Friday, May 12, 2017

Is Your Job Harming Your Unborn Child?

Is Your Job Harming Your Unborn Child? Is Your Job Harming Your Unborn Child?
By Juhi Modi
When you return to your family at the end of a long day at work, you may think the only thing you're bringing home with you is the stress about an overdue report. But did you know your job could be harming your child, even a child who isn't born yet? Here are some workplace hazards you should be aware of.
Workplace Risks to Unborn Children
Certain workplace hazards can harm pregnant women and their unborn child. It is important to be aware that many workplaces that are safe for non-pregnant adults may not be safe for you and your developing baby.
  • Changes in metabolism during pregnancy may affect how quickly you absorb certain chemicals or metals. Exposures to chemicals, metals, drugs and ionizing radiation during pregnancy can have a serious impact on the health of your unborn child.
  • Your immune system and lung capacity change during pregnancy, putting you at greater risk from workplace hazards.
  • Joints and ligaments loosen during pregnancy, making you more prone to injury.
  • Your body changes in shape and size during pregnancy and personal protective devices such as respirators and aprons may no longer fit properly, putting you and your baby at risk.
Common hazardous substances in the workplace include:
  • Disinfectants
  • Paint
  • Solvents
  • Petroleum products
  • Acids and other caustic substances
Even a seemingly safe desk job can cause problems during pregnancy. For instance, the extra fluid retained in the body during pregnancy can lead to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. A desk with poor ergonomics can lead to debilitating back problems, preventing you from caring for your baby once it is born. Strenuous physical labor, prolonged standing, and twisting movements can cause complications in your pregnancy or even miscarriage.
Workplace Risks to Future Children
Some workplaces expose people to occupational health risks that can affect their ability to have children in the future. In men, exposure to pesticides, lead, certain chemicals, and ionizing radiation can lead to a decrease in sperm count, reduced libido, or birth defects in future children. Women may experience reduced fertility, sterility, miscarriages, and birth defects from exposure to pesticides, ionizing radiation, and substances such as arsenic, mercury, and lead. For example, pesticide exposure before or during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of spontaneous abortion, premature birth, low birth weight babies, birth defects, growth retardation, and childhood cancers.
Workplace Risks to Children
  • Exposure to chemicals from the mother through breast milk during infancy
  • Exposure to pesticides, chemicals, and biological agents brought home from work on unwashed clothes
  • Exposure to infectious agents from unwashed hands and clothes of hospital workers
  • Exposure to volatile solvents, corrosive materials, and poisons stored at home
  • Exposure to hazardous machinery for children living on farms
High-Risk Jobs
Some jobs are inherently high-risk. Some of the most dangerous jobs are performed by construction equipment operators, ground maintenance staff, taxi drivers, truck drivers, power line installers, policemen, refuse collectors, roofers, coal miners, aircraft pilots, farmers, fishermen, and hospital workers.
It is a misconception that an occupational injury affects only the injured person. In fact, it has a ripple effect on the entire family who must deal with the emotional aftermath of a crippling accident. A workplace accident during pregnancy can have devastating consequences. If an injury impacts your day-to-day activities, it can prevent you from caring for your children and providing them with a happy, healthy, and safe environment.
High-risk jobs expose an individual to a number of occupational injuries such as broken bones, burns, loss of limb, neck and back problems, infections, and traumatic brain injuries. Your attitude to risk and injury in the workplace is critical, especially if your job is high-risk. If you are careless on the job (perhaps due to stress or exhaustion), you are putting the wellbeing of your unborn child on the line.
The effects of many occupational hazards are difficult to detect. As an expectant parent, you should be aware of any potential hazards in your workplace that could affect your unborn child. The CDC is a useful resource for reproductive hazards in common jobs. In most cases, reducing exposure and taking extra care is enough. But sometimes it may be necessary for a woman to transfer jobs, take a temporary leave of absence, or quit her job altogether to ensure the wellbeing of her unborn child.
Juhi Modi is a freelance writer with an enduring passion for women's issues. She believes a job should never cause harm to a woman or her unborn child. It is every employer's duty to make the workplace safe for pregnant women. If you believe you have suffered as a result of workplace hazards, consult a personal injury lawyer today to find out if you are eligible for financial compensation.
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