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Pregnant at Work

It's the legal responsibility of your employer to provide a safe environment. In pregnancy, being aware of your rights can help protect you and your baby.

In recent decades, women worried about whether working at a computer screen put their babies at risk. It's now clear that using a VDT (as well as photocopiers and printers) is safe. Some environments do pose possible dangers. If you work in a health-care setting with ionizing radiation or cancer-treatment drugs, inform your department that you're pregnant, so that if necessary, you're given alternative duties.

Women employed in places such as hairdressers, manicure salons, labs, and craft workshops may be exposed to toxic chemicals. Working around some dry cleaning solvents has been linked to miscarriage. It's up to employers to ensure protection from hazards. If you're unhappy about conditions, talk to your boss or HR manager.

Standing on your feet all day and physical work that involves heavy lifting can be exhausting in pregnancy. If your work involves either of these, ask if it's possible to switch to less tiring tasks.

Pregnant woman cutting hair

If your job involves handling chemicals, ensure that a risk assessment is done and that you are able to avoid harmful substances.

Excerpted from Pregnancy Day by Day.
Copyright © 2009 Dorling Kindersley Limited.
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