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Is anyone else working night shifts pregnant?

(23 Posts)
weebairn Wed 30-Apr-14 13:24:35

I am finding them really tough - 18 weeks now - feel sick and hungry/dizzy by the end, mini-bump hard and heavy

Last time I was pregnant I asked to come off night shifts around this time and they were really arsey with me and claimed most people worked till much later on nights (to clarify, I do a set of nights every month or so, I normally work daytime shifts, 8 hour and 12 hour ones). I still feel really low and have shit self esteem about this 18 months later…

How are other people managing? I could never sleep in the day at the best of times...

firsttimekat Wed 30-Apr-14 13:58:41

I haven't worked nights so not direct experience.

However everyone is different and if you feel you need to swap to days then you should swap, don't let them make you feel bad (easier said than done sometimes I know).

There are a couple of pregnant ladies at work and we are all coping really differently, I'm doing the 'worst' and working at home more because the commute really affects me.

SantasLittleMonkeyButler Wed 30-Apr-14 14:06:42

I'm sorry they were so arsy with you last time - it doesn't really matter what "most people" do does it? If working nights is making you feel unwell then of course it's reasonable to ask to change your shifts! They may actually be a little easier on you this time though, as they will remember last time & might be expecting you to ask.

I have done nights, but not while pregnant.

weebairn Wed 30-Apr-14 14:14:02

It's a different hospital this time, so not the same people.
I don't know that I feel unwell as such -just so so tired and wobbly. Night shifts are variable, some are extremely busy and you don't get a chance to sit down all night (they are 13 hours) - others (like last night) there are quiet patches at 4, 5am and I just lie down for a bit.

I haven't actually told them I'm pregnant yet so I guess that's the first step.

The other week someone called in sick to a night shift (this is extremely rare) and they asked me to stay till 3am (after working 8.30am to 9.30pm) to help the night team. I said no, but I felt awful about it, and I wonder if they will even manage to replace me if I come off nights myself.

On the other hand I feel like I have to look after myself and my baby and it's not my fault the hospital is poorly staffed… boyfriend is adamant I shouldn't work night shifts in the third trimester at the least.

I am a bit low about it all sad

Other than work the pregnancy is going really well.

thatdarncat Wed 30-Apr-14 14:33:25

By law your employer must take you off night shifts if you feel too tired/unwell with pregnancy symptoms. There are guidelines in place about this - do you have paperwork from your risk assessment, as this should be detailed in this?xxx

ALittleFaith Wed 30-Apr-14 14:55:38

I'm a nurse and at my 22 week appointment my midwife recommended that I speak to my boss about coming off nights. They just made me so tired and ill.

They are being unreasonable to ask you to stay on after a 12 hour shift! No way you should free guilty about saying no. I reckon you should ask your midwife to advise you to stop working nights and then go to your boss with that. It made a massive difference to me.

weebairn Wed 30-Apr-14 15:24:59

I know being asked to stay late was unreasonable, I just kinda meant to illustrate that if someone isn't there for a night shift, it's pretty hellish for the remaining members of the team. You'd think with advance notice they could sort out cover but in reality it just seems like the others work twice as hard.

It was a very upsetting month last time before they did take me off nights - took a long time to sort out and I got a lot of criticism for it. I guess I can't decide whether working the shifts or going through that process again is going to make me more miserable!

I'm glad (well not glad but you know what I mean) that other people have found nights hard, that it's not just me. I hope you are managing ok ALIttleFaith.

hotfuzzra Wed 30-Apr-14 15:43:39

I'm a shift worker too, I do two night shifts every 10 days. Normal shift is 10pm-7am but they let me leave at 6 now they know I'm pregnant.
I do struggle, I get sicky and tired and a bit low but my other option is to change my shift to a 7pm-4am or other, and I'd rather feel a bit pooey and work with my own team than work with The Others <insert dramatic music>
I'm hoping I can stick it out for as long as possible for now, and see what happens later on. I'm only 10 weeks now, so getting the worst of sickness and tiredness (until baby arrives that is!)
Good luck!

Serotonin Wed 30-Apr-14 16:10:15

Me smile

I work two 12 hour night shifts every 14 days as part of my (part time) shift pattern - which sees me working 48 hours in 7 days.

