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Early pregnancy and work

(10 Posts)
weebairn Sat 15-Feb-14 07:28:11

I just need some solidarity as it's so hard struggling through the day and smiling and saying I'm fine and no one sodding knowing I'm pregnant.

Working long shifts this weekend, 13 hours on my feet friday saturday sunday, it's high stress high responsibility and I just feel so shaky. I managed to get lunch yesterday which was a bonus - not always possible! And I felt super-shaky around 7pm so took a mini break to wolf down a banana and an extra sandwich. I finished an hour late which is typical. Sickness is horrible (I think it's worse when I skip meals) and tiredness is crippling - I sort of get through the shift on adrenaline but then I'm all wired when I get home and took ages to get to sleep, and this morning was awake at 4am with morning sickness, even though I'm not due in work till 9.

Also I miss my toddler <wail>

Anyone else early pregnant and struggling? I can't remember how I got through this bit last time… I must have blocked it out! I am 8 weeks and if anything have lost weight so it's not like anyone's going to guess any time soon… feels endless. <weeps>

Trooperslane Sat 15-Feb-14 07:43:38

I'm not but I remember the early days very well - you definitely, definitely need to make sure you eat - no1 priority!

And congrats thanksbrew

dobedobedo Sat 15-Feb-14 07:45:48

Tell someone in work if you can. Just so one person understands.
The first trimester is torture with the sickness and tiredness. You'll be on the other side of it soon enough though!

JustDanni Sat 15-Feb-14 07:58:53

Eating is very important. Early pregancy is very demanding on our bodies and you need nourishment.
Also, an empty stomach can leave you feeling more nauseous.
Keep bottled water on you at all times and remain well hydrated and if anyone asks tell them you are on antibiotics that require you to drink more.

If you feel you are at risk then you can ask your GP to write up a conformation of your pregnancy and you should put it in writing to your employer, keep a copy for yourself, and be sure to sign it. (This prevents any "He said" - "She said" incidents)

Your boss may offer you some extra time off your feet or lighten your load and he/she is required by law to keep your pregancy private and confidential until a time where you choose to tell people.
If you are struggling, you are entitled to help. Its the law.
Join your employee union if you have one and haven't already. You might. not need them, but just in case anything gets akward.

weebairn Sat 15-Feb-14 08:08:03

I belong to a union and they were very helpful in my last pregnancy. By 20 weeks I was really struggling and I wanted to come off night shifts, 12 days in a row etc, but my employers were frankly horrible about it (right down to personal comments about how I wasn't very big yet and therefore should be fine to carry on)

In the end it got sorted and I went down to 40hrs/week at around 20 weeks and no night shifts but it really knocked my confidence in myself and I felt awful about it for ages. I got lots of comments about how "lucky" I was working so little, etc. There were also some supportive people but some of it was nasty. I work part time now in a job share due to having my toddler so I feel like I will be able to manage this pregnancy much better (I never work more than 6 days in a row now and never more than 2 night shifts at a time) and frankly I just don't really feel like making any waves at all this time. It was such a miserable experience. In retrospect I kind of wish I'd sucked it up and just worked all the damn shifts and at least I wouldn't have felt so crap about myself.

But my GPs are nice (I actually changed surgery in the middle of pregnancy last time as my old surgery were so unhelpful - new ones are ace) so if I can't cope I will go to them. But I was hoping I wouldn't have to till I was like 28 weeks or something sad

Anyway I have to work now. Sorry for the whinge. I think I just need lots of hand holding! I might tell one person at work but the weekends are manic - maybe on a more normal day.

