As summarized in the recent Harvard Business Review article, 5 Ways Managers Can Support Pregnant Employees, there are ways to reduce detrimental experiences that affect health and well-being outcomes for pregnant faculty, staff, students, and their babies. The article links to two studies that examined workplace experiences related to pregnancy discrimination specifically and to health-related outcomes. The researchers found that an uptick in work-related stress raised the risks for postpartum depression, increased the number of doctor’s visits for the mother, and lowered birth weights and gestational ages for the baby. The authors provide actionable strategies to assist those who are pregnant, including creating a more positive inclusive work environment and offering supportive practices such as flexible work scheduling and parental leave.
Michigan Tech faculty, staff, and students have rights and protections under University policies. Parental Leave policies and procedures for faculty/staff and graduate students were recently updated and the undergraduate student procedures are under revision. Supervisors should become familiar with these updated policies and follow them in a supportive manner that minimizes stress for pregnant faculty, staff, and students. The purpose of these policies is to give parents flexibility and quality time with their new child, adjust to their new family situation, provide adequate time for physical recovery, and dynamically shift back and forth between professional and home obligations. Additionally, anyone at Michigan Tech facing pregnancy discrimination or unnecessary stress navigating these policies should consult the Pregnancy and Parenting Discrimination section of the Title IX webpage (https://www.mtu.edu/title-ix/resources/pregnant-parenting-students/). The “Report a Concern” resource (https://www.mtu.edu/deanofstudents/students/concern/) is always available. Further, everyday actions from each member of our community can convey support and appreciation for the past, current, and future contributions of our pregnant colleagues.
For additional information, Michigan Tech’s Pregnant and Parenting Resources webpage has information and resources available. The Pregnant Scholar https://thepregnantscholar.org/title-ix-basics/ is also an excellent resource.
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