Pregnancy and Job Balance

Updated on May 29, 2010
C.W. asks from Phoenix, AZ
6 answers

I am 8 or 9 weeks pregnant, so not ready to tell people in general. I work in a very small bar that by definition, would not be covered under the no pregnancy discrimination law and have worked there for over 3 years. No one with my job has been pregnant while I have been here. I am a waitress and pulling a breakless 14 hour shift is expected at times, I have considered it and I can not get my lifting below 60 pounds and still be considered to be doing my job, in addition it is an incredibly loud environment where I am often pushed and jabbed (at least until I show I don't know how to address this either). All that being said, I can not quit my job in this economy. Even if I managed to find a different job it would be at a steep pay cut I can not afford with a baby on the way. Most of the questions along these lines I have seen offer advice where switching duties, scheduling etc. are possiblities. I don't even see how I can take more than 2 weeks off after having my baby and still expect to have a job. Does anyone have any ideas for me? Is there a way to protect my babies hearing? There are only 6 people in my workplace who do my job so there is no hiding it. The only other jobs in my workplace are cook and bartender. I am not qualified, nor can I afford to be a cook. Bartender would be a promotion that would give me the physical protection of putting the bar between me and the crowd but none of the bartenders working here are giving up any hours. Also, I can not switch jobs anytime soon as I trying to buy a house. Overall, I need some ideas about how to make situation safe.

What can I do next?

  • Add yourAnswer own comment
  • Ask your own question Add Question
  • Join the Mamapedia community Mamapedia
  • as inappropriate
  • this with your friends

So What Happened?

Tonight I figured out a way to get my lifting down, it just requires I do more work in smaller chunks! Thank you for the responses so far. Yes, my employer has less than 15 employees which is why the usual labor laws do not apply. There is no way they can run short a person for 6 weeks. I will talk to my midwife about the sound issue. Maybe there is a pad/apron sort of something to wear as a protective barrier. I agree that the pushing and jabbing will be reduced after I start showing I am concerned about what I can do before that time. Has anyone worked in a crowd while pregnant? These are not the sort of people who move or make a path with a simple 'excuse me'.

Just to clarify, I work in a 'right to work' state. Which effectively means the opposite. The only reasons you can not be fired are discrimination and then only if you are in one of the traditional protected classes. If your employer wants only blue haired employees he can clean house with no notice, even if he doesn't ask you to dye your hair first. A couple of years ago there were so many jobs employees didn't really mind, you just got a different job, employers tried to make their employees happy. Now the tables are turned and employers will push you to your limit in an effort to make you quit so they don't have to pay you benefits and can find someone more malleable to do your job hopefully for less.

Thank you again for all your responses! I would put my housing search on hold except that I am already qualified and approved for the loan and where I am living now would not bean appropriate place to stat a family. I am just going to keep on trucking, thanks to mamapedia I am feeling better about my ability to handle whatever comes along:)

More Answers


answers from Phoenix on

Every company that pays federal taxes is upheld to the FEDERAL law for FMLA (familymedical leave act) if you have worked at you job for 1 year (or more in your case.. 3 years!) You qualify for 12 weeks of unpaid leave and they MUST offer you your job back or anything compareable with the same EXACT pay you had. Contact the state labor board in the state your in. look on-line. Federal FMLA is for every company. male or female employees can take up to 12 weeks off due to the birth, adoption or other issues regarding family care. look under the federal government websites for the full discription of FMLA. They will also get you more info on how to deal with the labor vs. maternity/pregnancy issues you are facing now. Do not let your employer intimidate you. be strong!!!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Sacramento on

First of all, working a 14 hour breakless job is against all labour laws I am aware of.

Why would your job not be covered under the pregnancy discrimination law?

Have you considered going to EED to speak to a reapresentative there? They might be able to point you to some resources.

Lifting 60 pounds pregnant is not just risky for the baby, but for you as well. It simply is not safe.

