Pregnancy, Maternity & Fertility Treatment

There are many risks to the Health & Safety of ‘new and expectant mothers’. A new and expectant mother is a term used for women who are pregnant, have given birth in the last 6 months or are breast feeding. These risks include exposure to chemicals and other harmful agents and physical hazards such as manual handling.

Pregnancy should not be treated as an illness, however, normal working conditions may not be suitable during pregnancy and whilst breast feeding. The HSE published guidance in 2003 to help employers provide a safe and healthy working environment. The HSE guidance emphasises the risk of muscular skeletal disorders during pregnancy.

Hormonal changes can affect ligaments increasing susceptibility to injury. Following a caesarean section there is likely to be a temporary limitation on lifting and handling capability.

Fertility Treatment

Men and women sometimes need time off work for fertility treatment. Families going through fertility treatment will need support as this is a sensitive time and for the treatment to be successful care needs to be taken.

Best Practice:

  • Provide training in how work may be altered to accommodate changes in posture and physical capability, including taking breaks during pregnancy.
  • Consider job rotation, relocation or suspension on full pay.
  • Liaise with the woman’s own GP to ensure capability
  • Risk assess the situation after a return to work from maternity leave.
  • Ensure your force has a fertility treatment policy which includes an agreement for paid leave for such treatment.

Useful Website
hse.gov.uk/pubns