It is essential that expectant mothers look after their health and wellbeing, as pregnancy can cause strain both physically and emotionally. It is for this reason that it is important to attend ante-natal classes during pregnancy, where you will be offered support in staying healthy during pregnancy and also preparing for the birth. Ante-natal classes usually start when you are around 30-32 weeks pregnant (24 if expecting twins). As a University of Cambridge employee, you are entitled to time off with pay to attend ante-natal appointments, including classes. Further information on ante-natal appointments is provided by the NHS here.
There are various support groups available in the area, such as NCT Cambridge (formerly the National Childbirth Trust) who offer support and services with a range of both ante-natal and post-natal courses (for example a solid foods workshop, and mother & baby yoga). The NHS also provides a list of pregnancy support groups and charities.
Support through pregnancy and parenting can also be sought online, with forums available such as Netmums, who provide tips, general information, a ‘what’s on’ search function within your area and the opportunity to connect with other current or expectant mothers.
Further information is available on the Addenbrooke’s Rosie Hospital webpages on health and wellbeing during pregnancy, including diet tips and exercise during pregnancy. They also provide guidance on emotional wellbeing during pregnancy, including post-natal depression, or the ‘baby blues’. There is also a pre and post-natal depression section among the Clinical School wellbeing webpages.
Pregnancy at Work
Under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999, employers are required to take health and safety risks in to account for new and expectant mothers in the workplace, and suitable risk assessments should be carried out accordingly. Therefore it is important to inform your manager as soon as possible if you may be pregnant. Whilst most women are able to safely continue working during pregnancy and soon after the birth, there are sometimes specific risks which may affect the health and safety of an expectant mother and/or her child, or a new mother returning to work. Expectant or new mothers should be made aware of any potential risks identified through this process, and if the risk cannot be removed then temporary adjustments can be made to the working conditions.
If you are a new mother and wish to continue breastfeeding upon your return to work, your Department should be informed in writing so that the risk assessment for nursing mothers can be reviewed. While a suitable private space should be planned within the Department for breastfeeding, Occupational Health are also able to provide a suitable room (but cannot guarantee access every day of the week). Further information on breastfeeding at work is available here.