Mixed Messages for Pregnant Women in the Work Force

Nurses COVID



I think we get the message that in the UK, staying home if you are pregnant is not encouraged. Argentina, on the other hand, told pregnant women to stay home and provided paid leave time for them to do so. But they are in the middle of a severe flu outbreak in the Argentine winter season right now so things likely look a lot different than it does in the UK in summer.

Warnings that employers need to protect staff or face legal action are very interesting. Would that include hospitals having pregnant staff work on suspected swine flu cases? Even CDC has recommended that these staff be reassigned, and if not possible at least not present if nebulizers, CPAP/BiPap, and other procedures that could aerosolize viral particles are being done.


Pregnant women should carry on going to work as usual during the swine flu pandemic, but take extra precautions where possible, the Department of Health (DH) has confirmed.

Amid increasing concern over the impact of swine flu on expectant women, officials said they should not alter their behaviour but avoid crowds and unnecessary travel. Pregnant women, who have a higher risk of developing complications from the virus, should also practice good hygiene, including washing hands frequently with soap and water.

The guidance from DH came following confusion over advice that was issued over the weekend, including reports that women should delay trying to conceive until after the pandemic. Pregnant women in Australia and New Zealand have been advised to wear masks in public and stay at home if possible to reduce the risk of swine flu. But "complete isolation" would be an extreme reaction, authorities said.

Twenty-nine people have died from swine flu in the UK so far, with the number of new cases hitting 55,000 by the end of last week.

Later this week the government will launch a national pandemic flu service, which will include a phone hotline and internet advice, to help relieve pressure on GPs and other frontline NHS staff. Secondment arrangements have been put in place so that health workers can be immediately transferred to the service under their current employment terms and conditions.

Meanwhile, employment lawyers have warned that employers who fail to protect their staff adequately from the swine flu pandemic could face legal action. To avoid lawsuits, employers should take extra precautions to provide a safe working environment, including ensuring people with symptoms are sent home promptly and soap and hygiene gels are provided on site, according to the law firm Dickinson Dees.

"Clearly, each case will be judged differently and potential payouts would vary considerably. Ultimately it will be up to the employee to establish whether or not an employer is responsible for their having contracted the virus. By taking the necessary precautions well in advance, employers will protect themselves and their businesses from workplace disruption and the worry of lawsuits that could occur as a result," said James Wilders, an employment law partner at the firm.

Economists have also warned that the epidemic could derail Britain's economic recovery. The Ernst & Young Item Club said swine flu could cost the economy almost £50 billion.


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I were of childbearing age and not currently pregnant but thinking about it, I would be putting off pregnancy for as much as two years. I am not telling anyone how to run their life, I am just saying that knowing what I know about the risk if I were young I would delay. But I am certainly not young so the question is moot, but if I were 22 I would know I would more than likely be in the group that gets it so I would wait until the present wave had run it's course to get pregnant. I am just talking hypothetically, every one should do as they please with their life and make their own evaluation of the risk. . My guess is most OB docs would say that it is NOT necessary to delay starting a family. I am just saying I would.

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