Surviving the emotional symptoms of pregnancy at work

We are often so consumed with the physical symptoms (predominantly exhaustion and sickness) you have to cope with during pregnancy at work, we rarely think about the emotional symptoms of pregnancy at work.

Everyone experiences these symptoms differently, but many find that their feelings change across the 3 different stages of pregnancy.  In particular, mood swings can crop up at any time, although they are said to be the strongest during the first 6 months.  It’s also important to remember that the moodiness which is very commonly experienced is driven by hormonal changes, so much of it is out of our control.  

Emotional Symptoms of Pregnancy at Work – by Trimester 

Here are some of the most common emotional symptoms of pregnancy at work and what you might be feeling at different points during your pregnancy. 


  • Mood swings and volatility:  Shock, fear, joy, elation
  • Frustration of having a ‘secret’ you desperately want to share; coping with the ‘announcement’
  • Worry that your baby is healthy


  • Occasional mood swings
  • Introversion, forgetfulness and difficulty concentrating
  • Impatience with the continuous attention of others


  • More excitement and increased daydreaming about your new life
  • Increased apprehension about the labour and becoming a mother
  • Worry about leaving work and the impending life change

How to offer support at work?

Coping with these feelings at work can be tough.  However, knowing what to expect, and knowing that it’s very normal to experience these feelings can help.  From a HR or Manager’s perspective, it is also helpful to understand that your pregnant employee may well be struggling to keep these emotions under control at work, and therefore more understanding and recognition is needed during this time.  It is highly likely that a pregnant employee’s work will suffer at some stage during their pregnancy, so more time for rest will be needed.

Consider posting this blog on your intranet under your maternity or managers’ toolkit pages.  These articles provide further reading and support, which would be helpful to share:

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