Supporting pregnant women at work reduces infant mortality, improves maternal and infant health, and reduces doctor and hospital visits.
Supporting pregnant workers reduces infant mortality, improves maternal and infant health, and reduces doctor and hospital visits. When pregnancies are healthy and result in good birth outcomes, children are more likely to have good physical health and on-track development during childhood and throughout life. While not all women will require pregnancy accommodations, some will need small, temporary adjustments to work safely through their pregnancies. These small adjustments may include more frequent water or bathroom breaks, an option to work while seated instead of standing, uniform modifications, or relief from heavy lifting.
Federal laws do not guarantee accommodations in the workplace, and currently, North Carolina’s anti-discrimination law does not specifically include pregnancy. Pregnant women should not be forced to choose between their job and the health of their pregnancy and their child. Adopting reasonable pregnancy accommodations in the workplace will enable women to continue working throughout their pregnancies while ensuring their health and safety.
Key Things to Know:
- 66% of pregnant and new moms are in the labor force, and 85% of women will be pregnant and employed simultaneously over the course of their lives.
- Physically demanding, stressful, or exhausting work increases the risk for preterm birth and low birth weight.
- 10.4% of babies are born pre-term and 9.2% are born at a low birth weight, but systemic challenges and inequities are present even before birth: 14.4% of Black babies are born at a low birthweight, compared to 7.4% of white babies. Pregnancy accommodations improve maternal and fetal health and can prevent or alleviate these challenges and disparities.
- 40% of employers reported reduced worker’s compensation and insurance costs after implementing pregnancy accommodations.
- Replacing an employee permanently rather than providing short-term accommodations can cost as much as 5 times the employee’s yearly salary.