The following general guidance applies to all healthy and active expectant mothers. This general guidance may equally be applicable (where indicated) to those wishing to conceive as well as new mothers. The guidance should be considered by the expectant mother and line manager/supervisor/personal tutor and if necessary, relevant steps taken to accommodate a change in work practice, particularly at the later stages of pregnancy.
Additional helpful advice for overcoming common pregnancy health issues is available from the NHS.
Where specific health advice has been provided by a GP or midwife, or where there may be underlying health issues which may be impacted by pregnancy, these must be taken into account and advice should be sought from Occupational Health where necessary.
Where there is a need to work in or visit a higher risk environment or carry out high risk activities, then the 'Additional Guidance' should also be consulted to verify whether additional changes are necessary.
|Standing||There is no evidence to suggest that prolonged standing whilst pregnant is harmful but as a precaution, prolonged standing for more than 4 hours should be avoided.
Review work arrangements, provide seating where practical to do so and/or additional short breaks
|Sitting||Avoid sitting down for long periods. Evidence suggests that keeping active is healthy for pregnant women.
Review work arrangements, encourage regular changes in posture and moderate exercise to avoid back pain.
|Working at a computer||Working at a computer is not considered to be any greater risk during pregnancy, however as the pregnancy progresses there is likely to be a need to adjust the chair or workstation to accommodate the change in size and to find a more comfortable working position.
Follow guidance on computer work stations and complete a self-assessment. Arrange work to avoid sitting for long periods.
|Mental and physical fatigue and working long hours||
During pregnancy, there may be changes in levels of stamina, resilience and capacity to cope. Combined with increased tiredness and possibly nausea.
Review work arrangements to avoid excessive work hours.
Review and adjust working hours and/or the frequency and length of breaks..
Special consideration needs to be given to new or expectant mothers who work at night. If a new or expectant mother provides a medical certificate stating that night work is affecting the health and safety of the woman or her unborn child she should be offered alternative daytime work.
|Work with food/nauseating smells||‘Morning’ sickness' associated with pregnancy may require temporary adjustments to hours or relocation to an alternative work area to avoid food smells or scents which trigger significant nausea.|
During pregnancy, excessive time spent travelling (where movement is restricted) can increase the risk of fatigue, stress, static posture, vibrations and accidents.
Consider changes to reduce journey times or the amount of travel. Options may include altering start and finish times to avoid rush hours.There are restrictions in place regarding foreign travel and flying during pregnancy. Most flights will not accept persons who are more than 36 weeks pregnant (single pregnancy) or 32 weeks (multiple pregnancy). Most also stipulate that a letter from a GP or midwife is necessary for travel after 28 weeks.
Checks should be made with the airline at the time of booking.
GP / midwife advice should also be sought if travelling abroad when pregnant where there is a need for travel vaccinations since some vaccines are not suitable for pregnant women.
|Working alone||Towards the end of the pregnancy ensure that an appropriate method of communication is agreed and available
so medical attention can be sought by the expectant mother if necessary.
Infections such as Chicken
For most people the risk of infection is not higher at work than from living in the community. Where women are working with or exposure to biological materials is more likely a specific risk assessment should be completed.
Expectant mothers unless known to be immune should avoid direct contact with colleagues who are known to have Chicken Pox or German Measles (Rubella). They should avoid direct contact with persons known to have cytomegalovirus, parvo virus (Slapped Cheek Syndrome) or severe influenza (avian/Swine flu).
Further information and advice should be sought from the persons GP or midwife.