Pregnancy, breastfeeding and reproductive health: workplace health

There are many employers who can create a safe work environment for mothers and mothers to be.

Reproductive health

Preparing for pregnancy increases the chance of a safe and successful pregnancy. Men and women need to take precautions up to 3 months before the pregnancy. Although working itself does not increase the risk of an unhealthy pregnancy, the work environment can affect the health of both parents and the unborn child. Reproductive hazards affect men as well. Sperm are vulnerable to their environment during the three months it takes for them to develop.

Reproductive hazards include:


Pregnancy-friendly work activities and policies are valuable and can:

Employees, managers and supervisors also need to be aware of some of the risks for pregnant workers. The risks are:

You can decrease these risks by planning ahead.

Best Start (Ontario’s Maternal Newborn and Early Child Development Resource Centre) provides some examples of how to decrease risks by:

Find out more

Online pregnancy planning workbook from Best Start Health Nexus to get you started:


Creating a work environment that supports mothers who choose to breastfeed is an important step to becoming a family-friendly workplace. Women who choose to work and raise children need to be confident that their workplace is supportive. No matter the unique characteristics of diverse jobs, all workplaces can support employees who choose to breastfeed. Efforts to support employees who wish to combine breastfeeding and work benefit the children’s and employee’s health. According to the World Health Organization breastfeeding is the best source of nourishment for infants and young children.

This document will help you create a breastfeeding friendly workplace.

Find out more

Ontario Human Rights Commission

Contact the Health Unit at 705.522.9200 or toll-free at 1.866.522.9200.

This item was last modified on April 30, 2020