I am currently 5 months pregnant and work in a tech company. We have an open seating area for the engineering department and this is where I sit as well. I have just received my semi annual review a few weeks ago with one of the highest scores in the company. However, recently I have been assigned a very interesting research project that requires a lot of focus.
The problem is that the engineering area is very loud. When I'm not pregnant I'm usually able to tune a lot of the noises out, but right now I find it impossible. For example, one man sitting next to me talks to himself while working (talking through his work and announcing every time he needs to go to the bathroom) and another group of women congregate by my desk a couple of times a day for 30 minutes at a time to vent about their mother in laws.
I am very worried that my performance has started to suffer. Up until now I have managed to get work done by booking a conference room for myself but people have started to complain that I'm hogging the conference room (though I follow proper company procedure when using the conference room). I have also thought of asking to be moved to a different work area or working from home a couple of days a week but I am afraid of asking for special accommodations when I don't want to be treated differently because I'm pregnant.
I have thought of getting noise cancelling headphones but I don't find them to be very comfortable. Perhaps they are my only option.
How do I balance my growing need for peace and quiet while not making a bad impression by asking for special accommodation?