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Discrimination Against Pregnancy Can Harm Baby


New research shows that discrimination against pregnant women in the workplace has profound effects on the baby and the mother, both before and after birth.

“The stress that women have during pregnancy as a result of the perceived pregnancy discrimination can increase their chances of having post-partum depression. And for their baby, we’re finding that they’re giving birth earlier, the birthweight for their babies is lower, and the number of doctor’s visits for the child increases,” said Ashley Mandeville, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the Department of Management at Florida Gulf Coast University.

She says that doing away with pregnancy discrimination in the workplace can be tricky because people respond differently.

“Some women need maybe more time off, more flexible hours, but some want to lean into their work during pregnancy and take on those challenging projects.”

So how can a manager help lessen these harmful health outcomes? Talk to your employee.

“Help by having an open dialogue and open communication,” Mandeville said.

She and her colleagues published their work this month in theJournal of Applied Psychology.