Image: scotbot/Creative CommonsIf you are a working woman, as soon as you process the fact that you are pregnant, you will start thinking about the logistics of it all in terms of how you will tell your boss, when you'll leave work, and how long you'll be out for maternity leave. Many women think they'll need a bit of time off before they leave work, but unless you are incredibly uncomfortable or actually can't perform your job while pregnant, there are some down sides to taking any time off before the baby is born.
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It may surprise you, but if you have a smooth pregnancy, there's a good chance you'll be feeling pretty good, albeit also big, through your entire pregnancy. If you work at a desk and not standing on your feet all day, you should be able to perform your normal work tasks without too much trouble. And if you are at home not working, while you will get some extra time to rest, there's a good chance that you'll spend a lot of time pacing around anxiously awaiting the arrival of the baby.
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When I was pregnant with my first baby, my feet would swell up by mid to late afternoon making it difficult to drive so I arranged to leave work by 3 pm everyday so that I could safely get home. With my second baby, I was working about 30 minutes away from the hospital and because I had had such a quick delivery with my son, I worked out of our second location, closer to home. If you don't feel that you can work full time or are concerned about getting to the hospital, consider asking your boss if you can put in some hours from home.
There are a few reasons why working up until your due date (or until you go into a labor) are a good idea if you can. First, it will keep you busy. That last month of pregnancy is really a waiting game, and considering you may be as many as two weeks late, it can become all-consuming if you don't have something to keep your mind off it because there are only so many times you can fold the baby clothes and vacuum the couch. Second, being home for as long as possible after the baby arrives is likely to prove much more valuable to you than being home beforehand.
With both of my pregnancies I worked at least a modified schedule up until the day before my babies were born. I certainly am not superwoman for doing so, but I can say that keeping busy made the time go by much faster, and I would highly recommend it.
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