Obstetrician-gynecologists can help protect working mothers
Rebecca Jackson, M.D., from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists' Committee on Obstetric Practice, and colleagues address employment considerations during pregnancy and the postpartum period.
The researchers note that working during pregnancy is usually safe; work accommodations can allow for continued safe employment for those in high-risk occupations or with medically complicated pregnancies. Workplace discrimination related to pregnancy as well as pregnancy-related discrimination are prohibited by federal and state law. However, no federal law guarantees comprehensive accommodations for pregnant and postpartum workers. Protection for some pregnant women is provided by current laws, but due to eligibility requirements and differences by state, not all women are protected. Obstetrician-gynecologists and other obstetric providers can be instrumental in obtaining accommodations for their patients by writing appropriate notes to employers. Accommodations that enable women to keep working represent the best way to guarantee pay, benefits, and job protection.
"Obstetrician-gynecologists and other obstetric care providers also can assist pregnant women and their partners by providing them with information and resources that might help them better understand their employment rights," the authors conclude. "In cases for which potential job discrimination has occurred, accommodations are denied, extended medical leave is necessary, or when other complex employment questions arise, legal assistance should be obtained."
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