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anyone working nights/shift work?

(13 Posts)
SilverSixpence Thu 03-Apr-08 13:16:59

I have just been told that I will not be allowed to stop night shifts at work during my pregnancy, unless there is a specific medical problem. I have the usual tiredness, occasional dizzy spells, headaches etc but otherwise its a normal pregnancy. Am just wondering how other people have coped/are coping doing night shifts? I will be working up to 37 weeks so its a bit of a worry.

callmeovercautious Thu 03-Apr-08 13:25:52

Did they risk assess you?

Have a look here and maybe give them a call

Where I am a Pregnant woman would be offered the chance to switch to days - although she would not get the same money. I would be a chioce not a change in duties for H&S. Perhaps we are just nice employers grin

meebles Thu 03-Apr-08 15:26:07

That seems very unreasonable to me! When I was pregnant I felt like a bit of a liability at work just working day shifts (earlies/lates) let alone nights. (thank goodness for self rostering!)

This article from the sBMJ suggests that:
"There is rather strong evidence in support of an association between shift work and pregnancy outcome in terms of miscarriage, low birth weight, and preterm birth" not to mention the deleterious effect that shifts/nights has on your work performance and health anyway.

SilverSixpence Thu 03-Apr-08 19:12:49

yes well unfortunately doctors are the worst people at taking their own advice! I work as a junior doctor, and seem to be expected to just get on with it - no help from occupational health or my manager as they want to save their budgets hmm

callmeovercautious Thu 03-Apr-08 19:14:23

That does not mean they can get away without Risk Assessing you. You have the right to a RA.

Blocky Fri 04-Apr-08 22:35:38

Under the Health and Safety At Work Act 1974 Your employers have a duty to you in terms of your health safety and wellbeing while at work. This is even more important for expectant mothers.

They MUST MUST MUST carry out a risk assessment. Grrrr - Employers make me soooo angry sometimes! angry

As soon as a pregnancy is confirmed, a risk assessment must be carried out. This is the law under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 (Regulation 16).

They must accommodate you, what your tasks normally are, and should consider shift changes, identify whether you may be at risk from any chemical, biological or physical agents or processes that may cause harm to you or the unborn child. More often than not it is not the medical problems that affect our performance at work - but the tiredness, nausea, dizziness etc etc

Extreme shifts, such as nights are a major cause of stress anyway (which I don't need to tell you!). They must have a very good reason if they are not permitting a change in shift patterns - are they providing you with somewhere to rest on these night shifts? That should be done even if you were a 9-5 office worker.

I would look into it a bit further - if you have a HR dept or employee relations dept I would give them a bit of a kick up the backside. Best of luck!

smileyhappymummy Sun 06-Apr-08 08:56:29

I am a junior doctor too, was doing an obs and gynae job when I was pregnant and also worked till 37 weeks. Didn't do night shifts as I'd had previous medical problems which I felt might be made worse by working nights whilst pregnant. Don't expect help from your manager or HR, you will need to MAKE them give it to you. Sometimes occupational health can be supportive, I made my own appointment to go and see one of the occ health consultants who was lovely - had had a couple of faints so she said I shouldn't do theatre work as well as nights. Your GP can also be helpful, and if you are struggling with tiredness and night shifts may be prepared to write you a med 3 saying you can only do limited duties ie not nights. However, I would force them into doing a risk assessment (start sending them letters with copies of health and safety legislation attached!) and take it from there. Whilst they will refuse to let you stop doing nights unless there is a medical reason, it will be up to you to find a medical reason - which can be as simple as saying that your tiredness and dizziness is becoming too debilitating. Also worth contacting the BMA too (though you may need to tell them what the law is as well - I found this when I contacted them for support in breastfeeding once back at work!)
Good luck! Junior doctoring can be a very unsympathetic place for pregnant mums, but you'll get there. It may be worth chatting to other people who you know have children (but beware the odd martyr who tells you they worked 124 hours a week until the day they delivered and can't see anything wrong with it!)

smellyeli Mon 07-Apr-08 21:11:17

I am a medical registrar, off on mat leave with number two (41 weeks and still waiting!) Definitely evidence (from the States, mainly) that night work in the third trimester is not great, and the BMA support this - I think the current guidance is that you should stop nights in the third trimester, even without specific problems, and you should not be down banded in terms of salary, as that is discrimination.(although I also had to kind of tell them what the rules were too!)

