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Introduction to Managing Pregnancy

GPS Managing Pregnancy icon logo
Managing Pregnancy
Parent and child hand's holding small red heart sculpture

Data from the American Dental Association’s (ADA) Health Policy Institute (HPI) shows a continuing upward trend in the percentage of women attending dental school from 1.1% in 1968 to 49.6% in 2017-18.

The ADA recognizes that this increase in the number of women entering the profession provides the Association with new opportunities to serve an important segment of the profession. In fact the ADA’s New Dentist Committee recently asked the Association to develop a specific resource to support pregnant dentists in different practice models. The New Dentist Committee, and the other ADA agencies involved in this project – the Board of Trustees, the Council on Dental Practice and the Council on Members Insurance and Retirement Programs – recognized that the individual’s needs and concerns would vary depending on whether they were a:

  • Pregnant dental practice owner.
  • Pregnant associate/employee dentist.
  • Dentist responsible for managing and coaching a staff that may include a pregnant woman or expectant parent.

This resource, the ADA Guidelines for Practice Success™ (GPS™) module on Managing Pregnancy, has been designed to meet the differing needs of each group. Content within this resource has been designed to address issues relating to both business operations and pregnancy health and wellness.

Pregnancy and the years that come after it should be a time of joyous celebration. This joyous and special time often begins with the realization that pregnancy, managing a family, and performing dentistry or working as part of the dental team can be a complicated balancing act that requires you to constantly reassess and shift priorities. Regrettably, no one can provide hard and fast answers for what decisions to make in any single situation.

The ADA Guidelines for Practice Success™ (GPS™) module on Managing Pregnancy offers helpful information and resources on federal legislation relating to pregnancy and nursing as well as on many of the health-related concerns that can be worrisome to expectant parents.

Managing Pregnancy: Practice Owners/Managers

Managing Pregnancy Resources

Business Operations:

Health & Wellness:

Managing Pregnancy: Associates/Dentist Employees

Business Operations:

Health & Wellness:

Managing Pregnancy: Staff

Business Operations:

Health & Wellness:


The American Dental Association thanks the following individuals for their contributions to this module:

  • Dr. Nima Aflatooni, Council on Dental Practice 2016-2020
  • Dr. Julia K. Mikell, Council on Dental Practice 2015-2019
  • Dr. Naomi Ellison, Council on Members Insurance and Retirement Programs 2014-2019, chair 2018-2019
  • Dr. Emily Mattingly, New Dentist Committee 2016-2020
  • Mr. Paul Edwards
  • Ms. Debra Engelhardt-Nash
  • Ms. Tamara James
  • Sarah Khoury, P.T., D.P.T.
  • Brandi Ring, M.D.
  • Mr. Tim Twigg

In addition to the individuals cited above, principal contributors to this publication include Dr. Pamela M. Porembski, director, Council on Dental Practice, Rita Tiernan, senior manager, Council on Members Insurance and Retirement Programs, Cynthia Kluck-Nygren, manager, Dental Team, Advocacy & Content Development, Dr. Diane Metrick, senior manager, Special Projects and Emerging Issues, and Alison Bramhall, manager, Dentist Health and Wellness. Special thanks to the ADA’s New Dentist Committee, Council on Dental Practice, Council on Members Insurance and Retirement Programs, and Council on Ethics, Bylaws, and Judicial Affairs for their review of and contributions to this module.


The American Dental Association created the ADA Guidelines for Practice Success™ (GPS™) module on Managing Pregnancy as a resource to help dentists in different practice models be aware of – and prepared for – many of the issues of concern for pregnant practitioners in different practice models and dentists who manage pregnant personnel. In making this resource available, the ADA does not, nor does it intend to, provide either legal or professional advice. None of the content in this module represents ADA’s legal or professional advice as to any particular situation you might face or any decisions you may need to make. Such guidance is most appropriately provided by a properly qualified professional, such as an attorney and/or human resources consultant who is knowledgeable about all related topics, including any regulations that may be specific to your state or jurisdiction. While some content within the ADA Guidelines for Practice Success™ (GPS™) module on Managing Pregnancy may discuss certain federal and state laws in very general terms, it does not and cannot address every federal and state law, rule or regulation that could apply.

This resource refers to various federal statutes and regulations, including those adopted by agencies such as the Department of Labor (DOL); Center for Disease Control (CDC); the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH); and Health and Human Services (HHS). None of the information in this module has been reviewed or approved by representatives of those or any other federal agencies.

Also, as this resource was produced in 2019, it’s important to recognize that legislation and the medical community’s standards of care continue to evolve. Therefore, while we believe this information will be a valuable tool to dentists at all stages of their careers and in all types of practice, we urge you to continue to pay attention as laws, rules, regulations and requirements may change at any time.

We have made every effort to make these materials useful and informative. As a consumer of this information, however, you must understand that laws vary between jurisdictions and that changes to those rulings may occur more frequently than this resource is updated. For that reason, we make no representations or warranties of any kind about the completeness, accuracy, or any other quality of these materials or any updates, and expressly disclaim all warranties, including without limitation all implied warranties (including any warranty as to merchantability and fitness for a particular use).

To the extent that we have included links to any websites, we intend no endorsement of their content and imply no affiliation with the organizations that provide their content. Nor do we make any representations or warranties about the information provided on those sites, which we do not control in any way.

We welcome your comments and suggestions regarding the ADA Guidelines for Practice Success™ (GPS™) module on Managing Pregnancy.