I am meant to be doing a full night shift tonight but not had any sleep today so it might be tricky. I am going to approach scheduling to offer an alternative pattern until I go off on maternity leave - I don't think it's the nights that is the issue but the shift length.

I'm 20 weeks and suffering from insomnia - pregnancy itself is not an issue

Cookiepants Wed 30-Apr-14 16:16:53

I worked loads of nights while pregnant (left at 36 weeks), but I found them easier than day shifts and there was more opportunity to park my arse grin

Seriously though, baby comes first. I know how pressured you feel to "pull your weight" but no one else is growing a person, they can look after you for a bit wink

weebairn Wed 30-Apr-14 16:52:08

They are quite variable, but mostly it's 13 hours on your feet, and it can be a bit physical. (I'm on the cardiac arrest team amongst other things, and at night staff are minimal so when you're needed, you're needed immediately)

Day time there are just a lot more staff around so it's easier to take a minute out even if there's more going on. Though to be honest I'm pretty exhausted by the long days too. But I don't eat or sleep properly on night shifts and it just really knocks me out for a few days afterwards.

Lsat time they acted like no one had ever asked to not do night shifts before and I was being pathetic and ridiculous. It made me feel pretty shit about myself.

hotfuzzra you poor thing - it DOES get easier - for most women at least - with regards to the sickness. I was sick as a dog until 14 weeks and really struggled with work, it is easier now.
Serotonin apt name eh - sorry to hear about the insomnia. I had it really badly a few years ago (weirdly enough despite everyone saying how awful newborn sleep deprivation is, I think the happiness/stress-free time on mat leave and baby cured me of it, I thank breastfeeding sleepy hormones) and now I sleep brilliantly except for night shifts. They really do knock me for ages afterwards.
Cookiepants I also know people who love nights! If I could sleep in the day maybe...

randdom Wed 30-Apr-14 16:52:18

I did nights until about 27 weeks. At that point I was really struggling and so my GP signed me off.

If you work in a hospital then I would recommend at the very least asking for a referral to occupational health and talk to them about the situation.

Tomkat79 Wed 30-Apr-14 18:12:23

Hi OP

I worked 12 hr night shifts as a nurse until 36 weeks. Been on mat leave now for 3 weeks and looking back I'm not too sure how I did them! That's all they put me on since January. I got through them with an hrs sleep beforehand, an hours break about 3am and then a huge bowl of cereal about 5am! In some ways they were hellish but when I did a random long day at 35 days that was worse I think as just constant all shift.
I am confident though that had I spoken to my manager/risk assessor then they could've taken me off the night shifts, especially if they were making me feel really bad as then it's not very safe for anyone.
It doesn't really matter what other people can or can't cope with in their pregnancy and you should not have been told this nonsense. You must only do what you feel is right for you and baby x

Jcb77 Wed 30-Apr-14 23:34:04

Medical night shifts can be an utter nightmare. There are 3 people you need to look after: you, your baby and your patient. If you aren't coping well enough to give an adequate level of service that is safe, them you have to come off them. Some people cope better than others (pregnant or not), some pregnancies are easier than others. I did nights til about 26 weeks I think and politely declined to do the ones I was rota'd for at 31 weeks. It's a bit different when you can reasonably frequently be on your feet, without a break, or food or even a drink all night. Yes, I know you're meant to have a break every 4hrs etc etc etc, but in real life, you don't not turn up to the next arrest, or not go and review the patient in pain because you're 'due a break'. It's unpredictable, physically demanding, emotionally demanding and physiologically pants. Even when you're not pregnant. If you can cope, fine. But if you can't... You can't.
Telling them you're pregnant would be a good 1st step. I told quite early (vomiting in the anaesthetic room during 3am surgery kinda gave the game away) and was well looked after. It also gives you a 'reason' to say no to extra work.
I know some areas of medicine are kinder than others, but you (and your employers) have a duty to protect your patients as well as you. Doctors are notoriously crap at looking after their own health and feeling guilty. If it makes you feel better, could you volunteer to do extra weekend work to 'make up' for nights missed in the next few weeks? I imagine some would rather work nights than weekends...
Good luck.

weebairn Thu 01-May-14 16:19:25

So it seems most people work nights till at least 25 weeks?

weebairn Thu 01-May-14 16:22:13

Actually looking at my rota after next fortnight I've not got any more till 30 weeks…

I have spent most of today crying cause I am so tired I can't make simple decisions for my toddler… sad

weebairn Thu 01-May-14 16:23:07

I don't think I am a danger to patients. I am just fucking useless at everything that's not work at that moment, because it's taking everything to function at work.

