Many mom’s don’t think about how their current job duties may affect their health during the course of their pregnancy, especially, towards the very end when you are often the most uncomfortable. Most mom’s will be able to work through the entire duration of their pregnancy with very minimal job restrictions or pregnancy related complications. However, if you have a physical job or the work you do is considered dangerous it is possible that you may need to talk to your doctor to determine what you can and can’t do while pregnant. Pregnancy isn’t considered a disability and doesn’t meet the standard requirements covered under the American Disabilities Act. However, pregnancy is covered under the Pregnancy Discrimination Act in the United States and it states that employers shall treat pregnancy the same way they treat other temporary disable employees. Also, your doctor will also be aware of any state laws that may apply to discrimination while pregnant that might assist you with reasonable accommodations if necessary.
Disclosure: This post is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions about your duties at work please discuss them with your doctor and you boss/human resources department. Any opinions in this post are my own and based upon my own experiences.
Pregnancy Discrimination Act Protect Women Who Are Pregnant
The Pregnancy Discrimination Act was created to help reduce the number of discrimination cases against pregnant women. The act covers women who are pregnant, just gave birth, and other have other related medical problems that is deemed unlawful, please refer to the section: sex discrimination under the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Women who are in their child bearing years are protected against discrimination if they are looking for a job while pregnant. An employer can’t refuse to hire a pregnant woman on the basis that she is pregnant. This act also allows the employee to make reasonable accommodations for a pregnant woman’s job duties just as they treat any other temporary disability, this includes moving her to another position temporarily. If a reasonable accommodation can’t be found, then the employer is allow her to take disability leave with or without pay. While on disability leaver your employer has to hold your position or a similar position open for a pregnant woman just as if they would do for another temporary disabled employee.
Talk to Your Doctor About Any Job Duties That You Feel Are Unsafe While Pregnant
If you are concerned about any of your duties at work, be sure and talk to your OB/GYN or midwife to determine which duties that are considered unsafe while you are pregnant. Allow your doctor to help you come up with a reasonable solution so that you can continue to work in a safe environment for the duration of your pregnancy. If your doctor recommends that you take special precautions or wants to modify your duties, it is important that you take your doctors advice seriously. Your doctor will provide a written note for you to give to your boss or human resources; however, before giving the note to your boss or human resources make a copy of the doctors note for your records.
Suggested List of Restrictions for Pregnant Women
What type of restrictions can I expect my doctor to be concerned about? This is just a suggested list of restrictions that your doctor may suggest and your doctor could modify additional duties based upon your medical condition and risks.
- Heavy Lifting – don’t lift things over 20 lbs
- Avoid excessive exposure to loud noises
- Prolonged Standing – can increase your risk of edema
- Prolonged Sitting – without frequent breaks to get up a stretch or walk around for a few minutes each hour
- Working excessively long hours
- Avoid working on machines that produce heavy vibrations
- Limit exposure to harmful substances and chemicals
- Avoid working in hot or cold environments for long periods of time
- Limit your exposure to extreme stress
- Avoid climbing ladders
- Avoid running in the second and third trimester when your agility and balance is off due to your growing belly
- Avoid exposure to excessive radiation
- Limit exposure to harmful germs and viruses such as Hepatitis, Chicken Pox, AIDS, ect
If there is a job duty that you feel is harmful or could cause a potential problem, talk it over with your doctor. Your doctor will access the risk and determine if you need a modification to your duties for the duration of your pregnancy.
Did your employer give you a hard time altering your duties while pregnant?