Teaching is a challenging job as it is, but add being a pregnant teacher on top of it and you’ve got a perfect storm! It can be hard to teach and take care of 25+ kids’ needs when you aren’t feeling well nearly every day. I’m currently pregnant with my second child (I’ll be in the third trimester next week!) and while I am not currently in the classroom, it has brought back many memories of teaching while I was pregnant with my son during 2013-2014 school year. I found out I was pregnant with him on the second day of school, so I was pregnant for basically the entire school year!
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Some of the biggest challenges during my first pregnancy were the lack of bathroom breaks, the exhaustion, and my CRAZY emotions! Here’s me at about 8 months pregnant with my son during a lunch break at school. (This was my first pregnancy, so I made sure to take a bump picture every week. Second pregnancy- I didn’t do it LOL.)
What would have been valuable to me during this school year was having advice from a fellow pregnant teacher, someone who had recently been through what I was going through- teaching while pregnant.
I had many friends and family members who gave me pregnancy advice, but none of them were teachers, and teachers have their own set of struggles. And most of the teachers I knew who were moms had older kids, so it wasn’t fresh on their minds.
For that reason, I put this blog post together so those of you out there who are feeling like I were can have this as a resource. Here are some tips that I learned from my experience as a pregnant teacher, as well as tips from other teacher moms who have been there!
Always have a water bottle and snacks on hand!
Growing a baby makes you HUNGRY! Keep healthy snacks around that you can quickly eat while the students are working. Normally, I wouldn’t do this, but as a pregnant teacher, it was necessary. I just told my students that the baby was hungry! 😉 I also always had a water bottle on me (a BIG one like this) because it is important to stay hydrated to keep up with your energy and growing baby! (Just try to drink most of your water close to a bathroom break!)
Here’s what some other pregnant teacher moms did:
“One of the best things I did was bring three 32oz bottles of water each day so that I didn’t have to worry about not drinking enough or getting to the water fountain to fill one up. Also, trail mix was a great go-to snack, and easily customizable if I was in the mood for different flavors.” -Stephanie’s History Store
“Drink TONS of water even if you need to take frequent restroom breaks! It’s important to stay hydrated. It helps your skin and makes you feel great!” -The Little Ladybug Shop
“For snacks, I ate salted almonds by the truckload. I had morning sickness all day, and the salt really helped me push through. Everyone kept telling me to eat ginger, but that just made it worse for me! ” -Malimo Mode
Bathroom breaks- NOT a luxury, a necessity
Let’s be clear- bathroom breaks are NOT a luxury when you are a pregnant teacher. They are a MUST! Find a “buddy” to give you a couple of minutes to go to the bathroom when you need to and when you have recess duty.
I can honestly say one of my biggest challenges was not having enough bathroom breaks! It’s already hard enough to not get enough bathroom breaks as it is when you AREN’T pregnant, let alone when you feel like you need to run to the bathroom every 20 minutes!
Here’s what some other pregnant teacher moms had to say about this:
“Get a system in place for when you need to leave your room depending on where the bathroom is so that the closest teacher near you knows that they need to watch your kids while you run out of the room. Also, have a student that you can leave sort of in charge to grab that other teacher asap if needed or report back to you when you get back.” -Literacy Spark
“Bathroom breaks were a nightmare! I quickly realized that I just had to go whenever I had the chance, regardless if I needed it at the time. I also avoided ALL beverages at the beginning of the day.” -Malimo Mode
“Have a classroom across from the bathroom…I was lucky enough that way. Or unlucky because it was the student bathroom, but by 7 months in, I didn’t care” -Teresa Kwant
It is so important to dress comfortably because as teachers we are on our feet a lot, and that can be hard on a pregnant body. I found a pair of maternity slacks at Ross that were SUPER cheap (like 11 bucks!) and wore them all the time! I wore a black pair of comfy tennis shoes that looked nice but weren’t uncomfortable “work” shoes (similar to these ones here. I love my Sketchers!)
