Any advice from those working in laboratories whilst pregnant?

Any advice from pregnant people working in a chemistry laboratory whilst pregnant? My immediate line manager was aware from 6 weeks and so I have been kept away from the most harmful chemicals based upon her own pregnancy risk assessment, but it is impossible to keep away from all and I do more of the practical work. I do everything in a fume cupboard, but this does not stop me constantly worrying. I am 13 weeks now and everything was ok at dating scan, but it is a long wait until the anomaly scan.

8 Replies

  • This is a tough decision to make "to be fair" your line manager was good enough to remove you from the area where the harsh chemical are ( which is very good of him/her).

    Do you get the chance to wear protective clothing such as, gloves, apron & etc.... ?

    if so i think the baby should be fine. Its not something in which you are consuming yourself so I believe the baby is well protected.


  • I'm not in any way qualified to speculate as to the safety of your job, but I do know that you're entitled to your own risk assessment based on the specific work you do, not the risk assessment they did for your boss when she was pregnant, although it's possible a risk assessment was carried out and you were just not very well informed about it. Ask for someone to explain to you how it has been determined that what you're doing is safe, and if you're not satisfied with the answer you get, I'd contact the Citizen's Advice Bureau and ask how you can determine whether your employer has met their legal obligations to you. The law on this is quite strict.

  • Hi I used to be lab based, is there an opportunity to discuss being office based, e.g report writting, reviewing etc? It is law that your lab should have a record of any chemicals that can affect pregnancy (Both from a male and female perspective), and developing babies, see the list, know the list. Be clear on all hazard symbols and their meaning, and don't work with anything you are not comfortable with. See this as a partnership with your boss, have open meaningful discussions about your fears, but at the sametime, you need to ensure you are safe. Last thing do you have regular one to one sessions? use this time to plan work round your pregnancy, if not can you get regular sessions started? Good luck, todays labs are typically very well planned for pregnancy, but own what you can and all the best!

  • In my work, whether you work in the lab when pregnant is up to you. I've known ladies that decided they were ok to work in the lab and I've known ladies that would not even cross the door into the lab. Ultimately, its your decission and your employier will need yo find you other activities to do while pregnant...

  • I'm 26 weeks and I work as a lab technician. Not in constant contact with chemicals but wverythig has been fine so far, just keep away from chemicals that harm the fetus as much as possible and if you have to use them just use a fume cupboard and normal Ppe. I would reccomend looking now for a maternity lab coat, you will need it! I will be adjusting an old one myself but there are ones available.

  • Your employer has a responsibility to do a risk assessment on your work now you are pregnant and remove you from any situations that could be potentially harmfully,this should also be reviewed on regular basis. My employer did this and removed me from lab work to office based - writing everyone's reports etc (very boring!) - even though nothing we used was in my opinion particularly harmful so long as I used the right ppe (I was the person with responsibility for H&S in my department so they got someone else in to do the assessment on my work).

    I would say just be extra vigilant with wearing your pipe, go over board rather than under, and take the chance to reassess the msds's, risk assessments,coshh assessments to make sure you are not at any unnecessary risk. Make sure checks on fumecupboards in the lab are all up to date so you know extraction is adequate, ensure you use the right type of glove and change them regularly etc. If in doubt don't do the work - it's not worth the risk -for yourself, your baby or your employer.

    Sometimes employers need reminding of their responsibilities during pregnancy and will try to avoid it due to additional costs it may bring them - fight for what is right, the law is on your side :-)

  • Thanks to everyone for those bits of advice. I had a risk assessment today after reminding them about it. Feel a bit better as it seems the precautions I have been taking have been what they recommended. Just have to stand my ground when the pressure is on and we are short staffed. Thanks, hope everyone's pregnancies are going well ??.

  • Sorry those question marks were supposed to be a smiley face!

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