Jcb77 Sat 15-Feb-14 09:25:00

Ah.... That sounds horribly familiar. I suspect we work in the same profession, or at least similar. Much sympathy and hugs. I had hyperemesis for the first 20 weeks and don't honestly know how I managed it. I work 80% full time. Couldn't have done it if I did any more so hats of to you for coping so well 1st time round. Pregnancy isn't an illness, but it can make you feel bloody horrible. I envy those who seem to bounce through it and bloom (when? When does that but start?!?) I'm lucky that my colleagues were very supportive and I just ended up telling people why I was being so rubbish. Helped that my line manager's niece was going thru the same thing at the time.
Those who have never had a difficult pregnancy or ever been pregnant can have NO CONCEPT of how utterly awful you feel.
I totally get the not having time to eat. It can be very difficult. I would say tell people. Not in a 'poor me' way (I'm sure you wouldn't) and not everyone, but the key players. Your boss, your immediate team, your line manager. In a 'you need to know because it's affecting my performance' way. You need extra support and a bit of understanding. In the same way as if you'd had an illness or a major life event. You will probably find that a lot of women in particular are quite supportive as they've been there (or thereabouts) and the others will appreciate candour so long as you're blunt and matter-of-fact about it.
Good luck this weekend. Keep nibbling when you can. Pocket/bag full of discrete high energy stuff. Biscuits! hugs.

KitKat1985 Sat 15-Feb-14 12:10:21

I sympathise weebairn. I work as a nurse and had to do lots of 14 hour shifts / extra hours in the first few weeks of pregnancy. One week my boss put me down to work nearly 60 hours. A lot of people where I work pick up several extra shifts a week so doing overtime is considered 'normal' (indeed my boss doesn't even ask for most extra shifts she puts people down for, she just puts them down, as she just assumes people want them). It sounds like you probably do something similar. It was b*** horrendous to be honest. I felt like crap most days and just wanted to curl up and sleep / be sick somewhere. I've now put my foot down and told my boss no more double shifts / extra hours (but she still keeps trying to sneak them in)! Here's a few things that I found help:
1) Keep some mints / biscuits / other nausea free snacks in a discrete pocket so you can have a quick nibble in quiet place when needed.
2) Tell your boss early on and say you need (at least) a decent amount of break between shifts. If they are unhelpful ask for a referral to occupational help or a letter from your GP to help.
3) Ignore other people who make comments about how 'few' hours you are working.
4) Tell a few trusted work colleagues. It was a bit of a gamble doing it where I work but, in the main, they've been lovely and made me cups of tea and sneaked me out snacks when they can see I'm flagging.
5) Get as much sleep as you can inbetween shifts, even if it means going to bed at 8pm.

Good luck. xxx

weebairn Mon 17-Feb-14 18:16:40

Thanks for your support guys it means a lot to me. Got through the weekend - it was pretty hideous but survived. Spent most of today in bed (i took it as annual leave…)

Thanks for advice jcb and Kitkat. I'm a junior doctor and work is pretty relentless! It's a bit of a macho world too, the nurses are more understanding. I think I'm going to try and make it to my scan before talking to work.

Missingcaffeine Tue 18-Feb-14 00:22:41

I work as a nurse team lead with shift work and long hours, no proper breaks and often work late and struggle to find time to eat/drink when I should. I told my boss and a few others I trusted last week as I felt they would be more supportive if they knew - and they have been and it has helped. One of my colleagues would often pass work onto me, and she has stopped doing this and been offering to take work off me. I am struggling a lot though and ended up going home early one day last week after a little mini breakdown, mainly from exhaustion and just feeling so dreadful and unable to do my job like I normally would. I have asked for my days off to be spread as evenly as possible rather than grouped together. I think this is going to help. I am also going to take some annual leave.
You must make sure you force yourself to find time to eat and drink when you need to, as you'll feel much better for it, and usually you can take 10 mins out without anyone noticing too much (for all they know, you might be have popped to the loo). I carry nibbles in my pocket too.

MaybeProbably Tue 18-Feb-14 05:53:52

OP, I understand how you feel and offer hugs and support. I work long shifts too, and have had to sneak off many times to eat because whenever i get hungry I feel so nauseous. I just tell them I'm going to the toilet or make up some excuse and go scoff some dry biscuits or crisps from my bag!

Weebairn - I find that during and after night shifts, the tiredness and nausea double, so I totally understand the need to change your hours, good on you for pursuing it even when others were so small minded.

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