Our weakened economy has affected everyone and pregnant women are not exempt.  Many women are working up until the last minute prior to going into labor and it’s jeopardizing the safety of their pregnancy.  These women are the main source of support for families with unemployed spouses. They work in service industry jobs; stand for more than 8 hours a day; clean hotel rooms; serve food in fast food restaurants and ring up items in retail stores. As a result, many develop preterm labor or their babies stop growing because of undue stress. A simple request to sit in a chair while ringing a cash register; cleaning seven rooms instead of 10; working indoors instead of out in the hot sun or taking a 15-minute break at times falls on deaf ears of insensitive managers. When a healthcare practitioner writes a note of support, it is sometimes used as grounds for termination. Many women are not aware of laws such as the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of Title VII to protect their rights.

If a patient encounters a difficult manager, they should voice their concerns to their human resources department (HR). Make them do their job. It is their responsibility to inform employees of their rights and benefits within their place of employment. Any work-related complaints that jeopardize a pregnancy should be verified by a physician in writing and the HR department should make that request. What is the physician’s expert opinion? Should you stop working? Are you entitled to disability? Does he or she support your request for that 15-minute break or reduction in hours?

Working women by nature are strong and resilient, but there’s no need to be a martyr. Sometimes the best outcomes in life are achieved by knowing the right buttons to push.