View Full Version : Morning Sickness and Job

Cat Scratch
09-20-2006, 11:27 PM

I'm writing an article about morning sickness and how it affects the job. Any pregnant women/mothers who dealt with fairly awful morning sickness? Did it affect your work life? Did you find creative ways to cope (aside from basic crackers and water)? Were your managers understanding? Any unsympathetic bosses? Any and all related stories please post them here or PM me.


Variant Frequencies
09-21-2006, 05:15 PM
Morning sickness is just one of those things we're expected to deal with, unless it gets so bad you can't keep anything down and you get dehydrated and quite ill. (Then it's called hyperemesis gravidarum.) I remember one morning coming to work, making it to the restroom just in time to throw up, and then working my shift. My manager and co-workers (mostly women) were sympathetic, and didn't complain if I took short nap breaks.

Many of us find things that help. Some like those wrist bands, though I never found that they made a difference. Peppermint tea helped a lot with my first pregnancy, but the thought of it made me queasy with the second! Jolly Rancher candies helped then, so I always kept some with me.

09-21-2006, 05:41 PM
Morning sickness affected my job quite badly! I was working as a legal secretary when I became pregnant. On my way to work, I had to walk past 2 butchers, which meant I usually had to run into the public toilets to throw up and consequently was late quite a bit. My boss however (staid and toff lawyer) was slightly afraid of me, and didn't give me too hard a time incase I went into depth detail on how sick I was, or any other terrifying and embarrassing (to him) pregnancy symptoms. I went right off coffee aswell, and I worked in a big office with 2 other people, and they drank coffee alot. Most of the time the smell would make me run to the bathrooms to be sick. My desk drawers were full of lemons and limes to help ward off the sickness, although I admit to sometimes not making it to the bathroom and being sick in the waste paper bin instead. (nice!)
There was one old grouchy female lawyer in the firm who used to give me a hell of a hard time. She'd ask me to carry a load of heavy files to the strong room, and when I refused on the grounds of my pregnancy, she would ***** and moan about me to who ever would listen. She made me feel quite guilty for being pregnant! She apparently told a good friend of mine (who was another laywer at the firm) that I was giving the firm a bad name because she said I looked like a slutty 13 year old who never heard of an abortion clinic! (I was 21 by the way). She was actually diciplined for that.

Cat Scratch
09-22-2006, 03:40 AM
Thanks for the stories, please keep them coming! I had a friend whose nausea was so bad she had to be on a permanent IV! Lucky for her she didn't work, so there was no job affected, but that sounds just awful.

I'm wondering if anyone has had unsympathetic female bosses, whose own pregnancies were quite easy and who feel their employees are exaggerating (much like the female lawyer in the above story)?

09-22-2006, 04:02 AM
God bless working from home. :D

Major sympathies to anyone who does not work from home.

Soccer Mom
09-22-2006, 06:45 AM
Most of my bosses were a little afraid of me. They thought they would catch the pregancy cooties or something. I was not a nice pregnant woman. I'm embarassed to say I was a little nutty and the menfolk (older, white, male lawyers interestingly enough) were all scared of me.

Cat Scratch
09-23-2006, 04:29 AM
Does anyone work around food, and if so, was that virtually impossible?

09-23-2006, 04:33 AM
My first pregnancy, I worked with special needs kids who required special diets --pureed stuff, and we had to assist with feeding them, I was good except on hot dog day. That was truely awful. Fortunately, my aides were sympathetic and took over while I ran to the bathroom. I could not eat hot dogs for years afterwards.

Staying home and being pregnant and morning sick means you have to be very creative about cooking. You don't want to eat. You don't want to cook. Pre prepared meals became the norm a few of the times, and my husband became the chef for a time.

09-24-2006, 08:31 AM
I had very mild morning sickness both pregnancies. But I also had a wonderful boss who was also a friend of mine. Water and dry biscuits is good for mild morning sickness. I do know of one person who threw up almost every day of her pregnancy. She worked in a newsagency and often had to run away from customers to go and be sick! I don't know what her bosses were like though.

09-24-2006, 09:03 AM
The only thing that allowed me to survive working (or survive in general) while pregnant was Jelly Belly licorice jelly beans. Go figure. I couldn't stand them before and can't stand them after.

09-24-2006, 09:27 AM
I threw up every day of my pregnancy. I drive about 30 minutes each way to work every day, and I think I christened all of the parking lots. My associate editor, who is a female, was great, even though she said she didn't know what I was going through since she wasn't sick during her pregnancy. She would let me leave as soon as I got my section finished on deadline days and early on the others. I did have a few male co-workers who weren't very sympathetic to the situation and complained but my associate editor let them have it.

