Long hours of standing, drug exposure risk

Women pharmacists often struggle silently with miscarriage, says advocacy group

Female pharmacists have taken to social media to share stories of heartbreak and loss due to miscarriage, says the Pharmacist Moms Group (PMG).

The advocacy group for women pharmacists in the US has approximately 35,000 members.

“Members often share stories of heartbreak and loss due to miscarriage,” said PMG in the Pharmacy Times.

“Many of these women suffer while losing the baby even, sometimes while working, before heading home to bleed on an oversized pad telling themselves to stay strong.

“Pharmacists often worry about sharing these struggles with employers for fear of losing their jobs.

“In fact, many moms who are pharmacists have shared that they are so dedicated to their patients that they delay using the restroom when they suspect that they are bleeding.”

PMG said some study results have found that certain health care professionals, such as pharmacists, may be at increased occupational risk of miscarriage or stillbirth because of exposure to certain medications—for example, antineoplastic agents.

“Additionally, pharmacists typically work unusually long hours while standing and seldom have breaks, which can further increase the risk of miscarriage,” said the group.

The CDC suggests that pregnant working women may want to reduce or avoid standing for a long time, and may benefit from sitting down during breaks.

Although miscarriage is common – with approximately one in four pregnancies ending in miscarriage, it is also a “taboo” topic, PMG explains.

“It can leave women with a sense of loss and longer-term emotional consequences, particularly in cases of multiple miscarriages.

“The fact that miscarriages are common does not diminish the trauma that may occur because of pregnancy loss, both to the body and mind.”

PMG called for organisations employing pharmacists to create and foster supportive environments that help make female pharmacists feel safe and supported during what can be a very difficult time.

In Australia, a woman employee whose  pregnancy ends after at least 12 weeks because of a miscarriage can take unpaid special maternity leave, if they were eligible for unpaid parental leave.

The Raising Children network explains that expectant mothers may need to change their job duties; hours of work; use of work equipment; travel arrangements; and work environment.

“Your employer is responsible for creating a safe workplace for you during your pregnancy,” it says.

Under fair work legislation, all pregnant employees including casuals are entitled to move to a safe job if it isn’t safe for them to do their usual job because of their pregnancy. This includes employees that aren’t eligible for unpaid parental leave.

An employee who moves to a safe job will still get the same pay rate, hours of work and other entitlements that she got in her usual job.

She and her employer can agree on different working hours, and she will stay until it’s safe to go back to her normal job, or until she gives birth.

If there is no safe job available the employee can take no safe job leave. If the employee is entitled to unpaid parental leave, no safe job leave is paid.

The Pharmacists’ Support Service (PSS) is available every day between 8am and 11pm EST on 1300 244 910.

Trained pharmacist volunteers are available to offer support related to the many demands of being a pharmacist in Australia.

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