Do you see that picture? Yup, that is me, 8 months pregnant, the “prego”genist working with a watermelon tucked under my scrubs. At this point there IS a daily apology for my baby kicking at least one of my patients in the head. Once showing you will probably get some funny questions. For example, one patient recently asked if I had a condition that made my stomach large or if I was pregnant. Those patients say the darndest things sometimes.
The extra weight you gain while pregnant brings on lots of new things you didn’t know your body could experience such as, swollen hands and feet making running around treating patients all day hard and may cause you to have to use a larger sized glove to keep those hands happy and healthy. Give yourself permission to buy the most comfortable shoes, and consider some type of compression stocking to make life a little easier as well.
You may start to notice your back hurting at some point. Some options to combat this are a seeing a chiropractor, massages, stretching, using a more ergonomic chair, purchasing a belly support band, or consider standing for portions of treatment delivery. It will also help to keep pounding the water while working. This will make for more trips to the ladies room but will help you feel better at the end of the day.
With my first child, I worked right up to the last day. I felt good and had a flexible sub for when I was ready, which I would recommend lining up at least 2 months in advance. The more you can help the office be prepared for the transition the better off everyone will be. Each pregnancy will be different; with this child I am taking off 2 weeks early to rest and relax. Not everyone has that luxury but do what feels best for you.
You may be asking yourself, how long of a maternity leave should I take? I have seen several coworkers over the years take anywhere from 1 week to 2 months. Some are the sole providers for their family and just don’t have the luxury of weeks off of work without pay. With my first baby, I told them 6 weeks but when it came time to return I called to see if they could give me 8. I was very blessed to have that opportunity and was allowed that because I had lined up the temporary hygienists schedule first before talking with the manager about it. If I had just dumped it on her, for her to figure out all of those details, she may have not been so gracious.
With my second child I went back very part time just two weeks later (from 2-4 hours 2 times per week.) This was because I had an awesome child care provider. For me, that made all of the difference in my comfort level in returning to work knowing my baby was properly cared for. Stay tuned for part 3 where I talk about finding childcare and working as a now nursing mother. SEE PART ONE, THE FIRST "TRAIL"MESTER HERE.