classed as shift work. Although I would be on call, usually I would be physically working for at least part of the night.

HavingALittleFaithBaby Sat 17-Nov-12 19:37:52

I would lean towards not doing it then! It's one thing working nights - you power through and then sleep all day - but it's quite another to have broken sleep then be expected to function at work all day the next day! Pregnancy messes with your sleep pattern enough. Obviously there's a guilt feeling about not doing what your colleagues would do but you're not so much 'playing the pregnancy card' as being realistic about the impact that this would have on your health during your pregnancy.

TwitchyTail Sun 18-Nov-12 09:40:58

Thanks HavingALittle, that's a good point. I've done shift nights before and I don't mind them at all, as you still get to sleep as much as you need, just at a different time. I just don't think I can cope with working full days and working unpredictably at night too...

Thank you all for your really helpful input! Much appreciated [flowers]

TwitchyTail Sun 18-Nov-12 09:41:13

I meant thanks

HavingALittleFaithBaby Sun 18-Nov-12 17:39:14

You're welcome smile

loveschocolate Sun 18-Nov-12 18:51:55

I've done "on call" in addition to normal working day up to 30 weeks. The worst was in the first trimester when I was really sick but hadn't told work. The number of times I was sitting by the toilet hoping that the phone wouldn't ring as I wasn't in a fit state to go to work..... The rest of the time it has been OK though the tiredness has been a problem and I would have given up much earlier had it not been due to lots of pressure to keep doing nights.

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