Pregnant Female


I am sure you have received the below question before.  What is HWC’s position about  having a pregnant student to go through the training?


This is probably the most frequently asked question we’ve received over the years.  My position on this has morphed over time.

My original position concerning 1st trimester and training was, pregnant women are smart. They can make their own decision about what they can and cannot perform in training and, as a trainer, we simply document what they were and were not able to perform.

After more than three decades, we have no idea how many 1st trimester women have been taken down with the PRT, both, in training and as clients in actual restraints.  Likewise, we have no idea how many 1st trimester woman have performed PRT takedowns, either, in training or with clients.  I can say, we have never received a report of a miscarriage to any woman, regardless of trimester, in the history of HWC.

I make the distinction between 1st trimester and 2nd and 3rd trimester because, in most cases, a woman in the 1st trimester likely doesn’t even know she is pregnant until after the fact.  2nd and 3rd trimester should be treated differently, because in most cases, whether she is an employee or a client, we know she is pregnant and have a responsibility to develop a policy that makes sense and protects everyone concerned.

In my opinion, the best policy in 2016 is to take either of two approaches with employees:  1) As you are doing, leave it up to her OB Gyn to decide (in which no OB Gyn would ever approve of something like performing restraining maneuvers); 2) have UHS develop a clear policy that states, if you/we know you are pregnant you cannot participate in this training.

How would you suggest recording those accommodations for certification or recertification purposes?

If the agency decides to allow her to participate in those elements that make sense (depending upon what trimester she is in and her overall health), I would treat it the same way as you should do for every employee you put through the training, i.e., a “proficiency (“Can do – Can’t do”) checklist”.   For instance; cannot perform a Standing PRT. Reason: third trimester pregnancy and send the document on to Human Resources.  All an instructor does at the Basic level is train them and document what they could and could not perform.  You are not really “certifying” them in the same sense that HWC Certifies Instructors and issues them teaching certificates.


  1. At what point do the accommodations effect certification/recertification?
    As I said, you are not “certifying” Basic students per se’.  Your very best employee could blow out her knee playing volleyball and be unable to perform during that particular class.  You are simply documenting what she was and was not able to perform that day.
  2. Would you suggest or require some type of refresher course for that staff member upon clearance from their doctor?
    You could make them participate in a full refresher course or an Instructor could just take them through everything on your checklist during a mini session.  If you are confident enough to sign off on them, so am I.
  3. Per HWC standards what qualifies as a refresher course/what are the requirements of such?
    If they have been trained previously and are returning from pregnancy or an acute injury, I would be satisfied with having them demonstrate everything on your check list, as long as you document it.

I am using pregnancy in this example but I think this would also apply to staff who had just had surgery or was severely injured.