Pregnancy and noise
These guidelines apply to pregnant employees and students who are working in environments with noise, and their supervisors.
Norsk versjon - Gravide og støy
Information for pregnant employees/students #
Pregnant employees/students have to be particularly aware of all labelling in the facilities in which they work, and the effects that noise can have on them and their foetus.
See also the general guidelines about pregnancy during work or studies, accommodation, leave, etc.
Information for supervisors #
Exposure to noise can be harmful to pregnant women and foetuses. Take this into consideration if you are responsible for pregnant employees or students. The pregnant employee/student's own view of the situation should also be part of the assessment of the working conditions. If the pregnant employee/student wants alternative tasks or a relocation, the employer should comply with these wishes when possible.
See also the general guidelines about risk assessment, accommodation, leave, etc.
Noise and harm from noise #
These factors are decisive in terms of determining how harmful noise may be:
- Sound frequency (Hz)
- Sound level (dB)
- Time of exposure
- Individual predisposition
The following factors are also decisive for pregnant women #
- Stage of pregnancy: The hearing of a foetus is not sufficiently developed to be harmed before approx. week 24 of the pregnancy.
- Sound propagation through the mother's abdominal wall and amniotic fluid: High-frequency sounds are muted before they reach the foetal auditory organ, whereas low-frequency sounds (<250 Hz) are not significantly muted, if at all.
- In addition to hearing damage, exposure to noise can also cause stress reactions in the mother and foetus, and is suspected to be a cause for low birth weight and premature birth.
- To be safe, pregnant women should stay away from noisy areas where they have to use hearing protection after week 24 of pregnancy.
- Pregnancy and working environment (in Norwegian) (pdf) – article in Yrkeshygienikeren (the Occupational Hygienist), issue 1/2012, Petter Kristensen
- The Norwegian Electronic Medical Handbook (in Norwegian)
- Noise (in Norwegian) - the Norwegian Labour Inspection Authority
NTNU regulations #
- Noise, regulation of values for implementation of measures and boundary values (in Norwegian), chapter 2
Approved by the Director of HSE – 11 July 2014 – HMSRV5104E – ePhorte 2014/.....