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Pregnant nurses etc

(18 Posts)
woollysocksaresexy Tue 30-Apr-13 09:29:48

I am a nurse, currently in first trimester, and really struggling with work :-(
I work 13 hour shifts with fairly random break patterns, so I am knackered. I have to get up at 5am and get home at 9pm. I have terrible morning sickness which the main thing that seems to determine whether I have a good/bad day is how tired I am. When at work I am struggling to stay hydrated because of a combination of sickness and the dehydrating atmosphere I work in, and I seem to need to drink much more than normal anyway now. I can't eat much either cos of the sickness, so all in all at the end of the day its just making me feel like s***. And incredibly miserable.
How does everyone else get through this? i just can't seem to see an end to it. The managers are the most unsympathetic bunch I have ever met, ms is no excuse etc etc.
And despite preferring the entire world NOT knowing I am pregnant as it is still early days, I am pretty sure it is public knowledge as its practically impossible to hide the sickness :-(
I'm just feeling so down :-(
Anyone got any advice?
Thanks!

NewChoos Tue 30-Apr-13 09:55:33

The only thing that helped my sickness was to ear carbs every 2 hours. Is there anyway you could have a 5 min break for a quick snack? Failing that could you reduce your hours for a few weeks? If you feel really dreadful - ask GP for a sick note (I know loads of people who have done this as they had unsympathetic employers).

NewChoos Tue 30-Apr-13 09:56:18

Hopefully it will only be for a few more weeks, I felt better at 12-13 weeks (which is when the plancenta takes over I believe).

woollysocksaresexy Tue 30-Apr-13 10:22:32

Thanks for your replies, I am counting the days till 12 weeks when hopefully things will improve even if they don't go away completely!
I am fairly desperate to avoid a sick note due to guilt (mine) and their guilt tripping / disapproval and I am aware that I may have complications later on in pregnancy which will definitely mean going off sick (shock horror!)

KatAndKit Tue 30-Apr-13 11:40:36

If you are not fit to work then get a sick note and ignore guilt tripping. Put yourself and your baby first. Your employers are required to make reasonable adjustments due to your pregnancy so if there is something that would help get it in writing from a midwife and show it to your boss. They should have a pregnancy risk assessment policy - ask to see it and get your risk assessment performed - staying hydrated is a basic need, having a regular break to sit down is also necessary when you are pregnant and perhaps a reduction in your hours might be needed. The whole ms is no excuse spiel is awful. You are not trying to make an excuse but you can't help being unwell.

Tiredness is overwhelming in the first trimester. Perhaps if you took a few days off just to rest the sickness might go down a bit?
Remember no matter how arsey your boss is, pregnancy sickness can not be used against you in any disciplinary matter at all.

isitsnowingyet Tue 30-Apr-13 11:47:37

I feel for you as worked in ICU through all 3 pregnancies and know exactly what you mean sad. I would quite often sneak to the staff kitchen and have a drink of milk and a digestive biscuit which would alleviate the nausea feeling. Take as much rest as you can when possible. It's a shame your manager/s are so short-sighted as not to look after their staff properly. Is there no chance of taking one A/L day per week for a while?

LittleBearPad Tue 30-Apr-13 14:54:54

I don't really I'm afraid but big ((hug)). Morning sickness is shit.

Can you stomach food - if so then little and often may work best. I'm not a nurse so I don't know if this is practicable re your shifts, duties etc.

It is very likely that once you get to 13/14 weeks you'll feel better and generally more awake again.

BabsAndTheRu Tue 30-Apr-13 15:01:27

Yeah agree with the others about eating snacks, I used to find dry crackers worked for me. It's tough going in a hospital, the heat especially used to make my ankles and feet ache, not to mention being on our feet all day. I used to put a bin under the desk when doing paperwork so I could put my feet up. Also recommend support tights as well and depending on how big you get a support band for your bump, you get them in Boots for about £ 15 or there abouts.

HadALittleFaithBaby Tue 30-Apr-13 15:53:52

That's awful! I did nursing shifts from 13 weeks til I finished at 35+5. I managed due to the support of my manager and the staff.

I stopped doing 12 hour shifts at about 25 weeks. Hard as I found it to be there 5 days a week I found it easier to cope physically and emotionally. I kept a drink bottle on my trolley (with bosses permission) so drank at least 2 litres a shift.

I agree if you're struggling sod your manager, take time off. If they're unsupportive, it might be worth going to HR.

woollysocksaresexy Tue 30-Apr-13 16:22:47

Aaaaah, thankyou, you're all so lovely! I just really needed a bit of sympathy! Not getting any from my Mum, who is very much put up with it, its something everyone has to go through and still! still! seems to think that all I have to do all day is a couple of bed baths and a few drugs. And dh doesn't understand and always does / says the wrong thing. Poor bloke. And going that long when all you can stomach is some hula hoops makes you feel rubbish in itself, drinking makes me retch, but then dehydration makes me feel worse.... sigh.

