Advice regarding returning to work during the PUPO stage


So just looking for a little advice on returning to work while pregnant until proven otherwise.

I work in a care home which since my treatment in October (which I took time off sick for) has become increasingly heavy. We have many residents who don't bare any their own weight so need a hoist to transfer. They don't roll in bed for you either when putting on the sling so what I mean is the equipment we use isn't making the transfer easy as we take their full weight because they can't or don't co-operate.

After transfer I am taking the first week off as annual leave and I am returning to work for the second week. My boss is aware of the situation and is aware I can't or shouldn't be heavy lifting (I told her this is what I had been advised by the hospital) however, she's not got anything in place that allows me to not have to work with these residents. She's paired me to work with a colleague who knows about treatment (which is great) but obviously my colleagues can't do this manual handling alone. What I really want to ask is can I refuse to do this heavy lifting if it's putting myself and the possible pregnancy at risk? Do I have a right to refuse?

Thanks so much for any advice you can give xxx

18 Replies

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  • Hey

    Im currently 6dp5dt. I work as a nurse and wasn't told by my clinic to only do light duties at work so I'm doing my usual Work duties. I wouldn't worry to much maybe speak to your clinic and get advice from them I wouldn't think there would be a risk though. Good luck with it all


  • Thank you. They gave me the advice at my first transfer in October. No heavy lifting. And at previous manual handling training we've always been told that when pregnant you should under no circumstance be using a hoist. Only issue is I don't know if I can still stick to this rule when PUPO. I know technically I could be pregnant just don't know if my work would see it like that. Xxx

  • If you have been told by the clinic before you have every right in saying you won't be doing any manual handling. You don't want to stress yourself out even more during this time. However if that was me I would need an occupational health referral or a letter from the clinic saying this. I'm not sure if it's applies at this time I know during the first 24 hours it was no heavy exercise and hot tubs/baths but nothing was told to me about after that period which maybe they should of as they was aware I am a nurse ( in the same hospital πŸ˜‚) I hope work put everything in place for you before you go back. It's good that people are aware so hopefully they will be more understanding x

  • Thank you. My hospital won't give me a note they said my GP can though if need be. So I could get a line stating light duties only.

    God it's so annoying when we do jobs like ours. It's like heavy work is unavoidable but it shouldn't be in our case.

    Good luck with your treatment. Hope you get your BFP 😊 xxx

  • Hi Amanda86, I'm in a similar situation as I'm a carer in the community and have clients like you've described also one that is very obese. I've planned 1 week off from egg collection tmoro. My close colleague knows but like you've said it's not a 1 woman job is it? Also my care co-ordinator knows and whether they are planning a few changes I don't think so! It's very difficult in this line of work as you don't know what you face sometimes walking in.

    We must put ourselves first I guess which is also hard with demands of clients. I've not taken On nor have they asked any more work of me and I try to work the equipment more than my clients it can work sometimes but not always, I'll be glad of a week off after today xx

  • Thank you. It's a very difficult line of work and when it's just you and someone else working in one unit or like you someone's home how do you rely on others to help? They can't. It's so difficult. And definitely not possible for 1 person πŸ˜₯.

    Good luck with your treatment and egg collection. Hope all goes well xxx

  • hi Amanda. My advice is don't do anything which may put your pregnancy at risk. You and the baby are far too important. I know we can't wrap ourselves in cotton wool but work are just going to have to understand. Can you be put on light duties? Or even take the second week as sick leave? I would say you have the right to refuse especially as work know your situation. Hope everything works out and they understand xx

  • Thank you. Well thing is my work have agreed to me being on light duties but they haven't put anything in place that prevents me from working with these residents. So I don't really know how to avoid working with them?

    I took 3 weeks off sick in October for treatment and that's why I didn't want to take sick leave again.

