REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH AND THE WORKPLACE
Pregnancy and Your Job
Pregnancy can affect your safety as a worker. If you are pregnant, we encourage you to discuss possible job hazards with your employer, health and safety office at work (if there is one), and doctor, as soon as possible. Many pregnant women are able to adjust their job duties temporarily, or take extra steps to protect themselves.
Current occupational exposure limits were set based on studies of non-pregnant adults. What is considered safe for you, may not be safe for your fetus. Although most employees are able to safely do their job throughout pregnancy, pregnancy can sometimes affect worker safety.
If you are pregnant and working you may have to consider that:
- Changes in your metabolism increase how quickly you absorb some chemicals (e.g. some metals).
- Because of physical changes, the personal protective equipment that you could wear correctly before pregnancy may not fit properly, such as lab coats or respirators.
- When pregnant, changes in your immune system, lung capacity, and even ligaments can alter your risk of injury or illness due to some workplace hazards.
- A fetus might be more vulnerable to some chemicals because of its rapid growth and development, particularly early in pregnancy when its organs are developing.