Here’s what some other pregnant teacher moms did:
“Dressing comfortably was mostly skirts that were loose around the belly – but also yoga pants! I started incorporating more outside time into my lessons so I could get more fresh air (helped with the sickness) and to justify wearing gym clothes all the time – ha!” -Malimo Mode
“You can find stylish cute maternity clothes at Target and Old Navy! I wore lots of black so I could mix match! “- The Little Ladybug Shop
“Invest in a comfy pair of nice flats that go with everything! You’re on your feet all day and every day your poor little feet are going to feel it more and more. I spent a week going to shoe stores after school trying on different pairs and I ended up spending more than I ever have before on a pair of black flats. It was so worth it! Especially because I even taught summer school that year!”-Elementary Antics
“Maxi skirts saved me. They were light, still dressy enough for work, and stretchy. By 6 months pregnant skinny jeans were a distant memory, but my maxi skirts were my best friends.” -Teresa Kwant
Get prepared for maternity leave ahead of time!
Planning ahead of time for maternity is essential (I’ve got 7 things you must do before your maternity leave here). You never know if you may go into labor early or if complications may arise. Plus, it will come quicker than you know it, so you don’t want to leave it all until the last minute!
I’ve got you covered, though! My Long Term Sub Binder and Maternity Leave Sub Plans will do some of the heavy lifting for you. The Editable Maternity Leave Sub Binder includes EVERYTHING that your sub needs to know for your maternity leave. All that’s left to do is fill it in. It’s helped countless teachers prepare for their maternity leave, plus it’s my #2 best seller!
Planning for maternity leave is no simple task! That is where my maternity leave sub plans come into play! These maternity plans are chock-full of activities that are PRINT-AND-GO for your maternity leave. Activities are included for all core subjects: English, Reading, Writing, Math, Science, and Social Studies. In addition, art activities, brain breaks, “just for fun” activities, and educational games are included as well. EVERYTHING in this packet includes a baby theme, which will keep your students excited about the baby!
Be prepared for unexpected absences DURING pregnancy, too!
When you are pregnant, it is inevitable that you will end up out of the classroom sick with little notice. Be sure you have some emergency substitute plans ready so you don’t have to stress about it (because stress is the last thing you need!) I’d recommend having AT LEAST several days worth of plans on hand because with pregnancy you never know what could happen! Luckily, I have a freebie with editable forms you can leave with your sub as well as several mini-lessons and some substitute binder forms!
It is a great time start to emergency plans. You’ll definitely want to put some more plans together. If you are not sure where to start, I have a comprehensive emergency sub planning guide for you! You can also check out all of my Ready to Go Sub Plans in the shop.
Here’s what some other teachers had to say about being prepared for sick days:
“Make sure you are team planning and sort of in the same spot as your co-teachers. That way if you need to be out sick unexpectedly or have an appt and no sub, your kids can assimilate into another classroom or the other teachers can just have your class do the same work that they were planning to do. ” -Literacy Spark
“Have a few days worth of easy supply plans/activities ready in case you have to go off unexpectedly or have an emergency. My teaching partner knew I had a bin with ready to go PBL activities in stapled booklets so anyone could come in, hand those out, and cover in case of an emergency absence.”-Tina’s Teaching Treasures
“Be overly prepared with sub plans and lesson plans. I went in for an appointment and never went back to school due to bed rest. I had three weeks of plans made and worked on the rest of the year while on bed rest.”-Teaching in Bronco Country
Speaking of being prepared for unexpected absences, several teacher moms also recommended preparing for your maternity leave sub ahead of time:
“Find your sub early on, no matter when your due date falls. Parents and students will be excited for your pregnancy, but they also have fears about who will take over in your absence. Not only was my sub available to cover my class during doctor’s appointments, but the principal also arranged for her to shadow my class for a day to really get to see our routines in action.” -Stories by Storie
“Shadowing is definitely a great idea. My principal paid for my sub to shadow me for a full week. I ended up having to get induced halfway through and was so glad that she was already familiar with the kids and the routines.” -Alyssa Teaches
“I encourage everyone to have open communication with their maternity sub as soon as he/she is hired. I met with mine weekly and put together binders of information for her so that the transition was easy. I also kept my students’ parents in the loop about who the teacher would be after I had the baby. Communication is key!!! Once I knew that I could have the baby at any time I made detailed sub plans for two weeks to help the maternity sub with an easy transition!”-Crone’s Corner
Give yourself grace
This was a very popular one among everyone I asked- and that is because it is probably the most important one and yet the one that teachers tend to forget the most often. Be sure to give yourself grace and take care of yourself.