    Your right my safety and the possible baby's safety is more important than any job 100% I'm just worried because my colleague can't do that alone and yet if they don't give us an alternative working option I don't know what we'll do πŸ˜₯πŸ˜₯ xxx

  • I can only imagine how difficult it must be. I'd be tempted to take another week off just while your little peppercorn stabilises and implants. I know your said you don't want to but this is a matter of need. Put YOU first. You deserve this xx

  • Thanks. I chose to go back to work because

    1. I was driven crazy being off last time and not having something to occupy my mind lol.

    2. I didn't want to use more sick leave/annual leave because I need to consider that if this doesn't work I'll need time off again to go through it. So didn't want to use up all annual leave and obviously didn't want to go off sick and then risk the stress of being put on a stage at work for sickness.

    Nothing is ever easy eh? Lol. I'm back to work tomorrow so maybe it's an idea that I speak with my manager and express my concerns and see what they say. Apparently they do have to treat you like your pregnant so I guess if they are agreeing to have me work then they really need to agree to put something in place where I don't have to do anything I really shouldn't be. Xxx

  • Hi Amanda86. I'm sure your colleagues and bosses will be able to help out where they can. I realise that it isn't always easy to get help, but if you feel jeopardised at all, then perhaps you can refuse. Have a look at your contract and see if it states anything there. Unfortunately as nurses we do come across awkward patients, some more than others. However, if all is well and you are pregnant, your body will protect you as well as it can. Good luck with it all, and I will be thinking of you. Diane

  • Thanks Diane 😊 xxz

  • Hi I work as an Occupational Therapist and my job involves manual handling. I am also currently pregnant and my advice is to sit down with your clinical manager and complete risk assessment. Some women are prone to mc and some aren't. If it is your first pregnancy you would take all precautions possible and you know your circumstances and your body.

    As for my own circumstances my first pregnancy led to nd despite having class A embryo and I know that part of me has to blame because I lifted equipment and not rested. Now as for my second pregnancy I wouldn't take a risk. I rested for the whole 2 weeks after E.T. but again everyone is different.

  • Thank you. This will be my second transfer.

    I've had a miscarriage at 7 weeks from a natural pregnancy and a chemical pregnancy after my first IVF (which I took time off work so can't blame work).

    I think because of all this that's why I'm so paranoid and worried to do any heavy lifting and things. Just feel like I'd blame that if anything went wrong.

    I've spoken with work today and although they didn't agree 100% to no hoist or stand aid use they did say they'll do everything they can to try and make sure I won't have to so it's made me feel a little better.

    My work are aware of my previous losses so I'd hoped they'd be more understanding of my concerns. Apparently from the conversation we had today they wouldn't really class hoist and standaid use as heavy lifting because there are 2 of us πŸ€” just proves how little you know when you don't do the physical side of the job! Xxx

  • You definitely have the right to refuse as it's a health related matter. Maybe get a letter from your clinic excusing you from heavy lifting? I know someone who did the same thing, it's effectively a doctor's note that they can't argue with :) Good luck xxx

  • Thank you for your advice. I was thinking to get a note from the GP to advice light duties. I know if I have that they can't not let me work on light duties.

    I feel less anxious now knowing they've said they'll try to put me at areas of the building where workload isn't too heavy and I will 100% be refusing to do anything I feel is too much.

    If I do become pregnant they'll have to come up with a more solid plan of action because my colleague just done manual handling training on Monday and asked for me to clarify and they said no using hoist or standaid while pregnant. Xxx

  • I would get the note from GP to back up the advice uv been given-specially if u r concerned nothing has been put in place to help! Hope it gets sorted & good luck with it all!! Wishing u a BFP xx

  • Thank you 😊 I had a chat with them and they said they'd put me to sides of the building which are lighter (one side still has a hoist but luckily a very petite lady who I wouldn't need to really do much to help with). Obviously if they don't stick to this agreement I will definitely refuse to do anything I feel is too much for me.

    My friend was at moving and handling training on Monday and has asked about being pregnant and was told you've not to use standaid or hoist so glad it's been clarified (I work with council so this must be their policy as she was on council training).

    I have considered getting a note from my GP as I know they need to follow this. So glad I'm only back to work the second week. Because I work 12.5 hour shifts it's only 3 days a week I work so it's a huge relief knowing I'll only have 3 days xxx

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