Learning for life: pregnancy

Life Long Learning and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) are the
processes by which professionals, such as nurses, develop and improve their

There are many ways to address CPD: formally, through attending courses,
study days and workshops; or informally, through private study and reflection.
Reading articles in professional journals is a good way of keeping up-to-date
with what is going on in the field of practice, but reflecting and identifying
what you have learnt is not always easy. These questions are designed to help
you to identify what you have learnt from studying the article. They will also
help you to clarify what you can apply to practice, what you did not understand
and what you need to explore further.

1 The earliest a pregnant woman can take maternity leave from work is

a) 30 weeks into pregnancy
b) 29 weeks into pregnancy
c) 25 weeks into pregnancy
d) 35 weeks into pregnancy

2 A new mother is defined by the European directives as a mother who has
given birth in the last:

a) six months or who is breastfeeding
b) 12 months
c) Nine months and is breastfeeding
d) 12 months and is breast feeding

3 Certain chemicals are known to be a health hazard to the foetus. How
may these chemicals enter the body?

a) inhalation
b) ingestion
c) absorption
d) all of the above

4 Which of the following microorganisms is known to cause damage to the

a) staphylococcus aureus
b) varicella
c) rubella
d) e coli

5 What should a pregnant employee be prepared to show her employer on

a) a certificate from a midwife or health visitor
b) an appointment card for the antenatal clinic
c) a certificate from a registered medical practitioner, midwife or health
visitor and an appointment card to show an appointment has been made
d) a letter from her doctor

6 A pregnant employee who is dismissed or selected for redundancy is
entitled to make a complaint of unfair dismissal to the

a) employer
b) employment tribunal
c) trade union
d) OH department

7 Time off for antenatal care must be paid at

a) the normal rate
b) not at all
c) at half pay
d) only if there is a problem with the pregnancy

8 OH nurses need to be aware of the specific risks that apply to pregnant
workers. What are the five stages of risk assessment?

a) identify the risk; identify who may be harmed; evaluate and control the
risks; record and review
b) identify the hazards; identify who may be harmed; evaluate and control the
risks; carry out an audit
c) identify the risk; identify who may be harmed; evaluate and control the
risks; carry out an audit
d) identify the hazards; identify who may be harmed; evaluate and control the
risks; record and review

9 Mrs A is a graphic designer who is 12 weeks pregnant. She spends most
of her time working on a computer. She is concerned about VDU screens and
pregnancy. As the OH nurse you would

a) reassure her that there is no risk to her or her unborn child
b) suggest that she gives up work during her pregnancy
c) reassure her that there is no risk to her or her unborn child and suggest a
risk assessment of her workstation and a discussion of her work programme
d) suggest she goes off sick so that she does not have to work on the VDU

10 Mrs B recently returned to work 12 weeks after giving birth to a
stillborn baby. Her line manager says that she is not working properly, is
depressed and therefore wants to dismiss her. Mrs B has turned to you for help.
You tell her

a) there is nothing you can do but suggests she sees her GP
b) she must see the OH physician
c) she cannot be dismissed as she is regarded as a new mother and she needs
help to overcome these problems. You offer to help organise this with her
manager and through her GP
d) she should discuss this with her line manager and that you cannot interfere


1b A woman can take maternity leave 11 weeks before the baby is born
– this is calculated from the estimated delivery date and would therefore be at
the 29th week of pregnancy 2a, 3d We handle chemicals every day of our
lives in some form or another. All workers who handle chemicals should have
adequate control measures in place to prevent them from entering the body by
any of these routes. For pregnant women these control measures should be
reassessed in order to ensure that they are adequate, 4c Any
microorganism in the wrong place at the wrong time may have an adverse effect
on a pregnant woman and/or her foetus. However, Rubella is known to
specifically affect the foetus and all women should have received immunisation
for Rubella before becoming pregnant, 5c, 6b, 7a, 8d see HSE document
Five Steps to Risk Assessment, 9c Although there is no specific risk to
the unborn child from VDUs there may be other factors within her job that may
cause health problems such as not being able to leave her work station,
colleagues who smoke at work and in rest areas, inadequate toilet facilities
etc, all of which should be reassessed in light of the pregnancy, 10c
Although the OH nurse may not be able to solve the problem of the depression,
she will be able to offer support and to speak to the manager for Mrs B, with
her permission. She may also be able to arrange an urgent appointment with the
GP and offer continued support during this difficult time.

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