09-25-2006, 02:08 AM
I know this doesn't officially count, but I was so unbelievably sick the first 2 months of starting the Birth Control pill. :( I worked at Dunkin' Donuts/Baskin Robbins and was mostly okay, except when it came to the ice cream. I would gag if ice cream melted on my hand, and I had to run to the bathroom a few times after ice cream with food coloring melted on my hands while I was cleaning (I've almost always been extremely freaked out by food coloring).

Of course, I also gained 20 pounds around that time, mostly due to the fact that I was craving sour creme donuts and French crullers far more than I was throwing up because of the ice cream. It was miserable... but I'm sure nowhere near as frustrating as being pregnant. ;)

Cat Scratch
09-26-2006, 01:42 AM
Thanks again for the stories. I'm glad to hear that most women have experienced understanding managers during their pregnancies (yay!). My boss has been very patient as well--she's letting me come in late each day so I'm sleeping through the bad parts. I can't imagine what it'd be like if I still waited tables at my last job. The managers were all-male and completely unreasonable. Any time someone called in sick they acted like we were faking, and they were completely unwilling to work with schedule problems. That, combined with being around food all day, would have been horrible. Luckily, I don't work there any more!

09-26-2006, 02:07 AM
I threw up every day for 9 months. First at home when I brushed my teeth. My little Yorkie would sit there looking so sad for me ...

I had a 20 minute drive to work, so when I felt real safe that the first wave was over, I would get in the car and drive like mad.

I worked in a brand new office building. I had my own cubicle with high walls. Smoking was still allowed then and between the smoke and the perfume, the second wave hit me about 10 minutes after I got to work.

Fortunately, we had this lower level that was an employee dining room. Around the corner, I discovered a very tiny ladies room that was seldom used. It became my early morning hide away. I would spend 15 or so minutes in there every single morning. It was nice and clean and I really hated the thought of barfing where everyone else was or the smells of a much used bathroom. It was peaceful.

Usually, after that I could get through most of the day. If I had to go back, I did.

My boss wasnt too excited about it, but it was an office of the 4th largest bank in the world (at the time) and we had an employee complaint system called Intercom. They werent allowed to harass preggos and several did complain. Being outspoken myself, my boss was scared sh!t I would too.

One day, I got outside to go to work and discovered anti freeze under my car. I panicked. I called in and said I couldnt chance driving to work and getting stuck. That night, my husband told me he spilled it there. When I went to work the next day, my boss wanted to dock me because I hadnt "requested" a personal day even though I had some available. All I did was ask for an Intercom form and she shut up.

One funny story was one night I was rushing home. I was really nauseous. As I got off the parkway, there was a stopsign right there. I was like 6 blocks from home. A cop pulled me over. I looked at him and said, "Officer I am pregnant and if you dont let me go right now, I will throw up all over your shoes!" He chewed me out about not being more careful about driving while carrying a precious load and then let me go. I barely made it.

I found odors the worst trigger -- especially perfume. I worked with older women who lathered it on. I kept asking them not to, but they kept doing it. Therefore they had to deal with my little trips downstairs ...

BTW - the baby is now a big strapping 20 year old who still makes me nauseous now and then ... Later on I became an architect specializing in office design. Remembering being pregnant helped me a lot when designing office cubicle spaces.


Becky Writes
09-26-2006, 03:54 AM
When I was pregnant with my first I had very bad morning sickness for the first 20 weeks or so of my pregnancy, and I worked in the kitchen of a nursing home. My bosses were very understanding and made sure I was always working with a buddy so that if I had to run to the bathroom, I was covered.

09-26-2006, 08:51 AM
I also have a funny story about my pregnancy sickness. We were going out to eat with some friend's of ours to Red Lobster. I was feeling fine until about half way there. As we are walking in, my husband sees a truck that he says is very ugly. He tells me if I'm going to puke to do it on that truck. Anyway, we go in, order, and halfway through the meal, I can't take it anymore. I go to the restroom and stay there for a while. When I come back out, everyone is ready to leave. We are walking out, and it hits me again. I throw up right at the tires of the "ugly truck."

Jenan Mac
09-27-2006, 03:21 AM
My first pregnancy, during which I threw up almost constantly for four months, I worked in surgical ICU. There's nothing quite like the smell of a GI bleed to make you want to lose it entirely. I had a coworker who used to tell me it was all in my mind, that his wife had just had a baby and she never threw up, she just glowed the whole time. I wanted to puke on him. In fact, I still kinda regret not taking the opportunity to do so.

09-29-2006, 05:45 AM
Does anyone work around food, and if so, was that virtually impossible?

I think it depends on the individual and the pregnancy. A friend of mine was a cocktail waitress at Tavern on the Green in NYC. She had to quit her job while she was pregnant because the food smells throughout the restaurant nauseasted her so.

I didn't have any problems with smells triggering vomitting, but motion did. I could tell was pregnant going around an entrance ramp onto a superhighway. Normally, I have no problem with motion sickness. When pregnant, even before I knew I was pregnant, I'd feel ill.

