Recommendations on night shift work for pregnant doctors


  • Mary Corcoran
  • Univadis Medical News
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Doctors should have the right to not work night shifts or on-call shifts during the latter stages of pregnancy, without any negative consequences on salary, employment or career progression, according to new recommendations from the World Medical Association (WMA).

The organisation has published more than 20 new recommendations aimed at improving gender equality in medicine. The recommendations address issues such as work-life balance, workforce planning and research, changes in organisational culture, and pregnancy and parenthood.

The WMA says physicians should recognise that while an appropriate work-life balance is beneficial to all physicians, “women may face unique challenges to work-life balance imposed by societal expectations concerning gender roles that must be addressed to solve the issue”.

Eight recommendations are set out in the area of pregnancy and parenthood including that mothers should be able to breastfeed or be given protected time for breast pumping during work hours, within the current World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines.

It also recommends that parents should have the right to take adequate parental leave without negative consequences on future employment, training or career opportunities, and that they should also have the right to return to the same position after parental leave, without the fear of termination.