If you’re one of the lucky ones who doesn’t suffer from morning sickness, then hiding your bump at work might not be too hard for you beyond a few floaty tops and extra trips to the toilet.
However, if you’re one of the unlucky ones who gets struck down with morning sickness (which yep, as we know doesn’t just strike in the morning!) then it can be stressful to keep your boss and colleagues from finding out before you’re ready to share the news.
Trying not to draw attention to your early bump is a challenge but don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.
Below are a few tried-and-tested tips to help keep your baby news under wraps in the office.
How to hide morning sickness at work:
1. Keep emergency snacks in your desk
Yep! Whatever it may be for you (dry crackers, muesli bars, fruit, nuts or salt and vinegar chips), keep a sneaky stash of whatever it is that makes you feel less queasy and when you feel it coming on – get munching. Often in the early weeks, the nausea kicks in because you are hungry and then by the time it hits, you can’t stomach anything – so keep eating little bits but often – and maybe keep it discreet so no one else raids them or catches on to your sudden increase in snacking!
2. Pretend you’re on a detox
Don’t want to go out for a fancy work lunch or just can’t stomach your regular lunch at your desk? Don’t feel guilty. Tell your colleagues you’re on a detox or cleanse and tell them that ginger beer you’re drinking to keep the nausea at bay is actually some fancy juice cleanse – just make sure you pour it out of the bottle!
The detox excuse can also be a good one to disguise how many times you’re rushing to the bathroom because all that water and juice makes you need to pee – A LOT!
3. Speaking of lunches…
Don’t feel bad about ditching your healthy homemade lunches if you just can’t stomach them anymore, if you need a sneaky trip to the local burger joint or a cheese toastie let yourself indulge a little (but maybe not if you’ve used the aforementioned detox excuse!)
Anything that will help you feel better and get you through the afternoon!
4. Avoid the office kitchen around mealtimes
It’s the perfect time to get out and get some fresh air as often the smell of other people’s lunches might have you running for the bathroom quicker than you can say tuna and broccoli. Those first few weeks of pregnancy can hit harder than most. Feeling nauseous is just one of the joys…
5. Avoid work drinks and social gatherings that involve booze
Again tell them your cleanse won’t allow it – or depending on what time of the year you could be doing Feb Fast or Dry July. If it’s during the Christmas/New Year period or it’s an event you can’t skip altogether, you can always just stick to mocktails or dry ginger ale or soda water in a short glass that will look like a mixed drink.
Or you could always offer to be the designated driver but then you might be lumped with staying until the end and dropping people home…
6. Keep a toothbrush/breath fresheners handy
Yep.. because if you do get to the point where you are being sick in the bathroom, you don’t want to then breathe vomit breath all over your colleagues or even worse – your boss. When the pregnancy symptoms strike, they take no prisoners. Keep things quiet (and fresh) by keeping yourself prepared!
7. Need an excuse for all those doctors appointments?
Well you can just say doctors appointment and not have to explain, but if you’d rather avoid the suspicion altogether a good alternative is the dentist – and then subsequent appointments are for fillings/crowns/extractions etc.
Everyone hates the dentist, so no one is likely to question you on it, rather just feel sorry for you! The exciting news can wait a few more weeks…
8. Try to get as much R&R you can when you’re not in the office
You’re probably going to feel more tired than you ever have before and while a nap under your desk might seem like a good idea at the time, it probably doesn’t send the best impression.
Try and make sure you’re getting to bed early at night and resting up on weekends so you have the energy to keep up appearances at the office.
9. Stop logging that overtime!
Easier said than done in some jobs we know, but try and dial it back where possible. Say you’ve got a relative in from out of town or you’ve joined a book club and need to leave on time. Early pregnancy can be hard, so don’t be afraid to keep that baby bump rested.
10. Update your work wardrobe
Depending on your working environment a few simple changes like some loose tops and floaty dresses can help disguise a little thickening around the midsection – and can also help hide if you have to pop the top button on your pants!
Also, avoid clothes that are going to become uncomfortable as the day goes on. Listen to your body and ditch the belts, tight pants and form-fitting pencil skirts where you can – comfort is key! Also, try and avoid touching your stomach (we can tend to do without even realising) this can be a dead giveaway…
Now we totally get it. Hiding your pregnant belly can be difficult but just remember, the right clothes are your best friend. Don’t worry though, you can keep your growing bump a secret and avoid more attention with some minor updates to your wardrobe.
11. If you’re really struggling, consider telling your boss…
…Or at least your work-wife or a trustworthy confidant. Sometimes the stress of trying to hide it can be worse than the sickness itself and end up doing more harm than good.
So obviously depending on your workplace and situation, telling work before the 12-week mark might end up making more sense. They legally can’t discriminate against you and you might just find they’re super supportive and can help you manage it easier.