Pregnancy and Your Workplace: What to Consider

You're pregnant! Your body is changing and so is your life. As you prepare for all the joy that your new baby is about to bring, there are a lot of practical decisions to be made.

For one thing, there's work.

If you have decided to work through your pregnancy it’s a good idea to consider how to stay safe until you go on maternity leave. Everyday obstacles and hazards suddenly become about much more than just you. You’re now protecting a brand new life, and taking chances with injury or illness is no longer worth the risk.

But we can’t live in a bubble. Life goes on and so does our work. Luckily, risks can be minimised when you know what to look out for, and insuring yourself can add an extra level of security.

What Hazards Should I Look Out For?

Some workplace hazards are easy to identify: exposure to common toxins, like dust, dirt, smoke, or solvents. These are generally well known or clearly labelled. Once you are carrying a little life inside you, there are a lot of other things to consider.

Chemicals

Pesticides and even certain cleaning products can have an impact – from triggering nausea to harming your developing baby’s nervous system. While they keep things clean and bug-free, it’s important to be mindful of these chemicals and make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area.

Heavy lifting

During pregnancy, hormonal changes mean that connective tissues are softening, and your centre of gravity is moving. This means that lifting, straining or twisting can hurt you and your baby. If you absolutely must lift something, it’s important to use proper lifting techniques.

Diseases

There are a range of immunisations that should be up to date if you are expecting. You can find them all in the Australian Immunisation Handbook. But what about those diseases that are transmitted by a sneezing co-worker, or a handshake before a meeting? In these cases, awareness and great hygiene will be your allies.

Office conditions

Sitting at a desk for most of the day presents hazards to your pregnancy. Physical and hormonal changes affect the shape and behaviour of your pelvis and lower back. That’s why it’s important to maintain good posture and remember to stand up regularly and do some gentle stretches.

If you feel that your workplace poses a threat or doesn’t support your pregnancy health, it’s a good idea to have a word with your employer or a GP. More information about your rights at work can be found in the Fair Work Act, on the Department of Employment’s website.

What Are the Next Steps?

Information is power, and you are taking the right steps by reading up on potential risks to your pregnancy while you continue to work.

Here are a couple of sources of safe, practical health advice for you to check out:

  • Health Direct is a free Australian health advice service and they have a great pregnancy section
  • Better Health is a Victorian state Government site that hosts some valuable information on maintaining a healthy pregnancy
  • The QLD Government health site can direct you on prenatal check-ups and tests, as well as resources for common pregnancy risks

When you’re entering a new phase of life and have welcomed little ones to the family, it can also be helpful to plan your future finances.

Life insurance will help you protect what matters – your young family – so you might like to consider Virgin Life Insurance. You can get a quick quote or find further information on the Virgin Life Insurance website