10 Steps to Surviving Pregnancy As A Teacher

Teaching is hard enough, but when pregnant it's even more challenging! Check out 10 ways for teacher moms-to-be can help their school day in the classroom go easier!

You're pregnant, congratulations! You may be in the midst of daydreaming of your new nursery, cute baby outfits, and your little bundle of joy. Somewhere in the middle of all this wonderfulness, life starts getting rough at school.

Teachers naturally push themselves to their limits. Whether it's standing all day, skipping lunch to put out fires, and setting world records for not peeing, a day in the life of a teacher is already stressful. Teachers truly are superheroes! However, when pregnant it's not-so-possible to give up your basic needs for your job.

Below I wrote down 10 tips that have been a lifesaver for me!

1. Sit down
I'm used to standing all day long in the classroom. Map out your day and think of all the times that you are normally standing. Where can you minimize the standing time?

For example, I would walk around if kids were independently working during social studies or science to answer questions or give support. During assessments, kids would raise their hand if they needed help. Take all the sitting time that you can. Instead of roaming the room during assessments, sit at your desk. Tell kids that instead of raising their hand with a question, to walk to you.

During recess at our school, teachers are told that we have to stand. I sit. I am doing just as good of a job as if I am standing. There are exceptions to every rule, and you most certainly are an exception right now. Don't push yourself too hard for silly rules. Same thing with our once-a-week lunch duty. I sit down with a group of kids at a table as a mini-lunch bunch. I get up if someone in the cafeteria raises their hand, but for the most part the kids are quite independent and doing just fine!

2. Learn to say no
I have developed an overly ballsy personality when pregnant. I have gained a newfound ability to say "no" to ANYTHING and not feel guilty. At all. Now, I don't think this is actually a symptom of pregnancy. But I have found that it definitely alleviates the usual awkwardness of saying no to being in charge.

It can be so easy as a teacher to feel like you have to take on everything and can't say no, or that people will be upset. No one will be upset! You need to take time for you, this is not the time to lead 20 after school activities, team lead, and student council.

I have been team lead for four years. Frankly, I don't want to attend morning Wednesday meetings before school that are the exact same time as my prenatal workout class. I went to my principal, explained that it is time for someone else to take over, and told her that I am resigning as team lead. Administration wasn't upset, they completely understood. Take care of yourself, staying hours after school is not going to be good for you when you're getting tired and pooped all day long!

3. Ask the kids for help
Don't try to lift something heavy. Don't constantly get up to pick up small scraps around the floor. Don't walk papers down to the office or to another teacher during your specials. You have an entire room of helpers who WANT to help you! Kids love running errands, and this is the time to take full advantage of that. If you're super worried about one of your little angels missing class time, pick a student that is overly energetic to walk something to another classroom to get their exercise break. Or pick an early finisher. Yes, you're the adult, but this is the time in your life when it is okay to ask for help - even from those younger friends!

4. Drink water
Water is absolutely vital when pregnant. It helps with cramping, round ligament pain, and is good for the baby. Find a way to force yourself to do it. Water = happy baby.

This one is tough. I really don't know how people are able to drink 8 glasses a day, it boggles my mind and I am insanely jealous. Drinking vast amounts of water is definitely not a skill that comes naturally to me. Perhaps you are one of the superheroes in the world who can drink water nonstop - congratulations! If you are unfortunately not a water superhero like me, read on.

Here's what I do:
a. Bring a large water bottle to school.
b. Hold it at all times.
c. Chug whenever you're not talking.
d. Refill and repeat

5. If you need to eat - EAT
Make sure to keep a snack stash somewhere in your classroom. There is nothing worse than being hungry - or hangry - and having no food. There were a few times that I had nothing to eat, so I sent down students to the lunchroom to grab me a school hot dog. Probably not healthy, and this could have been avoided if I simply had kept my snack stash full. Go to Costco and grab a few boxes of granola bars to keep on hand for when the moment hits. Your stomach (and students afraid of hanger) will thank you!

6. Comfortable shoes
I'm the teacher who shows up to school in heels. I know, it's weird. However, heels are no longer an option if you're pregnant. There's simply too much of a risk of falling with our newfound lack of balance (isn't it the best?!). Comfortable shoes are a must. Even my Nordstrom flats started getting uncomfortable around second trimester. Dr. Scholls and Sketchers were wonderful as my feet began swelling. Cute? Well, they could be worse :-)

7. If you need to go pee- go pee.
The amount of times that I need to pee is crazy. Then I go to the bathroom, and I barely even pee! It simply depends on what the baby is doing and what she is pressing against. We are unfortunately not all able to have an IA or second person in the room at all times, so here are some peeing ideas that I've often done and heard from coworkers work well:
- take advantage of the exact moment the speech/sped teacher walks in the room
- prop your door open and have your teammate watch your class or stand between her room and yours
- call the office and tell them they have five minutes to get to your room before you pee your pants (....guilty of this one)
- line the kids up and walk them with a book to the nearest women's restroom. As they are sitting in the hallway, go to the bathroom (you can also walk them to the office to be watched)

8. Ask for your longterm sub to shadow you
Thinking about your longterm sub for maternity leave is stressful. It's stressful to think you're being replaced. It's stressful to think that the substitute doesn't know your students and their individual needs. It's stressful that parents may not be happy with the substitute picked. Most of all, it's stressful to think that every routine, procedure, and ounce of hard work that you put into your classroom may disappear. But you know? Push the worries aside. At the end of the day, kids are resilient. They will roll with changes and be flexible.

Of course, write down every procedure and routine for your substitute. But ask your principal if the longterm sub can shadow you for a week. They will see your students, automatically notice behaviors and how you respond to them, see how you line up for lunch, notice how your math stations work. Most of all, they will feel more comfortable with your kids, and your kids will feel more comfortable with them.

9. Rest comes before school
This one is so hard for teachers. We are used to running around constantly, changing bulletin board, and staying up to put finishing touches on a lesson plan. But you know what? Your class will function just fine if their bulletin board does not become blue with snowflakes the day after Thanksgiving. They will still learn if their lesson for the day does not include interactive pieces that you personally cut out for them. I was EXHAUSTED during the first trimester, and the exhaustion crept back by 25 weeks. Every pregnancy is different, you may be the Energizer Bunny and feeling great! However, you may be so tired that you when you arrive home at 4:30 pm after school, you are ready to put on your jammies and crawl into bed. Don't feel guilty. Your students love you, and taking it easier than you are used to does NOT make you a bad teacher. You need to put the needs of your unborn child first.

10. Lean on your teammates for support
Hopefully you have a supportive team that can help you out. There have already been plenty of times that my team has been to the rescue for bathroom breaks, letting me sit during recess, and jumping in without hesitation to print off sub plans or cover my class if I need to leave half an hour early for a doctor's appointment.

 . Teaching is hard enough, but when pregnant it's even more challenging! Check out 10 ways for teacher moms-to-be can help their school day in the classroom go easier!

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