Few days back I was reading a book Mayo Clinic Guide to self care where an article “Working tips during pregnancy” grabbed my attention. After reading the article I felt like sharing the information with you. As we know many women work throughout their pregnancy and during their children’s infancy. In fact, more than half of all women with their children younger than 6 have paying jobs. It can be stressful to juggle a demanding job, the physical changes during pregnancy, household activities and the child care. Therefore, it’s important to know about the rights of pregnant women, workplace cautions and tips for making work time pleasant to stay healthy during pregnancy.
What legal rights do I have to protect myself in the workplace?
There are several federal and state laws that can help you make decisions about working during your pregnancy and after your baby is born.
The Pregnancy discrimination Act of 1978 makes it illegal to discriminate against pregnant employees. Women with pregnancy related disabilities are entitled to the same disability leave, job protection or reassignment offers other disabled employees. This means:
- You cannot be fired, denied a job or a promotion only considering the reason you are or may become pregnant
- You cannot be forced to take a leave during your pregnancy if you are able and willing to work
Am I allowed to take a maternity leave?
The family and medical leave Act of 1993 requires employers of 50 or more persons to provide up to 12 weeks of unpaid leaves in a year for:
- The birth, adoption or foster care of a child
- Care for a sick child
- Your own serious health condition
In order to avail this benefit you must have worked at least 1,250 hours for that employer in the past year.
Irrespective of pregnancy, your employer must provide a safe place to work by telling you about substances which may be dangerous to you and your unborn child. Whereas there are few work place cautions if you are pregnant:
- Exposure to metals such as lead, mercury, pharmaceutical agents like chemotherapy, household cleaning agents and pesticides may increase the rate of miscarriage, low birth weight, and malformations.
- Physical job demands, such as heavy lifting, prolonged standing or walking,...
frequent shift changes and vibrations from large machines can adversely affect a pregnancy.
- An overheated work place during pregnancy may increase neural tube defects in the fetus.
- Exposure to infections at your workplace, such as hepatitis, rubella, and other diseases can aggravate various problems during pregnancy. You can limit the risk by wearing gloves, washing your hands frequently and eating away from your workplace.
Take precautions to avoid these risks during pregnancy to help you and your baby, maintain a great health.
American Medical Association suggests the following for working pregnant women:
- Take a break every few hours
- Take a longer meal break every four hours
- Drink plenty of fluids while on the job
- Vary work positions continuously, from sitting to standing and walking
- Minimize heavy lifting and bending
How can I control my work stress during pregnancy?
- Make a to-do list to organize and prioritize your work
- Don’t give thought to any conflict and try to get rid of any frustrations with a supportive co-worker, friend and other colleagues.
- Relax and have fun at work place to get rid of work related stress
- Take proper sleep at night; it is necessary for a physical demanding job
- Avoid nausea triggering odors even if it means asking a co-worker to avoid wearing perfume or a certain aftershave temporarily