The workplace can have an important impact and role on a woman’s reproductive health and pregnancy. Therefore, it is important that workplaces develop policies that support those both trying to conceive and those who are expecting.
When planning a pregnancy and trying to get pregnant, there are numerous workplaces hazards that can affect parents in conceiving. Examples of hazard in the workplace include:
- Stress and fatigue
- Exposure to chemicals, radiation, metals and oil-based paints
- Tobacco smoke
- Too much exposure to heat and noise
- Contact with viruses and infectious diseases1
Workplaces that have policies in place for protecting and supporting expecting mothers can help decrease absenteeism and worker turnover, and increase morale, job satisfaction, and productivity. It is important that workplaces recognize hazards that can affect pregnant mothers such as:
- Heavy lifting
- Working more than 40 hours per week
- Standing for long periods of time
- Excessive stress and fatigue
- Too much exposure to heat and stress
- Contact with viruses and infectious diseases
- Exposure to chemicals, radiation, metals and oil-based paints2
There are a number of things that pregnant employees can also do to help protect their unborn baby and themselves in the workplace. Best Start, is Ontario’s Maternal Newborn and Early Child Development Resource Centre, and it provides you with a number of ways to stay healthy at work during your pregnancy.
Supporting breastfeeding mothers in the workplace can have numerous positive outcomes, and it is important that new mothers feel supported by their employers if they choose to continue to breastfeed or express their breast milk when returning to work. Read more information about creating a breastfeeding friendly and supportive environment.
- Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. (1991). The Effects of Workplace Hazards on Female Reproductive Health. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/niosh/docs/99-104/pdfs/99-104.pdf
- Best Start Resource Centre. (2010). How to be a family friendly workplace. Retrieved from http://beststart.org/resources/wrkplc_health/pdf/preg_work_8p_book_rev09.pdf