Pregnancy and ergonomics
These are advice and instructions for pregnant employees and students and their leaders regarding the organisation of the working situation for pregnant women.
Norsk versjon - Gravide og ergonomi
Information for pregnant employees/students #
Pregnant employees and students must be particularly aware of the strains related to their working situation, and how these can affect their foetus or their own health. Such strains include hard physical labour and heavy lifting.
Information for leaders #
Some tasks can put strain on a pregnant woman to the extent where this can affect their foetus or their own health. The pregnant woman's body is changing, which is why it is important to continuously assess her workload during the pregnancy.
This assessment should also consider the pregnant woman's own opinion about the situation. If the pregnant employee/student wants alternative tasks or a relocation, the employer should comply with these wishes when possible.
See also the general Pregnancy at NTNU. These guidelines contain information about accommodation, risk assessment, leave, etc.
Our bodies are created for being in motion, also during pregnancy. Work-related challenges can arise during different stages of the pregnancy and after the woman has returned to work, depending on the individual in question and her working situation. This means that it is important to adjust the tasks and workload.
Many women experience afflictions during periods of the pregnancy. Afflictions can include nausea, headaches, tiredness, back and pelvis pains, heartburn, varicosities, faintness, restricted airways and restless legs. These are not dangerous afflictions, but they can temporarily affect the employee's working capacity. In many cases, small accommodations can improve the pregnant employee's working situation.
Work-related strains that can affect the foetus or the pregnant woman's health #
- hard physical labour and heavy lifting
- activities involving standing and/or walking for long periods of the workday
- high-tempo work with few opportunities for breaks
- seated work over long periods of time
- constricted workplaces (can cause unfavourable working positions)
- Frequent breaks during the day. Stretch out or walk around for a while.
- A varied working position is important to reduce strain on the back and pelvis in particular, and to ensure good circulation.
- A comfortable chair with back/seat adjustment. The belly is growing, which means that the sitting position might need adjustment.
- Tables with height adjustment and anti-fatigue mats enable the pregnant employee to vary her working position by sitting, "sitting-to-stand", or standing up. The anti-fatigue mat lowers the strain from the floor.
- Food and drink is important. Is there a need for more frequent breaks for eating during the workday?
- Flexible working hours. Are there specific times of day when the employee is in a better/worse condition? Can the workday allow the pregnant employee to take more frequent, short breaks?
- It is important to listen to how the pregnant employee experiences and reacts to her own workload. Does she consider certain tasks to be hard, stressful, uncomfortable, etc.? How does she feel about her workday in general? Reduce the tasks that she considers to be stressful, like heavy lifting, carrying, etc.
- Pregnancy and working environment (in Norwegian) – the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority
NTNU regulations #
- Regulation of organisation, management and partaking (in Norwegian), chapter 10
- The Workplace Regulation (in Norwegian), ch. 2 and 3
Approved by the Director of HSE – 29 October 2015 – HMSRV5107E