The human body changes in some surprising ways during pregnancy. Not only does a new body take shape, but an existing one shifts and adjusts throughout the process.

A woman’s abdomen has to stretch to accommodate the ever-growing child inside of her. Her organs soften up to give more space to the unborn child and its support systems. Much of what she consumes goes to help form that new life, which can put her at risk as well.

Pregnancy can be hard on the body

All of those changes come at a cost. Women can develop blood sugar problems despite having a healthy diet and may have issues with blood pressure that put them and their babies at risk. Pregnancy is different for every woman.

Some expectant mothers can work happily and enthusiastically up until the day that they deliver. Others require bed rest because of medical issues like carrying twins or triplets, gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. If pregnancy has been rough on you, you have the right in most cases to ask your employer to help you stay on the job while staying healthy.

Employers should treat pregnancy like a short-term disability

When an otherwise qualified worker has a medical condition that temporarily prevents them from performing their job duties, the company needs to work with that individual to help them stay on the job in most cases.

Pregnancy is no different than other forms of temporary medical disability. A worker who needs to reduce how much they lift, who needs to stay off their feet or who needs to work from home should receive the same consideration that any other worker dealing with a temporary medical issue would receive. Sadly, refusing basic accommodation is a common form of pregnancy discrimination.

Medical documentation makes it easier to ask for help

It would be great if every company would just do the right thing and try to support pregnant workers, but some will try to make things difficult or unpleasant for a pregnant worker requesting accommodations.

Going to your physician before you speak with your employer will ensure that you have a doctor’s order outlining the limitations on your work during the rest of your pregnancy. If your employer refuses to accommodate you, it may be best to request a written statement of refusal via email so that you can take the necessary steps to get help and support when dealing with discrimination.