Five Mistakes That Pregnant Professionals Regret Post-Delivery
Many pregnant professionals put a lot of pressure on themselves to maintain their careers while adding to their families. This endeavor can be challenging to manage (to say the least), and mistakes during this period can make your life harder later. So, here are five common mistakes that, if avoided, can help to improve your overall health and well-being during pregnancy and postpartum.
1. Not Taking Enough Maternity Leave
While 12 weeks seems to be the American standard for maternity leave, many women find themselves at work much sooner. Some return in four weeks or less. Studies show that shorter time spent between a mother and a newborn can contribute to developmental delays and illness. If leave is unpaid, budget to stay at home as long as possible. Staying with your newborn for longer will likely have a positive impact on their future.
2. Not Asking for Help or Flexibility at Work
Many women are afraid or too proud to ask for understanding at work. You can’t be fired for getting pregnant or having a baby so it’s alright to say when you need a break or additional time off. Newborns are another full-time job so it will be important to learn how to balance both while caring for yourself.
3. Not Exercising
During pregnancy, it’s incredibly important to keep up your activity levels. While it’s understandable to become increasingly tired, exercise will prepare you for labor and keep you in good habits for post-pregnancy. Unless you have an at-risk pregnancy, light exercise such as prenatal yoga, swimming, and walking are recommended. Heavy exercise is discouraged. By doing these light activities, you’ll feel happier and will have more energy for demands at work.
4. Eating for Two
Pregnancy myths lead many to believe that carrying another human means you must eat for two. Don’t force yourself to consume extra food because you think you should. Follow your body’s natural cravings and doctor’s nutritional advice. Average weight gain during pregnancy is 25 pounds. Calories consumed should be high in vitamins and nutrient dense. Eating properly during pregnancy will help maintain your weight and keep healthy habits for post-delivery.
5. Not Fully Understanding Your Health Benefits
Most women don’t realize how much of your pregnancy costs are covered by most insurance plans. All American insurance companies are now legally obliged to cover breast pump rentals and lactation consultant visits. Many will give you short term disability so that you can get paid while you’re on maternity leave. We asked Aleida, a mother and optometrist, who said that, “A lot of employers offer the option to have better short term disability where for a small price per month year round, your benefits include the company paying your premiums for your health insurance while you’re utilizing the short term disability. In my case this will save me about 200 a month while I’m not working, which is great considering short term disability payments only pays 40-50 percent of your normal pay.”
The common mistakes that are enumerated by pregnant professionals really revolve around two needs: the need to be physically capable to work and the need to be able to rest. In some instances, eating right and exercising may be all you need to conquer the work day. However, when the time comes where more rest is needed, then it is in the best interest of the mother and child that work cease. Communicate to your employer your needs and be cognizant of your rights and any benefits you may already have.
From all of us at Doc Momma maternity lab coats to you, have a brilliant maternity!