Soon-to-be Moms and Dads often continue working up to (or close to) the due date of their baby. It’s important for workplaces to support expectant parents to help ensure safe and healthy pregnancies. Here’s how to create a supportive, healthy work environment.
What employers can do to support expectant parents at work:
- Provide flexible work hours and accommodate medical appointments/needs.
- Work with pregnant employees to create a supportive physical environment, e.g., parking space close to the worksite
- Ask pregnant employees if they would like a workstation that is close to the washroom.
- Encourage employee self-care; encourage them to take their breaks, change positions, stretch, and walk often.
- Make sure the workplace is safe for pregnant employees. Make sure pregnant women are aware of potential workplace hazards. Train employees to check for hazards when working with any chemical products. Make sure all workers have protective equipment and ensure good ventilation, safe temperatures and safe noise levels in the work environment.
- In planning for the woman’s return to work, have a workplace policy in place to support breastfeeding women.
- Let employees know about health information available to all British Columbians:
- HealthLinkBC for medically-approved information on more than 5,000 health topics, symptoms, medications, and tips for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
- Healthy Families BC pregnancy and parenting section for information to support a healthy pregnancy.
- QuitNow for help quitting smoking.
What employees can do:
- Let your employer know about upcoming medical appointments
- Work with your employer and direct supervisor to develop work arrangements that support your specific needs and limitations.
- Take your breaks. If you work at a desk, get up and walk around as often as possible. Learn more tips to stay comfortable at work.
- Talk to your employer about whether you need to modify your tasks to avoid exposure to hazards in the workplace, including extreme heat, poor ventilation, excessive noise, stress, and toxic materials.
- If you plan to breastfeed, talk to your employer about ways that breastfeeding is supported in the workplace or any accommodations that may be needed.