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Working While You’re Pregnant: What You Need to Know

Learning that you’re pregnant is wonderful news and an exciting time for you and your family. Although pregnancy can come with highs and lows, it can be an incredible experience for many mothers. While you do what you can at home to make sure your pregnancy goes smoothly, if you are a working mom, you’ll need the right support from your employees and co-workers, too.

Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon for expectant mothers to feel uncomfortable at work during their pregnancy or pressured to work long hours or take shorter maternity leave for fear of how this could affect their career. If you have recently discovered that you are pregnant and have these concerns, here are some key things that you need to know.

Discrimination is Illegal

Discriminating against pregnant workers is illegal, but sadly that doesn’t mean it still can’t happen in some places. Some examples of discrimination to look out for in your place of work include penalizing you for sickness that is related to your pregnancy, such as morning sickness. If your employer starts to take tasks from you, assuming that you aren’t capable due to your pregnancy.

If your employer fails to pay you for maternity leave or doesn’t keep in communication with you during your leave regarding your job or does not allow you to return to your current role once you return from maternity leave. Inappropriate comments regarding your pregnancy are also considered to be discriminatory. If you feel that you are dealing with these issues at work during your pregnancy, hire a pregnancy discrimination attorney to file a lawsuit.

Keep the Lines of Communication Open with Your Managers

It’s important to speak to your managers to make sure that they are doing everything that they can to accommodate you during your pregnancy, as everyone will have a different experience. For example, if there are complications with your pregnancy, you might have to attend more regular appointments with your prenatal team to monitor the situation. You might also need to take more time off to rest, or you might need to work from home or have more flexible hours. Keep a record of these conversations and make sure HR is aware so that if there are any issues, you have evidence to prove what was agreed upon during these discussions. 

Make Sure Your Employer Does a Risk Assessment

When you tell your employer the good news, it’s important to make sure that they complete a risk assessment regarding your role. There might be certain tasks, particularly if you do a lot of manual labor for your job, which could put too much strain on your body at jeopardize your pregnancy. Your employer needs to find suitable jobs for you to do that won’t put too much stress on your body as an alternative until you return from maternity leave. If you feel that certain tasks are becoming too strenuous, let your boss know immediately.

Being pregnant doesn’t mean that you are no longer a competent worker, and no one should be made to feel that way. If you are working during your pregnancy, remember these points to protect your rights and to keep you and your baby safe.

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