Pregnant Workers in Kentucky

At a Glance:

Location: Louisville, Kentucky

Date: 2019

Vital Condition: Basic Needs for Health and Safety, Belonging and Civic Muscle, Meaningful Work and Wealth

Determinants of Health: employment, belonging and civic muscle, nutrition, meaningful work and wealth, physical activity, meaningful work and wealth

Affected Population: N/A

Research Methods: Literature review, Qualitative research, Quantitative research

Community Types: rural, suburban, tribal, urban

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The Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness conducted an HIA to analyze the potential health effects of the Kentucky Pregnant Workers’ Act. The bill proposed to ensure reasonable workplace accommodations for women during pregnancy, such as reducing heavy lifting, bending, or standing and exposure to chemicals, heavy metals, and loud noises; providing consistent access to water; and designating a safe private space for pumping breast milk.

The study found that making such accommodations for pregnant employees, especially those who work in manufacturing or other industries that require manual labor, can protect against negative health outcomes for women and their unborn children. Further, enabling women to continue working during pregnancy safeguards a critical source of income for many families.


The HIA helped inform decision-makers as well as various chambers of commerce about the health benefits of the Kentucky Pregnant Workers’ Act, which became law in June 2019.

This Health Impact Assessment Report first appeared in The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health. The Cross-Sector Toolkit for Health was originally developed by the Health Impact Project, formerly a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts. The creation of this resource was supported by a grant from the Health Impact Project. The views expressed are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Pew Charitable Trusts, or the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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