Is there office work that you could do as a temporary placement?

A friend of mine worked in a warehouse pulling stock. During her pregnancy and shortly after the birth of her child, she worked in the office for awhile. After recovery, she went back to the warehouse.

I do not know how helpful this is, but keep up the research on your rights and resources, and please be safe. Know those rights, and then talk to your boss. If he fires you, at least you have unemployment benefits while you look for a new job.


If your employer has less than 15 people in his employ, I can see why the pregnancy discrimination act msy not fully apply. I was unaware of this.

Check out this site, you may be able to find something helpful:

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Redding on

I think that you should talk to your employer and let him know that you are pregnant. You won't be able to hide it for long, nor should you.
Hopefully, he will value you as an employee to the extent that he will at least have someone else help out with the lifting and be willing to give you some breaks for the bathroom and all the other things that pregnant ladies require.
You've been there a long time, perhaps there is a way to work things out.
As far as your babies hearing, I don't think it would be damaged by being in loud places. I'm no expert, but I worked for a radio station when I was pregnant. There was always mucic playing and I often attended different dances, fashion shows, and DJ events our station put on in the community. My daughter has perfect hearing.
Your tummy is a pretty good buffer for that.
I'm no pro when it comes to bar crowds, but it seems people would be gentle with bumping into you once you begin to show.
If you quit your job, you won't get any unemployment. If you get fired, you will but how much will depend on your qualifying period, etc.
If your doctor feels it's not a safe environment, he may be able to help you out with disability, but again, you will lose quite a bit of your income and it would have to be documented that there are complications with your pregnancy due to your job, which so far doesn't seem to be the case.
I really would talk to your boss about how to be able to keep your job through your pregnancy as long as possible.
Usually women are given 6 weeks after birth to recover and return to work.
I would talk to the labor board in your state and know your rights, then talk to your boss.
Congrats on the pregnancy.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Flagstaff on

It would be best if you were able to quit. Did you mean you've already gotten a mortgage or you're looking to buy? If you're just looking, maybe reconsider.

I had the thought - what if you created a fake belly bump until you show? That way you'd get more consideration now.



answers from Phoenix on

I can see how you feel trapped. If I were you, I'd put the house-buying plans on hold for a while. You need to find a sustainable work-home balance. Even if you manage to work 14-hour shifts while pregnant without feeling dead on your feet, your job may not be so attractive after the baby is born. You'll be tired and will want to spend time with your new baby. Plus, when you factor in the cost of childcare and formula (it doesn't sound like this job will let you pump at work), you may find that you're not earning as much as you think in the current job. Now (before you're visibly pregnant) is the time to find a job that will be healthier for you during pregnancy, and workable after the baby comes. Good luck!


answers from Milwaukee on

Does your OB/GYN or midwife have a concern about your job, they would be the first to talk to about what to do and not do... if they are GOOD doctors they can answer about the sound, bumping and such.

I understand you are not telling everyone at your work but telling the boss might be a good idea because you have been there 3 years and if he/she is a good person they will do what they can to help out... do you get breaks during pulling 14 hours shifts? If not that is against the law in most states... also if you keep pulling those type of shifts you are going to start to run yourself down because of the work of doing a long job AND growing a baby inside of you. I did pull 12 hour shifts with breaks ever 4 hours twice a month through out my whole pregnancy and it sucked, my last month I told them I could not do it any more (ready to walk if they did not budge) and they were understanding and gave me a "desk job" even though there really was no such thing (I am a house manager/event supervisor but I work right along side with all the other staff to get the job done well and quickly).

Personally I would be looking for a new job, even with pay cut because my safety and baby's during pregnancy comes first over a job. I know you are trying to buy a house but really adding more stress during pregnancy is only putting yourself and baby at risk on top of a busy/stressful job.

The only way you are going to figure something out is talking to your doctor(s) and boss.

For Updates and Special Promotions
Follow Us

Related Questions