As teachers (and as moms) we tend to put the needs of children above our own. When you are pregnant, you need to be sure that your health is a priority- and this includes not only your physical health but also your mental, emotional, and spiritual health.
Do whatever you need to do to relax at the end of the day- go on a quick walk, take a bath, binge watch Netflix, pray/meditate, etc.
If you’ve had a hard day, vent about your problems or concerns to someone you can trust. We all know those pregnancy hormones can make us emotional at times, and talking to someone you can rely on can help. (I was so thankful for my husband and my mom for listening to me all the time!)
Here’s some advice from some other pregnant teacher moms about taking care of yourself:
“Many times, teachers put the needs of their students in front of their own. When a teacher is pregnant, it is high time to put their needs (and subsequently, the needs of their unborn baby) in front of everything else. In ten years from now, it will matter that you drank plenty of water (at the expense of leaving your class for a few minutes to pee…. gasp!), got plenty of rest (you didn’t correct your student’s homework…. gasp!), and arrived home from work before the sun went down (you didn’t change that bulletin board? How dare you?). Think about the long-term health and wellness of you and your baby. You can’t get this time back and your students won’t suffer if you don’t correct every single, solitary paper or change the bulletin boards each month. Let some things go in the name of your health (and sanity).” -Kirsten Tulsian
“You’re not a bad teacher if you sit at your desk every once in a while. You won’t get fired if you even put your feet up while sitting for a bit, plus, your feet and legs will thank you. I’ve got the varicose veins to prove you need to get off your feet every once in a while; listen to your body!” -The Seeds We Sow
“Take advantage of helpful offers. I’m not normally one to ask for favors or exceptions but with some complications, I needed to change my outdoor recess duty to indoor watching the kids eat and decrease my gym time…I felt bad asking but was it made a huge difference in my health and my ability to teach my kiddos in the classroom. When someone offers to help you out, smile and say thank you!” -Tina’s Teaching Treasures
“I felt like I was constantly tense and on the go with an ever-growing to-do list (both personally and professionally). Taking time throughout the busy day to regroup is key! Kid-friendly yoga and/or brain breaks are a great way to step back from the daily stresses of teaching and pregnancy for a few minutes. And they’re good for the students, too!”-Alyssa Teaches
“When I was pregnant with our miracle child I was VERY sick until about 25 weeks. Lean on your teaching team for as much help as possible! They will be glad to help you out because growing a life inside of you and teaching little kiddos at the same time is tough!”- Crone’s Corner “Let it go and take care of yourself. I was never absent and then I had to be out all the time. I went to work with an IV in my arm and was in tears within 5 minutes, same thing the first day I had to go with my Zofran pump. Both times I just wasn’t ready to be back. I ended up getting sent home anyway and I just had to not worry about my kids (or trust that they would be taken care of) and take care of me.” -Literacy Spark
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Be open with your students
My last piece of advice would be to not be afraid to be open and upfront with your students. Kids are smart, and they can tell when you aren’t giving 100% of your effort. However, they can also be very sympathetic when they understand what is going on.
Explain that since you are pregnant, you are feeling sick so you may need to take a short break. Or that you can’t always sit on the ground with them, because it is hard to get back up! As my pregnancy progressed, my students were quick to pick anything off of the ground that I needed because they knew it was difficult for me. And they were happy to help!
I found that when I was honest with my students instead of trying to “hide” how I felt, my students were very understanding. It was always a race to see who would be there to help me first!
I hope these tips will help you on your journey to becoming a mother while you are teaching! I promise that while it can be a very stressful time, it is SO worth it! And even though it may not feel like it, your baby will be here before you know it!
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