Dealing with Pregnancy as a Medical Professional
Pregnancy is an exciting time for mothers-to-be. Having a baby changes your life, and there is much to think about and plan for. In the medical profession, this is especially true. When working as a nurse or other medical professional, the strenuous nature of the job can make pregnancy more difficult. The long hours, difficult tasks, and stress can be hard on any pregnant woman.
Fortunately, there are ways to manage pregnancy as a medical professional. With a few of these self-care tricks, nurses everywhere can enjoy a healthy, productive pregnancy as they move on to this new stage of life.
- If you’ve been planning for pregnancy in your personal life, you already have a head start. Planning ahead for your medical needs during pregnancy significantly reduces stress while you are pregnant. Talk to a doctor to get proper vitamins and ensure your vaccines are in order. Most new mothers need vacation time to take care of their newborns, so start saving your vacation days early.
Let your employer know.
- You may need different things from your job while you are pregnant and after you have your baby. Your employer can help you discuss maternity leave options, as well as your choices for switching to part time work while you’re busy with the baby. Keeping your employer informed of your status can help him or her plan for any job modifications.
- Tell your OB/GYN or midwife you’re a nurse. The person helping you give birth should know your occupation. This way, he or she can talk about any concerns with you. As a nurse, you’re around infectious diseases, radiation, and chemicals. Your OB or midwife can advise you about ways to avoid these issues, and what to do if you are exposed.
- Figure out your medications. Some medications can be continued throughout pregnancy; others can’t. Your doctor can help you switch to a different medication if necessary, or help you taper off medication for the duration of your pregnancy.
- Nursing requires a lot of work. With odd hours and plenty of stress, erratic sleep is common among nurses. When you’re pregnant, you should do everything you can to sleep more. Reduce stress with relaxing activities like meditation, and don’t try to do everything at full speed; your body is working hard to carry your pregnancy to term, and needs sleep and relaxation to do it.
- Eat right. Pregnancy has special nutritional requirements, and the erratic hours of a nursing job can have a negative impact on your diet. Be sure to combat this any way you can. Know your nutritional requirements and bring snacks to work. Leafy greens, beans, and fresh fruits have lots of nutrients important for pregnant women, and your body will need significantly more calories than before. Don’t forget to remain hydrated. You may not have been drinking enough water while on the job before you were pregnant, so now is the time to get into the habit of taking care of yourself.
- Create a maternity wardrobe. Being pregnant doesn’t stop you from being good at your job. A pregnant woman is as professional as any other nurse. But sometimes, it’s hard to feel professional if your clothes don’t fit. One way to remain confident as you go through pregnancy is buying maternity scrubs or nurse uniforms. At the beginning of your pregnancy, your cute Cherokee Flexibles might fit fine. However, once you get into the later months, it’s good to invest in some new clothes. Many maternity scrub pants have a stretchy area in the front, so they can accommodate you through your entire pregnancy. Maternity women’s scrub tops often have an empire waist top to offer room for your growing body. Many manufacturers don’t offer maternity scrubs, but Everyday Uniforms has a wide selection of maternity nurse uniforms, women’s scrub tops, and more, so you can stay comfortable, stylish, and professional throughout your pregnancy.
- Take breaks. With your body working hard all day to nourish your baby, it’s important not to push yourself too hard. Taking care of yourself should be your top priority. Take breaks while at work, even if you need to eat or sit down for just a few minutes. Avoid lifting overly heavy objects or performing tasks you find too strenuous. Listen to your body during this time. You can return to your previous level of energy on the job after the baby is born.
- Be prepared for change. Your body’s changes during pregnancy can be stressful. Many women have anxiety about their appearance. Remember, these changes are natural and healthy. Your needs and energy level may vary day to day, and your emotional state will likely fluctuate as well. Change is part of going through pregnancy, but at the end, you will be happy for the experience.
- Talk about your feelings. Pregnancy is an emotional time for many reasons. As a nurse, the stressful nature of your job can exacerbate these emotions. If you’re having a baby with a partner or spouse, make time to be with your significant other and talk about your hopes, fears, and emotions. If you’re having your baby alone, be sure to spend time with friends and family. Don’t neglect your emotional needs. It’s natural to feel emotional during pregnancy, and your feelings matter.
- Plan for your future. Pregnancy is a precursor to a big change in your life: the growing of your family. Imagining what this future will be like is a healthy way to keep things in perspective and remain positive through any physical discomfort. Decorating the future baby’s room is a great way to prepare for change. Choosing a name can solidify your future baby’s place in your family as well.
Pregnancy is a unique and exciting experience. The stressful life of a nurse doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy and be enriched by your pregnancy. Remember these tips, and you can do more than get through your pregnancy; you can flourish in your professional life at the same time.