I did on-calls until 28 weeks with number 1, and 31 weeks with number 2. Saw Occ. Health the first time around, and got officially 'signed off' because of fatigue - no kidding! - but second time around just negotiated with thankfully supportive HR/rota manager. It also helped that second time around I was on the crash team and was getting to be a bit of a liability in terms of getting places quickly/doing CPR etc., so they were actually quite keen for me to stop because of governance issues..... I agree that Occ Health and/or your GP can be helpful - and if being 'signed off' nights is what it takes then let it happen - it's hard enough working and gestating at the same time without doing nights, which are pants even for non-pregnant people!

It's very difficult not to feel that you should keep on keeping on, not let the side down etc. but in the end only you will look after yourself - and you will be glad you did when you meet your baby - I felt a lot less bad about cutting myself some slack second time around. Good luck with everything.

fleximum Mon 07-Apr-08 21:19:24

I too am a medical registrar currently on mat leave - obviously there are quite a few of us. Agree with above: you will have to push to get what you need. I was commuting over an hour each way and doing night shifts with ds1. Couldn't get to see occupational health as they said they didn't routinely see pregnant women. Ended up signed of for a week by my Gp with fatigue. Only this persuaded them to see me and agreed to let me stop nights. With second one I saw occ health early. They suggested stop nights from 24 weeks then no long on calls from 28 weeks. Worked really well. You should still be paid your full salary.
Good luck sorting it all out. I'm afraid you will just have to be tough with them. The sooner you can get it sorted, the easier it will be for them to get the your shifts covered.

chloeb2002 Tue 08-Apr-08 00:01:18

hi i am a nurse and have a friend who had five weeks off work as a nurse as she was expected to work 8 nights a fortnight! as well as two long days. She went through the whole HR/ Oc health and manager route and was told that it was her managers decision. the manager said no. So her GP put her on the sick for 5 weeks. she returned to the ward ate 30 weeks ish and diod one more week of nights.. i think it was the managers way of biting back before the manager turned round out of teh blue and said.... oh dear you dont look wtoo weel maybe you had better swap to working days! ummmmm. call me a cynic and i know how hard jnr docs have it but i am glad in a way that the whole hospital system seems to be uncaring about its staff and not just the nurses!something should be done really.....

madamez Tue 08-Apr-08 00:11:58

I worked a fair few night shifts in 2nd trimester with no real ill effects but my work was not very demanding physically (sitting at a computer) and I was used to sleep deprivation at that point. But everyone is different and if you are feeling ill you need to make sure that you get everything you are legally entitled to.

Katemoores1992 Wed 31-Dec-14 09:12:13

I'm 6 weeks pregnant and the last 3 weeks I was off work sick as was ? Ectopic having pains etc during this time I was meant to be working 3 weeks of night shifts the rotation on our ward is that u do 2 weeks of nights and then back to day shifts for everyone but as it was Xmas the 3 weeks was not unusual for people to do im due back in work now as all seems ok with baby scan to find they have put me on 4 nights shifts even though I should be back on days it's all abit much straight away is this fair I feel like I'm being punished for being off its making me want to quit which they probably want

comeagainforbigfudge Wed 31-Dec-14 12:24:28

Have you had a risk assessment?
My manager told me that they can't put me on days only as well its part of my job to do a certain number of nights per month. However if I'm starting to struggle with them I've to go back to them and they'll try and accommodate me. I seem to be okay on nights so far (apart from nausea and tiredness).

However If it starts to get harder and if they start being difficult i'll be going to my gp. Although tbh nights can be much easier than days in my place.

I'm lucky I can self roster so try to split my nights. So do 2 days and a night then the opposite.

Do you have any crazy colleagues that like to do nights? I have a few so will swap shifts with them if I really need to!!

Also when is your due date? Can you use annual leave to finish earlier? Mines is June so new annual leave year, will take it all before mat leave starts.

Well that's the plan anyway.

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