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Prevent heat-related illnesses during pregnancy

Photo: Sutthichai Supapornpasupad/gettyimages

Pregnancy increases the risk of heatstroke or heat exhaustion on the job because the body must work harder to cool itself, according to OSHA. Pregnant workers are also more likely to become dehydrated, “a primary contributor to heat-related illness.”

Pregnant workers should pay close attention to symptoms that could lead to heatstroke or heat exhaustion, including headache or nausea, weakness/dizziness, heavy sweating or hot and dry skin, elevated body temperature, thirst, decreased urine output, and an increase in sporadic contractions or cramping.

OSHA recommends that pregnant workers talk with a health care provider to determine if job restrictions or accommodations are necessary.

Other recommendations:

  • Drink cool water.
  • Take breaks in shaded or cool areas.
  • Ease into hot work environments.
  • Monitor work intensity.
  • Dress for the heat.
  • Eat water-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables.

Meanwhile, OSHA encourages all co-workers to be on the lookout for symptoms such as slurred speech, seizures or fainting. Workers experiencing these symptoms should be cooled down immediately with ice or water. Call 911, stay with the person experiencing the symptoms and, if possible, move them to a shaded area.

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