Find out how to stay safe and healthy at work during pregnancy, and when you need to take extra precautions.
Some professions are more hazardous during pregnancy and if you are concerned that your work will impact negatively on your baby, speak with your employer, who is legally obliged to find you a safe alternative. If you work with the following, speak with your healthcare team and employer to ensure you and your baby are safe:
- Animals – could expose you to E. coli, toxoplasmosis and other diseases transmitted through their waste or via their bodies.
- Chemicals – some are unsafe for pregnant women so check the safety date.
- Food – raw meat could expose you to salmonella, E. coli and listeria.
- Radiation – X-rays and other forms of radiation can be detrimental to your baby’s health. If your work involves repeat exposure to radiation your employer should find you a safe alternative role.
- Viral hazards – Childcare and medical professions could expose you and your bump to childhood diseases and viruses, which may be potentially harmful to baby. Care is needed to minimise the risks.
In any profession, basic health and safety regulations should ensure the floor is free from trip hazards and not slippery. You should not feel pressured into lifting or moving heavy items.
The first trimester can be tiring –especially when you may not want to tell colleagues your new-person news just yet. You can help yourself by staying hydrated and eating little and often. Choose your snacks shrewdly as a chocolate high leads to a sugar low that won’t help in the long run. Opt for fruit or vegetable crudités and dips.
Being pregnant can make some women feel forgetful, perhaps because it is easy to be pre-occupied with thoughts of what lies beneath the bump. Keeping lists and notes and staying organised can help you to remain professional while pregnant.
Maternity leave and going back to work
Your profession and pregnancy will influence how long you to continue to work for. All pregnant women are entitled to 52 weeks maternity leave that can start any time from 11 weeks before the start of the week your baby is due. Mums often try to work as long as possible and save up their maternity entitlement and spend it with baby.
You cannot predict how you might be feeling when the back to work deadline looms; for some women becoming a mum is a chance to re-evaluate career paths and aspirations. Your baby and your bank balance will impact your decision, but it’s important to do what’s right for you.