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The occupational risks of pregnant women

The occupational risks of pregnant women


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Pregnancy is an exceptional circumstance that requires more care in terms of the protection of the mother and her future baby. It is necessary to know the main risk factors in the workplace for pregnant women and how to prevent certain situations that can be dangerous for both her and the baby in her womb.

Depending on the job position of the pregnant woman, she may suffer more or less risks. The risks can be physical, biological, chemical, environmental, etc. What can pose a risk to your health?

1. Physical hazards. Shocks, certain movements and postures, vibrations and noises, ionizing and non-ionizing radiation, extreme temperatures, mental and physical fatigue, are some situations that can affect pregnant women at work, especially if she is a nurse, dentist or worker in the industrial or construction sector.

2. Biological hazards. Pregnant women who care for children or work in the health and veterinary sector may be exposed to the risks of infection by hepatitis B virus, cytomegalovirus, rubella, toxoplasmosis, herpes and syphilis.

3. Chemical hazards. Pregnant women who have agricultural occupations, who are health and craft professionals, who are in contact with substances such as acids, gases, pesticides, solvents, varnishes and paints, metals and other toxic elements, suffer a high risk for their health.

4. Environmental risks. Environmental risks especially affect women who work in environments with modified atmospheres such as flight attendants, especially if they carry out their work at night and during the day. The most advisable thing is that they have only one work shift.

5. Psychosocial risks. Women who work in an environment of high work stress and for long and long hours, or even occupy a solitary job, can suffer from psychosocial risks. Stress, anxiety, and depression can put your pregnancy at risk.

6. Ergonomic risks. Always working standing or always sitting or in constant and forced postures can present a risk for pregnancy.

  • Risk of early and late abortion
  • Risk of Preterm Labor
  • Low birth weight risk
  • Risk of multiple fetal malformations
  • Risk of alteration in the state of maternal health.
  • Risk of fetal death

Any pregnant woman who suspects that her work situation is detrimental to her health or that of the fetus should consult her doctor, who will determine if she needs temporary leave or temporary incapacity for work during pregnancy.

1. The family doctor will make this decision if the cause is medical, such as low back pain or sciatica, which are common during pregnancy.

2. The gynecologist will determine a sick leave if they observe an obstetric cause, such as bleeding during pregnancy or risk of premature delivery.

3. The occupational doctor or occupational health unit of the company, although not usually the main doctor in pregnancy, will determine in women who work in risk professions, such as the chemical industry or exposures to harmful agents, if they require sick leave or change department while the pregnancy is prolonged.

Source consulted:
- Basque Institute for Occupational Health and Safety

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