In order to ensure that new and expectant mothers in early years provision and schools can work without unacceptable risks to their health and safety, employers must be aware of:

  • any female workers who may be of child-bearing age
  • the effects of the physiological, hormonal and psychological changes that occur during pregnancy and the postnatal nursing period
  • any work activities, or aspects of the workplace, which may pose a particular risk to new and expectant mothers.

The level of risk will vary between individuals and at different times during a pregnancy.

Pregnant women and nursing mothers undergo many physiological, hormonal and psychological changes during the term of their pregnancy, and during the postnatal nursing period, both of which might affect the level of risk associated with their work.

Regulation 16 of The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (MHSWR) requires a risk assessment to be carried out of the risks to the health and safety of pregnant workers, those who have recently given birth, ie during the past six months, or those who are breastfeeding. Risks include those to the unborn child or child of a woman who is still breastfeeding — not just the risk to the mother.

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