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Pregnant with twins and struggling - what are reasonable adjustments?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by MrsTarvin, Apr 11, 2018.

  1. MrsTarvin

    MrsTarvin New commenter

    So I am currently 14 weeks pregnant with non identical twins.

    Back story: I had 2 weeks off after Feb HT, signed off by Doctor due to some bleeding that had to be investigated. I went back to work for a week on a reduced timetable after my Doctor gave me a note for amended duties, but then the morning sickness got worse and I had to be signed off completely for 2 weeks. My Doctor wont call it HG because I am still able to eat and drink, but the sickness and nausea has been debilitating. I have been in and out or hospital and have had many scans.
    We have just had Easter holidays. We actually went away on our honeymoon despite me feeling ill and we had to get an emergency flight home because I was bleeding heavily. We thought the worst but discovered that the babies are fine, though they don't know the cause of the bleeding.

    My dilemma revolves around my return to work. I am still suffering from the morning sickness though it is more manageable. The fatigue is a big problem. I have been having 2 to 3, hour long naps per day to help me cope. The mystery bleeding is also a huge concern. I don't want to keep using sick leave to get through term time, I want to work. BUT, what are reasonable amendments to request from my head teacher? I teach 41 a cycle with 3 five period days, two of which are back to back. I don't usually get chance to eat or sit down on those days, despite being well planned. The idea of not being able to relax when I really need to, go to the loo and eat to keep my blood sugar up is making me anxious. I'm a science teacher so I'm not even supposed to eat or drink in my work space.

    When they amended my duties last time they simply took my morning classes away and gave them to a cover teacher meaning I still had to plan, print and mark everything. I don't know what I am allowed to ask for when I ask for the amendments or whether I will have no say? In all honesty I feel that if I had a VERY limited timetable and did mostly intervention and admin type tasks I might be ok, but I suspect they will not like this suggestion.

    Also, do I need to get a note or can I just ask for a risk assessment? If I ask for the amendments on a doctors note will it effect my pay?
    I also need the changes to be pretty permanent as I will only get bigger and more uncomfortable. I will be equivalent sized to a full term pregnancy when I am 26 weeks which will be before the end of term. When I mentioned this to my HoD last time he just said "After the first trimester you will feel better"...
    I honestly don't think they understand the complications involved with a twin pregnancy. I have a daughter and this is nothing like my pregnancy with her.
    I also know that there is lots of room in the department timetable as four teachers are under timetabled by 6 lessons per cycle.

    Thank you in advance for the advice.
  2. carriecat10

    carriecat10 Established commenter Community helper

    I think your first port of call should be to your union for relevant advice. This will ensure it is completely tailored to your situation and any issues can be followed up appropriately.
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Definitely sort out a risk assessment. This should have been done as soon as you were happy to tell people at work that you were pregnant.

    To be honest if you are feeling sick and bleeding, then the last place you should be is work.
    Go back tot he GP and ask their advice.
    agathamorse, Bumptious and pepper5 like this.
  4. cheesypop

    cheesypop Senior commenter

    You say that you think you could cope with light admin tasks and intervention, but that isn’t what they employed you to do. I’m sorry, but they need a teacher. A reasonable adjustment might be to sit down during break duties, not to stop being a teacher.

    You have the option to take your maternity leave early, maybe that is something you could consider. Give you time to focus on your pregnancy. Are you planning on returning to work afterwards? Don’t spend the maternity money if not.

    I’m sorry but it is not unreasonable for the school to want you to do the job they employed you to do.
    nomad and caterpillartobutterfly like this.
  5. cheesypop

    cheesypop Senior commenter

    I’ve just read that last post back and it sounds mean and uncaring. I’m sorry it’s not meant to be. But ultimately you are employed to do a job and if you can’t do it you have the option to go off and have your job protected and that might be the best option for you.
  6. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    You sound too sick to work. You should be off sick. I think it doesn’t impact on your maternity to have sick leave this early in a pregnancy ( but I might be wrong). Nonethe less you are ill. I know the fatigue of early pregnancy and was lucky enough in the role I had at the time to be able to sneak a nap in during the day! Secretly! Obviously you can’t do that, so you are NOT fit to work! See doctor get a note and then rest and enjoy your pregnancy. With a little luck you will be through this phase in a couple of weeks. I had tons of energy in the second and third trimesters! Though twin pregnancies are notoriously not so easy. Anyway congratulations and enjoy your time at home.
  7. InkyP

    InkyP Star commenter

    You should see your GP and get signed off sick while you are feeling so ill. My daughter had twins and it took all her energy hauling get herself about towards the end. You might have a couple of months in the middle when you feel OK. Good luck - it's worth it.
  8. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    Many congratulations a twin pregnancy is indeed a very marvellous experience. However my firsy reaction was "wow"....you should not be placing yourself under so much stress you rear barely out of your first trimester. I have been through a twin pregnancy and your main priority is the health of you and your unborn children. Twin pregnancies are particularly physically demanding as well as placing emotional stress. You want to ensure you can continue your pregnancy to as close to 38 weeks as possible. Contact your union asap but I can tell you that Twim pregnancies do require alot more attention even at 14 weeks. Do not feel shy about taking time to see doctors clinic visits and extra scans. By the time you reach 6 months it will feel like 7 ..8 like 9. If you reach 37 weeks you would have done well indeed. My point is to take a lot of care . A Twin pregnancy is not at all like a single pregnancy so your HODS comments made me smile unless of course he /she had a wonderfulpregnancy. If you come across resistance re your request for change at work you will simply have to take time off as sick due to pregnancy-related illness and or take early maternity leave which will happen if you continue to work under such stress. No doubt TESSERS who have worked as union advisers will come here and give you more updated infomation .