MorganLeFey Tue 30-Apr-13 17:18:48

Any chance of a temporary change in pattern to short days or getting the rest days more evenly interspersed +/- annual leave?

I found "normal" days do-able till about 30 weeks when they started to just get much physically harder & I came off the nightshifts completely - although the 'risk assessment' that swung it more seemed to be physical safety than how I was feeling!

But consecutive long on-call days in the first trimester were grim - I added a rescue pack of sorts to my bag with food/water (things like mini cheddars & haribos), small scented candle, gaviscon in tab form & a sick bag (can get some good ones online).
Would literally work, eat, travel home & sleep but even with that sometimes the combination of long day/sleep deprivation/erratic meals/stress meant I'd be up all night or the next day being even more sick & ended up telling my line manager/colleagues far earlier than planned & self-certified (less than 7 consecutive days) as 'pregnancy related sickness'. Which of course I felt bad about... but then I felt awful enough already anyway (!) & as ever - your employer is unlikely to stand by you if something goes wrong with the excuse you weren't physically up to it.

But hopefully it will get better! 2nd trimster was ok for me. smile

LittleBearPad Tue 30-Apr-13 20:57:10

Another thing I found helped a bit was either Tonic water or Canada Dry ginger beer. The bubbles seemed to help but they weren't too sweet.

Newtobecomingamum Tue 30-Apr-13 23:13:57

I really feel for you!! Big hugs! I'm not a nurse but I had problems at my work when I suffered from horrendous sickness for five months, although I only had about 5 days off in total and worked from home for two weeks (when I could have been signed off sick but through guilt chose to work). When I think what i put myself through forcing myself into work all that time and was feeling so awful, I wish I hadn't of done it and was really silly. At the end if the day it's you and your baby that matters! I learnt the hard way and wish I didn't put myself through it. Luckily after using up the last few weeks of my AL the sickness died down and I returned to work. Have they done a risk assessment? Can you see someone in OH, they are really good and will do an assessment and make recommendations like reduced hours/working week, reduced work load etc. I really really feel for you, especially with the job you are having to do too! Some people don't bloody understand how hard it is! I found eating carbs (like the lady above suggested) was the only thing that helped! I practically lived on toast, crusty bread rolls and potatoe waffles for months as that was all I could eat! Try eating carbs every few hours and the other thing that helps is resting! Hope you feel better soon! X x

atrcts Wed 01-May-13 19:05:39

It annoys me when people (usually who have never been pregnant!) say that^ "pregnancy isn't an illness you know"^...

It doesn't matter why you're feeling so sick - the fact that you're struggling with it is reason enough for people to try and accommodate. The same applies to exhaustion.

If you're not comfortable going off aik, would it be worth approaching occy health to write to your managers requesting either a temporary switch to shorter shifts, or somehow accommodating extra breaks for snacks or drinks as required? Easier said than done I know - especially as most nurses don't get to pee all shift, much less drink!

Either way, the first trimester does pass with all of its horrible side effects, so hang in there!

pinkr Wed 01-May-13 20:47:18

Not a nurse but a teacher so think standing in front of thirty teens whilst wanting to crawl into the nearest cave....I found sipping water got me through the worst and avoiding hot drinks. Kept plenty of snacks handy too...fortunately the kids were supportive!

Springforward Wed 01-May-13 20:55:45

Sorry OP may have missed this, but does your line manager know yet? If they do, they should have done your pregnancy risk assessment which should take account of your sickness and fatigue, and by the sound of it you should be having some allowance made for rest during shifts and access to food and water. HR or H&S should really be able to advise if you call directly. Try googling "HSE pregnant workers" for a summary of your rights (sorry, on phone or else would link).

Pregnancy isn't an illness but blimey, you feel like it is sometimes, and there are no medals for toughing it out when you feel particularly lousy. And you do have employment rights here.

Springforward Wed 01-May-13 21:04:47

Actually, Google "indg373".

PagingDrFaggot Wed 01-May-13 21:07:24

I had to go off sick for 3 weeks when pregnant with DS as I ended up spectacularly vomiting in patients vomit bowl she had handily left on her locker as I went to get her medsshock.
You have my sympathy , nursing , morning sickness and early pregnancy don't mix well. If its any consolation I went back to work at 14 weeks And sailed through till 37 weeks though . I was really hot on taking a break when I needed a drink or a snack and my manager was great , reduced the heavy stuff for me .

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