09-29-2006, 06:02 PM
So far I have only thrown up on the days I've been working from home. Lucky huh.

Usually I throw up when my stomach is empty, and when I am going to work I eat early an early breakfast - perhaps this prevents me throwing up on work days? Or not - it's all pretty tricky stuff.

"Sick every day of the entire pregnancy," that sounds like hell. Poor you.

Cat Scratch
09-30-2006, 02:36 AM
I should clarify that I'm looking for stories to use for the article, not advice. I'm just interested in stories for women who have had problems for my regular column on workplace culture. Thanks!

09-30-2006, 03:11 AM
I never threw up and I just despise doing so, but if it would have made the nausea go away I would have done it. Smells were the absolute worst for me. I swear I could have taken a second job with the DEA - no need for dogs - I could have sniffed out contraband with one hand..er nostril (?) tied behind my back. I could smell what my neighbours across the street were having for dinner - that was with all my windows closed. I had the gas man come and inspect my meter - twice - because I could smell gas (his gas gadget registered nada but I know better!). Anyway I was lucky in that I worked with all women, in a small library, and the library desk was just steps away from the front street. I would scan the patrons and mentally gauge who would have the most likelihood of making me want to vomit, and then try to avoid helping them (older well dressed ladies were the worst - their perfume was sooo overwhelming) and if I couldn't avoid it, I would take in deep breaths before I got to them, and attempted to not breathe while they were there. I was scrood if they were the chatty types. Then I would say "excuse me for a moment" and make a dash for the front door, taking in huge gulps of fresh air. I have to say that between the older ladies and the street people I certainly got my exercise.

10-02-2006, 01:27 AM
I worked in a restaurant the entire time I was pregnant. The smells bothered me, but I never actually got sick. I, too, had the 'Super-Nose'. If you want more detail, let me know.

Cat Scratch
10-02-2006, 06:11 AM
Thanks for the stories, ladies. Still gathering info, I don't quite have an angle yet.

Did anyone have debilitating exhaustion affect their work life while pregnant?

10-02-2006, 06:43 AM
I had morning sickness at night the first time around and could go to bed and forget about it. The second time, I was sick for four months. Crackers made me sick. I had to keep hard candy to suck on to keep the nausea at bay. I worked in an office and I knew where every lidded trash can was located on the hall where I worked. Smells were awful, but heat was worse, and if I had to stand by the copier and make copies for any length of time (I'd never though about the heat from that before), the trash can was gonna get an addition from me before I left. I worked for Human Resources at a small company and had the key to the Manager's office. Whenever she was in a meeting, I would go in her office, lock the door, and nap with my face on her desk. I lucked out and she never came back early to find me drooling on personnel files. The only thing I got in trouble for was my office attire. I couldn't stand to wear anything even remotely snug around my middle (these were the 80's; hip-huggers were not an option), so I wore very loose clothing. During my performance review, my boss said my clothing was too casual. Guess what? She had to live with it for five more months.

Cat Scratch
10-03-2006, 04:04 AM
Wow, these stories sound like no fun at all. The things we have to do for motherhood, right from the start!

I have a follow-up question for all the mothers-to-be: considering that often people choose not to tell people they are pregnant until the second trimester (with the risk of miscarriage being what it is), did morning sickness force you to divulge the news sooner than you preferred? Or did you still keep it a secret, and co-workers wondered why on earth you were suddenly getting sick in the trash can?

10-15-2006, 06:50 AM
To validate one of the earlier quotes, I was diagnosed with hyperemesis. I absolutely had to tell my boss. I think I made it to 10 weeks before telling her. Every single morning I was either staring into the toilet at work for 30 minutes once I got to work or it was taking me forever to GET to work simply because the motion of the bus forced me to jump off every few stops to get fresh air.

Ultimately, I suffered through wearing a reglan-pump (like someone on chemo does - where you have a nurse practioner come to your house and then you are taught how to poke yourself with a needle and then you can self administer the anti-nausea medicine). When I overmedicated (with nurse approval) and passed out in the bathroom, my husband had to take me to the hospital for my first of two visits to get IV to treat my severe dehydration. The first hospital visit, I didn't miss work at all (middle of the night trip and I made up the time at work by staying later hours that week. The second stay, I think I stayed out of work 2 days. There were times when I ran meetings from home and had to put my co-workers on hold while I went to go barf. Fortunately, the dr put me on a different anti-nausea pill that was AMAZING and I easily survived not hurling past month 7.

My boss was/is a hard-a** who thought she wasn't a hard-a** and she was busy planning her wedding during my entire pregnancy (she got engaged around the time I told her). She was enough of a pain that even THROUGH my 9th month, when we worked one cubicle apart from each other, she still made me get my sorry self out of the chair to meet in her cube rather than take pity on me walking.

Now she's pregnant and freakishly HUGE and will deliver probably this coming week. And I've spent the last 7 months telling her how big she looks ;)