Pregnancy advice and support

We want to ensure that the work environment enables all pregnant employees and those planning to have a child, to stay physically and mentally healthy and safe.

This information describes the support and guidance we have in place and the responsibilities of employees and their managers.

Employee Responsibilities

If you are planning to have a child, we encourage you to find out what any potential risks are early so that we can put the necessary control measures to protect you in place.

Most of you will be working in low-hazard environments, but some of you may be carrying out work that puts you at greater risk of harm if you are pregnant. For example, you may be working with substances or agents that are hazardous to an unborn child, or carrying out physically demanding work.

If you have concerns about health risks associated with your work, you can contact Occupational Health for advice.

Risk assessment

The ‘risk assessment guidance for new and expectant mothers at work’ (below) sets out the kinds of work activities that can be hazardous to pregnant workers or their unborn or breastfeeding child.

If the nature of your role and responsibilities puts you at risk of harm you should talk to your reporting manager at the earliest opportunity and go through the risk assessment together. This will enable the measures necessary to protect you to be in place as early as possible.

Specific health concerns about your pregnancy

If you have an underlying health condition, or your doctor has a particular health concern relating to your pregnancy, you should contact Occupational Health who may advise that you ask your reporting manager to refer you to them.

You should do this at the earliest opportunity so that we can take appropriate steps to safeguard you and your unborn child. You will need to provide the Occupational Health Adviser with a copy of your risk assessment (if available), your job description and details of any medical advice your doctor has provided e.g. on the Med 3 or MAT B1 form.

Notifying your manager

Discussions around your pregnancy/planned pregnancy should normally take place with your reporting manager. If you would rather, you can talk to the Employee Relations Adviser for your department/section in the first instance and they will facilitate the necessary discussion with your reporting manager.

Manager Responsibilities

Your role as a manager is to ensure the working environment enables pregnant employees and their unborn child to stay physically and mentally healthy and safe.

You should maintain an ongoing conversation with your member of staff throughout their pregnancy to enable you to anticipate, and respond to, changing circumstances in a timely way.

Risk assessment

As soon as your member of staff notifies you that they are pregnant you need to complete a pregnancy risk assessment with them, using the guidance provided.

The risk assessment guidance details significant hazards and possible risks and provides examples of suitable control measures to consider. You should review the risk assessment periodically throughout the pregnancy.

You may also need to review the assessment when your member of staff returns from maternity leave or attends work for a Keeping In Touch (KIT) day whilst still breastfeeding.

If you need help with the risk assessment, or have concerns that risks cannot be controlled, speak to your link Employee Relations Adviser or a Health and Safety Adviser.

Facilities for rest, feeding or changing, expressing

You should ensure your member of staff is aware of the facilities available for rest, feeding or changing and expressing milk.

The Colchester campus has a Parent and Baby room (5A.223) and employees who have children at Wivenhoe Park Day Nursery can use the facilities there.

There are currently no designated parent and baby rooms at Southend and Loughton campuses. If a need for such a room is identified during the risk assessment process, you will need to put in place suitable alternative arrangements, such as finding a different room or offering maximum flexibility in terms of times and place of work.


The University also has a duty of care to pregnant students. Risk assessments should also identify whether a teaching activity, for example laboratory work, would put a pregnant student at risk and the precautions needed for their protection.

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Contact us
Occupational Health team
Telephone: 01206 872399