KitKat1985 Thu 01-May-14 16:54:33

Weebairn I think you need to be honest with your new employers about your pregnancy now and admit that you are struggling with the nights. It sounds like your last hospital was awful in terms of looking after you properly, but hopefully the situation will be better this time at the new hospital. Maybe ask for a referral to occupational health? Do you get on well enough with your direct line manager to ask for a referral?

I've worked plenty of nights before and frankly they make me feel ill without even needing to be pregnant, so I think you have more than enough justification. I know you feel guilty about letting the team down but you have to put yourself and baby first at the moment. xx

Needadvice5 Thu 01-May-14 17:08:48

I worked permanent nights until I was 38 weeks, 12 hour nights in a busy A+E with both pregnancies and lord knows how I did it!

speak to them if your struggling,your baby is far more important than work, every pregnancy is different and if your finding it difficult then ask to do days....

Jcb77 Thu 01-May-14 17:34:02

Everyone and every pregnancy is different. I really doesn't matter what other people worked to. It's horrible feeling you're letting the team down, but this baby needs you more than they do. It is dependent on you, they aren't. Your toddler is too. And even if you're not a danger to patients (I don't think for one minute that you are), you won't be functioning at your best and if there's a good and avoidable reason why that is, then.... I got signed off for a week twice in this pregnancy. Once very early on, once at about 24 weeks. Each the obstetrician reminded me that I wasn't superwoman and didn't have to be ashamed.

The nights you have coming up at 30 odd weeks are definitely excusable to not do. As for ones in the next fortnight, if you're feeling like this then you do need to say. It's about things like getting home safely after them too.
I know you were treated like rubbish last time ( were you in an acute specialty with a typically male dominated staff set by any chance?) but this might very well be different - different staff, different trust. I've been pleasantly surprised how lovely people have been once they've known. Nursing staff especially. If you're on the wards and they know, esp if you're struggling, I suspect quite a few cups of tea will make it your way.

weebairn Thu 01-May-14 18:37:05

Thanks guys. Being a bit melodramatic today because I'm tired! And a rubbish mum.

Yes to the acute specialty with male dominated staff!

I'm a core medical trainee so still fairly junior- last time consultants were mostly dickheads (they got very ratty about antenatal appointments), a couple of female registrars did the whole "I worked till 40 weeks and went into labour on the ward round,then was back at work in 2 months" spiel, and HR were both incompetent and nasty. The other juniors were nice, the nurses were nice if they found out (but lots of people didn't realise I was pregnant even gone 30 weeks, was wearing scrubs and had a small bump), and one consultant was a little bit protective and steered me quietly away from arrests a couple of times and told me there were enough people there and to go do something else,which I appreciated.

I will tell them next week... (I've been saying this for ages…)
I started a new job a few weeks ago so feel like I don't know anyone yet.

Jcb77 Thu 01-May-14 21:33:15

Well, how fabulous for those registrars to have had such a delightful pregnancy then.
I have to admit, I had NO BLOODY IDEA how grim it can make you feel. Without necessarily much to show for it on the outside. Men can never know quite frankly - that's just biology not a lack of care or understanding or anything else. My male consultants have been total stars. Some specialties that are dominated by certain, personality types, shall we say, look just appaling on a non pregnant good day ('but that's a difficult sub specialty even for a man.....' from one educational supervisor). Irritating, my best friend bounce thru her pregnancy with barely a nauseous or tired moment and doesn't quite get that not all of us are the same.
Hopefully now being CMT things will be understood a bit better. Tell them - it won't do any harm and you might be pleasantly surprised.

weebairn Tue 13-May-14 21:10:07

Just a brief update -

I told some of my team I was pregnant today (20 weeks). My consultant filled in a risk assessment form and recommended I didn't work any more nights, or carry the cardiac arrest bleep. I have yet to see if this is something the rota organisers will accept (they turned down an occupational health assessment last time and I had to get a note from my GP) but at least he seems to be on my side.

Seems like it was a massive relief telling a few people - couple of the junior doctors, and two nurses overheard and were nice. Everyone seemed very surprised!! I do have a bump -it's a bit small maybe.

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