    I am sure you will look after yourself and I wish you the very best. BTW contact tamba for advice re multiple pregnancies.
    Good luck
    Curae xxx
  9. scott1980

    scott1980 Occasional commenter

    Congratulations.im also pregnant - although just the one baby.my risk assessment makes clear i have the option of going for a lie down, eating whenever i need and as many toilet breaks if needed.i also understand its only from 11 weeks before due date that you need to take maternity leave.before that it is sick leave.and it sounds like you need to go back to gp.
    agathamorse and Taboo71 like this.
  10. ninanani

    ninanani Occasional commenter

    Hi, I was off in my third trimester -with a doctor’s note - followed by a phased return, and it didn’t affect my pay at all - I had complications. Having said that, my line manager at that time was very supportive throughout my pregnancy. However, we do know that line managers do not make these decisions but they can , of course, influence SLT/HR.
    You need to be supported and reasonable adjustments to your workload should be made.
    agathamorse and Curae like this.
  11. missd208

    missd208 New commenter

    Hi, I might be incorrect on this and someone please do correct me if I’m wrong but I believe it’s sick pay until 36 weeks and after that you have to start your maternity leave. At 29 weeks you have the option to start your mat leave but sickness does not trigger it at this point. I had a fair few sick days in my last few weeks with various things and it didn’t trigger my mat leave. Huge congratulations to the both of you on your pregnancies x
  12. MrsTarvin

    MrsTarvin New commenter

    Thanks for your reply. I understand what you are saying but that is what amendments are. If your job is causing risk of harm to your child/children then they should offer you alternative work. I assume you are a teacher so I find it hard to swallow your suggestion of just sitting down during breaks. Teaching is a very active job and I simply cannot do 20/21 hours a week in my condition. I love my job and I am good at it but I just don't have the energy for it. I don't think it would be unreasonable for them to reduce my timetable and give me work that I can do sat at a desk in the other hours. I didn't say give up my timetable entirely. I've seen it done many times. My issue is just that it needs to happen sooner due to the fact I am pregnant with twins.
    agathamorse and Curae like this.
  13. MrsTarvin

    MrsTarvin New commenter

    Thank you so much for this comment! This is exactly what I was hoping to get - a reply from someone who has been in my exact situation. I couldn't seem to find any teachers who have had twins to ask their experiences.
    My HOD is a bloody man so his comments were even more infuriating.
    Curae and pepper5 like this.
  14. MrsTarvin

    MrsTarvin New commenter

    Thank you all for the comments, some great advice. I will be seeing my GP on Monday as work won't allow me back without some kind of note. I will also be ringing my union today.
    Curae and pepper5 like this.
  15. gadgetgirl123

    gadgetgirl123 Occasional commenter

    I'm also a science teacher who had twins two years ago.

    I just sat down to teach when possible, made sure my duties were ones I could sit down for, and made sure someone was available if I needed to go pee during a lesson. I also wore trainers.

    I used to go to bed at 9pm or earlier as I was so tired, but got through it and worked to 32 weeks. I hardly slept at all from about 28 weeks as I was so uncomfortable. Believe me the tiredness whilst working was NOTHING compared to after the twins are born, as well as having to do the school run for my older child. Argh.

    Could you not ask them to cover your KS3 lessons and you to just teach KS4/5? Would that break your day up a bit?

    Or why not ask for Wednesdays off?

    Good luck with the twin pregnancy! Mine were born just two weeks after I started maternity.
  16. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    Can confirm all of this however twins do bring a calm that I did not experience with my first ....now they all drive me up the wall ...worth every moment though. Good luck and remember that you are looking after 3 People wrapped up as one and the rest of it. After they are born or before contact Norland nannies they may well need twin families for their trainee nannies FOC.
    gadgetgirl123 likes this.
  17. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    Tell us how you get on.
    Curae likes this.
  18. marymoocow

    marymoocow Star commenter

    Congratulations. As someone who had unexplained bleeding in my first trimester, not with twins, I don't think you should be back yet for this alone. My dr would not let me back until I was 2 weeks clear of bleeding. I see too many people feeling pressured either due to their work place or financial pressures to stay at work when ill or take maternity leave far too late. Many have complications as a result. Maternity leave allows you to rest and prepare. Most of the baby's weight is put on in the third trimester and stress is a major factor in low birthrate and premature delivery. Listen to your body. My health visitor told me that along with nurses, teachers are the main group of women with complications during pregnancy due to the physical and mental stresses of the job.
  19. lucykate5

    lucykate5 New commenter

    You could be on sick leave right up to the time you are due to start your maternity leave as far as I know. It happened to me when I developed a serious medical condition linked to my pregnacy at 14 weeks. I had intended to start my maternity leave at the earliest date that I could anyway,(29 weeks), but I was technically off sick until that date, as my GP advised that I didn't return to work until my proposed return date from maternity leave. I am not sure what would happen if you intend to start your maternity leave later than the earliest date that you can officially start it, however, regarding when sick pay stops and maternity leave/ pay starts.Congratulations.
  20. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Maternity leave kicks in automatically at 36 weeks if you are off with pregnancy-related illness.

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