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Your role in ensuring a safe pregnancy

Speak with your treating doctor prior to becoming pregnant about the kind of work you do and your concerns.

Notify your manager, relevant school/section personnel, or contact Health, Safety & Wellbeing as soon as possible about your pregnancy, so that an assessment and appropriate modifications can be made immediately to your work to minimise risks to your pregnancy.

You can request that the information about your pregnancy is maintained as confidential. Contact the UWA Medical Centre or your treating doctor for confidential medical for advice and support.

Working with chemicals

Inhalation is the most common route of exposure to chemicals in the typical University working environment. The use of safe work procedures and facilities such as local exhaust ventilation will provide protection.

Skin absorption and ingestion are generally less significant routes of exposure, provided safe work procedures are observed. Everyone is required to use appropriate safe work procedures in accordance with the applicable Material Data Safety Sheets (MSDS) when handling chemicals.

Exposure to chemicals at levels below recognised exposure limits should not present a risk to you or your unborn child during pregnancy or while breastfeeding; however, once you know you are pregnant, you are encouraged to advise your manager, or the UWA Medical Centre or your own medical practitioner as soon as possible.

If you have any concerns about a chemical you are using, or the procedures for its safe use during pregnancy or while you are breastfeeding, you should seek advice straight away.

Working with animals

If you work with animals you have an increased risk of acquiring infections from these animals. While maintaining safe work procedures can reduce the risk of infection, special care must be taken to prevent infections that could have serious effects on foetal development.

For example, cats may harbour Toxoplasma gondii, while pregnant sheep may carry Chlamydia psittaci. If you work with cats or sheep, or with any animal that you may feel may adversely affect your pregnancy, you should seek advice straight away.

Working with ionising radiation

Levels of exposure to ionising radiation that do not present a hazard to a pregnant woman may be of concern to the developing foetus, particularly between eight and 25 weeks gestation. As many women are uncertain of their conception during the early weeks of pregnancy, special consideration must be given to the use of ionising radiation.

It is very important for you and your unborn child that you notify your manager, the Radiation Safety Officer or Health, Safety & Wellbeing as soon as possible, to ensure that your work is assessed and modifications promptly made to reduce any radiation exposure.

If you work includes using ionising radiation and you become pregnant, you have a choice to either continue working with ionising radiation or take on other tasks. It is possible to work with ionising radiation provided that the Radiation Safety Officer and/or Health, Safety & Wellbeing have assessed and defined the actions that must be taken to ensure that the risk to you and your foetus is as low as possible.

If you work with non-ionising radiation and you are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant, then you should seek advice.

Undertaking manual handling

Pregnancy brings many changes that are limited to the duration of the pregnancy and a short time following.

A review of tasks undertaken to identify a potential manual handling hazards, needs to be assessed. Some practical control measures that can be implemented include:

  • Review the work tasks undertaken to avoid heavy work duties, in particular avoidance of heavy physical exertion throughout the pregnancy and to undertake a review of one's capacity at the commencement of each trimester
  • Undertake regular rest breaks during the day
  • In discussion with your manager and with advice from your Treating Medical Practitioner, accommodations to your working arrangements may be consider to ensure your health and safety at work
  • Injury Management and Wellbeing can provide support and guidance regarding an assessment of work tasks, health accommodations and ergonomics.

Working with computers

A good posture is one in which you are comfortable and well supported by properly adjusted furniture. If good posture cannot be maintained at work using a computer then contact Injury Management and Wellbeing or Health, Safety & Wellbeing for advice.


If you are planning to become pregnant, it is advisable to  speak with your doctor about the kind of work you do and your immunisation status and any accommodations that may be required.

Pregnancy and pregnancy planning can require special consideration with regard to vaccinations.

Any vaccinations should be discussed with your treating medical practitioner. If you have any concerns about immunisation that may be required for your work, you should seek advice from your treating medical practitioner/obstetrician.

Contact information

For assistance and further information with implementing these guidelines please contact Health, Safety & Wellbeing.

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