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Working during pregnancy: general advice

This page contains general information on working during pregnancy and maternity, as well as information regarding your rights and responsibilities to your employer. This guidance was developed by the RCOG Training Committee, but it is also applicable post-CCT.

You should also review your employer’s policy on maternity leave.

Informing your employer

Your employer must be notified (through the Human Resources department), of your pregnancy at least 15 weeks before your baby is due. This is approximately 25 weeks. You may need to inform your employer if you are experiencing pregnancy-related issues that interfere with your work (e.g. morning sickness). It is a good idea to inform your line manager/clinical supervisor and the director of your training program.

After you have informed your employer in writing about your pregnancy, they should conduct an individual risk assessment. This assessment will examine your job, hazards and potential risks as a pregnant lady. There are no guidelines for pregnant women regarding how much work adjustments should be made.


The relevant paperwork will be sent to you by your HR department. Keep several copies of your MATB1 form. This will be given to you by your midwife starting in the 21st week.

Pregnancy care

Prenatal appointments are covered by your right to leave time. It is best to inform your unit as soon as possible as they may need to arrange rotas. Your normal pay should be continued (i.e. no deductions for time off to care for an antenatal span>

Health during your pregnancy

It is important to eat right, exercise regularly, and take the time to rest during pregnancy. Employers are legally required by law to offer suitable rest facilities for pregnant workers.

It’s not a good idea to save all your annual leave for maternity leave, and then take it right before you go on maternity leave.

Illness during pregnancy

Pregnancy illness is classified based on the stage.

Sick leave arrangements for pregnant women are generally the same as those for non-pregnant coworkers if the illness occurs before the fourth week before the expected week to childbirth (roughly 36 week). You should verify this with your trust’s absence policy.

Your employer may offer to pay your maternity leave and pay if the illness occurs within four weeks of your due date.

You may be able arrange for sick leave or reduced hours if you have difficulties that prevent you from carrying out your normal duties. The following guidelines usually apply:

  • Discussing your health with your doctor (GP, hospital consultant)
  • A letter from your medical advisor to your trust must be sent to you stating that you are requesting to reduce or terminate your work hours.
  • You might contact your trust’s occupational healthcare department.
  • Your trust needs to review your work week taking into consideration your safety and health.
  • It would be a relief if you weren’t forced to stop working due to pregnancy-related health issues.

Find out more

For more information on working during pregnancy, please see the list.

This section also contains

  • Guidance on carrying out your normal duties during pregnancy
  • Special considerations: Adoption, Miscarriage, Stillbirth, Premature Birth, Loss of a Baby, Assisted Conception Treatments, Adoption, Premature Birth, Premature Birth, Miscarriage, Stillbirth, Pregnancy
  • Information regarding maternity leave, paternity leaves and maternity pay
  • Guideline for returning to work after a pregnancy

Talk to your employer about specific issues. The BMA can provide individualized advice. As a support source, you can also turn to the RCOG Trainees’ Committee and your Trainee Representative.

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