Many women work outside the home nowadays, and lots continue to work during their pregnancy. So, it’s pretty common for women to ask doctors about work and pregnancy. You might be wondering, “Is it safe for me to work while pregnant?” or “Am I in danger of harming my baby if I continue to work?”
The U.S. Pregnancy Discrimination Act bans job discrimination on the basis of pregnancy. This act basically says that pregnancy should be treated the same as any other disability or medical condition. A doctor can be asked to confirm that a pregnant woman can work without putting herself or her pregnancy in danger.
The Family and Medical Leave Act will help you, too. It says that if you (or your partner) have spend at least a year working at a company, you can each take up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave in any 12-month period for the birth of your baby. You can take this leave from time to time or all at once. For more info you can call the Family Medical Leave Act hotline at (800) 959-FMLA (that’s 800-959-3652) or visit www.dol.gov/whd/fmla.
It’s hard to know the exact risk of a particular job. In most cases, there’s not enough known about the specific substances that can harm a developing fetus. A normal woman with a normal job should be able to work at the same place throughout her pregnancy. The goal is to lessen the risk to mother and baby as much as possible, while still allowing the woman to work. You might need to change your job environment a bit. Some women find that they need to spend less time standing.
Work with your healthcare provider and employer. If you notice issues, listen to your caregiver: they may suggest bed rest. As you get further along in your pregnancy, you might find that you have to work fewer hours or do lighter work, so be flexible. You don’t want to wear yourself out or cause pregnancy complications!