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Pregnant Pause: Should Expectant Moms Work Into the Third Trimester?

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While the changes in blood pressure related to working may seem small, they might prompt some women to reconsider whether to continue working into the third trimester -- that is, if they have the luxury of considering such an option.

Cindia Cameron, organizing director for group 9to5 National Association of Working Women, says employers can, by their actions, sometimes force a woman to choose between her health and a paycheck. While all employers with a certain number of employees are required to offer unpaid maternity leave, usually 12 weeks, there's nothing saying they can't start the clock early and require her to return immediately after delivery, she points out.

"The law is the basic minimum," she says. "Many employers do offer more. But after that 12th week, they can replace you."

Cameron suggests women be prepared to negotiate.

"There are many things women could propose: half-time work, working from home. Do a job share. Do light duty. And an employer might [go for it], but they don't have to," she says. Indeed, the light duty question is one that comes up often at 9to5, but as Cameron points out, no company has to offer light duty unless an employee has been injured on the job.

Before approaching your employer, Cameron suggests thinking about what leverage you have.

"You have to convince the employer to do the humane thing," she says. "Find out from their point of view why what you're asking for is a good idea."

And above all, talk with your doctor about whether or not you should continue working. He or she might consider you to be at risk for complications and may sign a note so that you can take breaks during the day, be assigned a different job temporarily, or take extra time off work.

 

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