Are you nervous about going into labor at work? Not knowing the moment when labor is going to start is nerve-wracking! If you work full time or even part time, you spend a lot of time at work. If you are pregnant, that means there is a chance you could start labor at work. Prepare yourself and have a plan for if you go into labor at work.
Prepare In Advance For Going Into Labor at Work
Prepare ahead if you happen to go into labor at work. Here are some items to think about and get ready.
- Have a contraction tracker ready at work.
- Prepare all your paperwork in advance and have anything you need with you or a simple list of what you need to do once baby is born as you may forget (adding on insurance, proof of disability, etc). Do not wait until you are actually in labor to do these things.
- Plan your routes. Know the fastest and best route to the hospital from work and to your house. Know how long it takes to get to each place. (This may affect what you do if you go into labor).
- Have your hospital bag packed and ready. Depending on where you live and work, you may keep it in your car.
- Plan for your absence. No matter how long your maternity leave will be, there is a large gap of time you will not be there. Prepare your place of employment and yourself to be gone.
- Prepare your replacement or those that will do your work while on maternity leave in advance.
- Prepare your space/office for being gone on maternity leave.
How to Tell You Are In Labor
How to tell if you are in labor can be tricky as it comes on differently and feels different for each woman. When most women go into labor they say at the beginning that they “did not feel right”. If you are at work, and feel “off”, drink some water, listen to your body, and get prepared that you may be in labor. For most women, labor comes on slowly and can last a long time.
Another sign you are going into labor is if you feel like you have menstrual cramps or a lower stomach ache. This pain or discomfort is actually the start to labor.
Then there are the easier labor signs like if your water breaks, or if you lose your mucus plug.
Who to Tell When You Go Into Labor at Work
First, tell your supervisor as soon as you think you may be in labor. Keep them posted while you are still at work and then when you are leaving.
Second, tell your closest work friend or labor buddy. A month or two before you are due, get a labor buddy at work. This is someone who could drive you home or to the hospital if needed. It is a person who can check on you periodically if you are in labor and help you make decisions, or contact a parter if you cannot think clearly. Also, this person can tie up loose ends or tidy up your work space if you need to leave suddenly.
Third, contact your human resources department if you are leaving work due to labor.
Also, if you can, cancel any meetings, presentations, etc, you had scheduled for the rest of the day. Let anyone know that you are leaving if it would affect their day with you not there.
What to Do When You Go Into Labor at Work
If you think you are going into labor at work, first start timing your contractions. Then, tell your supervisor and your labor buddy that you think you are in labor. Depending on your line of work and how far apart the contractions are it may differ what you do next. If the contractions are far apart and you are able to concentrate then you may be able to stay at work for awhile or finish the day. However, if they are getting closer quickly or you live far or the hospital is far away then it is best to leave work.
Do what is best and most comfortable for you when you go into labor at work. In fact, this is not the time to be a hero and overstay at work. If you do not feel comfortable driving, have your labor buddy drive you home or to the hospital, or call your partner or a loved one to come pick you up. The last thing you want to do is be stuck in traffic driving while in labor or get in an accident because you were focusing on your labor. For more on how to know you are in labor click HERE.
How to Make Labor Easier
For most women labor is super uncomfortable and can be very painful. Labor tends to get more painful as time goes on. While you are in labor have a variety of positions that you can be in and do what is most comfortable for you. For some standing and moving around is more comfortable than sitting or laying down.
Try to take your mind off the labor and the pain you are experiencing. Find ways to pass the time while you are in labor as it can feel like time moves very slow. For ideas on ways to pass time during labor click here.
Another way to take your mind off labor is to quickly and safely do those final preparations before you leave for the hospital. Have your partner help do them too as some of them might be difficult for you to do in labor. Check out this list of things to do before leaving for the hospital.
Final Thoughts on Going Into Labor at Work
Unfortunately, you can’t predict when labor will start, so being prepared for it to start anywhere, anytime is best. With how much time you spend at work, there is a chance labor will start there. Plan ahead and follow these tips for if you happen to go into labor at work.