When you are dealing with morning sickness and its associated challenges, it can sometimes feel like your whole life needs to put on hold. If only managing morning sickness was that simple!
Unfortunately with full-time jobs and increasingly demanding careers, morning sickness is often something that we can’t allow to get in the way of our hectic schedules.
Pregnancy is an incredibly personal experience and choosing to tell loved ones and colleagues your exciting news is something that you need to decide to do in your own time, but when you are up against morning sickness, sometimes hiding physical signs of pregnancy can feel like an impossible task.
What is morning sickness?
Morning sickness is a common term used to describe the nausea and vomiting that many pregnant women experience, typically during the early stages of pregnancy.
In fact, morning sickness is one of the most common early pregnancy challenges, affecting around 8 in 10 pregnant women. It's caused by hormonal changes, particularly increased levels of human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) and oestrogen.
Despite its name, morning sickness can occur at any time of the day or night. The severity varies, with some people experiencing mild discomfort and others enduring more intense symptoms that can interfere with daily activities, especially work. In most working environments being in good health is important for both wellbeing and performance, and it’s undeniable that morning sickness can impact work performance negatively.
Firstly, as we well know, morning sickness can strike at any time of day (or night). Because of this it’s highly likely that your sleep routine will be disturbed, which is of course going to hinder your enthusiasm in important meetings and lead to pregnancy fatigue at work. Furthermore, there’s the mental strain of morning sickness, with some studies revealing that there is an apparent link between more serious forms of morning sickness and depression.
How to Hide Morning Sickness at Work
Disguising the symptoms of morning sickness at work can be difficult, but if you’re not ready to reveal your pregnant status or simply don’t feel comfortable sharing information about your health at work, having a few strategies to conceal and divert attention from your morning sickness is certainly important.
Consider our tips to control morning sickness and also hide the symptoms from your colleagues:
1. Plan your day strategically
When keeping pregnancy a secret is your top priority, having a clear structure to your day is crucial.
If you’re not a breakfast person, waking up before work and ‘lining your stomach’ with something plain and nutritious will help set you up for work well.
Similarly, you may want to schedule in post-work naps to beat tiredness.
Planning your day also means packing items in your work bag that will help keep your nausea at bay, so consider taking a pair of Myrtle & Maude Acupuncture Wristbands - they are easy to use and discreet.
We suggest wearing wristbands under a long sleeved top so are concealed and if you sudden bout of nausea comes over you place you can gently press down on the wristband stud for 30 seconds at a time to increase the pressure; this can help further aid relief. Acupressure might have a useful role in treating Morning Sickness, according to the NHS who have suggested that it can help reduce nausea and vomiting.
2. Food and drink tricks to manage nausea
When it comes to managing morning sickness, one of the first areas that you should be looking to adapt is your diet. The things that you consume on a daily basis could well be responsible for worsening your morning sickness symptoms, but you can also use your daily diet to manage your pregnancy nausea.
Foods high in fat and grease can be harder to digest and may worsen nausea, while spicy foods can irritate the stomach lining and trigger nausea in some individuals. You may also want to cut back on acidic foods such as citrus fruits and tomatoes which can exacerbate stomach discomfort.
You’re also best to adopt a little and often approach to eating, as large meals may sit heavy on your stomach, leading to indigestion and worsening your nausea as a result.
Caffeinated drinks can also increase nausea, so consider swapping out your usual coffee or tea break for a cup of Myrtle & Maude Organic Morning Sickness Herbal Tea. Be sure to dispose of the packaging and swap for a clear bag so no one notices what you are drinking!
Also it is extremely important to stay hydrated - you ma be eating less due to queasiness, so subsequently you will need to drink more, not drinking sufficiently may cause thirst, which can make your sickness worse.
3. Dressing tips to hide physical changes
Morning sickness isn’t the only tell-tale sign of pregnancy people notice, and if your bump is beginning to show, you may need to consider how alterations to your wardrobe can help you hide your expanding bump while you are still keeping your pregnancy quiet.
Opt for loose-fitting tops and dresses that drape away from your body as these styles can help disguise any changes in your figure.
Dark-coloured clothing and subtle patterns can help create a visual illusion that hides changes in your body shape, while A-line skirts and dresses that gradually flare out from the waist, providing a loose and comfortable fit without revealing changes in your abdomen.
4. Techniques to mask frequent bathroom visits
Nausea and a need to urinate more frequently are both reasons you may need to use the bathroom more at work, but if your trips to the toilet are becoming more regular, you may be keen to mask this from your colleagues while your pregnancy is still a secret.
Steps to mask your frequent bathroom visits include ensuring you use the bathroom nearest to you and hydrating wisely (think small sips as opposed to guzzling large quantities of water). If you feel comfortable spinning a story, you could even pretend that your frequent bathroom visits are being caused by your time of the month.
5. How to handle fatigue
Exhaustion can do you dirty in the first trimester and feeling fatigued is perhaps one of the most common symptoms of pregnancy, but it can be extremely debilitating if not managed properly.
The most crucial aspect of managing pregnancy fatigue is getting enough rest at home. Aim for 8-9 hours of sleep per night and take short naps during your breaks if possible. Dehydration can exacerbate fatigue, so be sure to drink plenty of water throughout the day to stay hydrated.
On an evening have a relaxed bath with a candle and use the Myrtle & Maude Therapeutic Bath soaks to help calm the mind & body. The soaks are formulated with plant based Rose Geranium Oil which is a powerhouse in aiding relaxation, comfort and reassurance and appropriately known as 'Mothering Oil' for its properties to bring harmony to your mood and emotions.
6. Seeking support discreetly
Working while pregnant is a challenge in itself, never mind adding morning sickness into the mix! Because of this, finding support that you can rely on at work that is open, honest and helpful is a critical step.
We all feel the pressure at work from time to time, whether it be from looming deadlines or new initiatives. Whatever difficulties or stresses you face at work, finding a person to confide in and vent to can be invaluable. An office ally is someone who is on your side and will offer friendly, meaningful advice to you. If your pregnancy symptoms at work are becoming more unmanageable, consider identifying a colleague you can talk to about your morning sickness in confidence. It may be best to consider someone who you already have a close relationship with, and if they have experienced pregnancy themselves, that’s a bonus!
HR are there to help, advise and make accommodations to your daily working practice when needed. If you find that your morning sickness is interfering with your working day, it may be time to open communication channels with your HR department to explain your circumstances. Ensure that you are honest and thorough and go to meetings armed with some ideas of accommodations in mind that would make you feel more comfortable. For example, could you make a request for more flexible working hours, or is working from home an option in your company?
7. If necessary take sick leave
If you have a pregnancy-related medical condition that makes it more difficult for you to do your job. You are entitled to protection from your employer in this situation, you should not be penalised by taking sick leave
8. Preparing a contingency plan
If your pregnancy symptoms at work, including morning sickness, are becoming too difficult to hide, you may need to consider a contingency plan. If you feel comfortable, it may be the right time to reveal your pregnancy to your colleagues. You should inform your manager first, and if you don’t feel comfortable making an announcement publicly, you could ask someone to do this on your behalf.
If you are looking for a powerhouse to combat nausea in the workplace...our handy bestseller which is ultra discreet; Myrtle & Maude's Vitamin B6 Peppermint Oil Bon Bons are fast acting and great to have in your handbag ready for when the queasiness takes over.
Your pregnancy is a time in your life you will cherish in years to come, but that’s not to say that the challenges you experience during those nine months won’t test you and possibly push you to your limits. Self-care and achieving that all-important balance will help you flourish and feel connected to yourself and also those around you.
.....You got this Mumma-To-Be!