The rights related to pregnancy, maternity and parenthood in the workplace have significantly evolved in recent decades. Such evolution has been triggered by important social changes, such as the increasing involvement of men in caring activities as well as the development of new forms of families in which children are being raised. Yet, these changes are not always adequately addressed by the existing legal framework. The article examines the pregnant workers directive (92/85/eec) and its interpretation and application in the case law of the court of justice of the european union, and concludes that it is in urgent need of reform. The conclusions are based on the evaluation of the related case law of the european court of human rights, in the light of the pending accession of the eu to the european convention on human rights.