Pregnancy and Critical Care Nursing

  1. Hello all! I have a question regarding being pregnant in nursing...

    3 months ago, I transferred from an orthopedic floor to a cardiac ICU. I found out yesterday that I am 5 weeks pregnant (yay!), but got to thinking about work...

    I have heard that varicella/chicken pox patients are the only isolation patients you are not supposed to care for. Are there any other restrictions while pregnant?

    When should you tell your supervisors about your pregnancy? I didn't think I wanted to tell them right away, but then I thought that maybe they could be aware when making patient assignments.

    What do you all think?

  2. Visit rach2103 profile page

    About rach2103

    Joined: Oct '08; Posts: 10; Likes: 7
    Cardiac ICU RN
    Specialty: 3 year(s) of experience in General Surgical, Ortho, Cardiac ICU


  3. by   caroladybelle
    Avoid pts who are eceiving Ritonivir, and use strict chemo precautions with hazardous drugs and antivirals like gancyclovir
  4. by   Caffeine_IV
    I'm not sure but we do avoid letting the pregnant nurses give chemo although if they follow the precautions...gown and glove when handling the chemo (it comes already spiked and primed) and the patient's urine/secretions..I THINK it shouldn't be an issue.
  5. by   ICUMelissa
    I work Critical Care and am almost 9 weeks pregnant...besides chicken pox/varicella, you are not supposed to be around VRE. I also asked our intensivist about TB, and he said to avoid them because the anti-TB meds aren't good for pregnant women. Hope this helps!
  6. by   tablefor9
    What they said, because those are inherent dangers in ICU; but, because of the workload in the units I worked in when pregnant with babies 1-3, I found the most dangerous things were the inability to stay hydrated and fed and take regular bladder breaks.

    Mentioning your pregnancy may become unavoidable if you have patient assignments that you need to switch off.

  7. by   Caffeine_IV
    I forgot to say Congrats op!!
  8. by   TiffyRN
    I work in NICU. We restrict pregnant nurses from caring for infants with active CMV infections, also Parvo. I know that's pretty random but those are really nasty infections for a fetus.
  9. by   MissBrahmsRN
    congrats! i'm a critical care RN. wear support hose (i wear those every single shift), STAY HYDRATED, take potty breaks, snack if you can, get lots of sleep. i think ALL of those are important. if you have a good relationship with your management and coworkers i would tell them. they will be more understanding of needing to sit down some more, needing to refuse certain assignments, etc. dunno where you work but we have alot of DTers & drug abusers, kicking, trying to hit, restraints, you could be kicked in the belly and your child endangered. be careful.
  10. by   BluegrassRN
    We try to avoid giving our preggers nurses anyone in isolation, anyone with shingles, and anyone who is violent. That said, sometimes it isn't possible to avoid those patients depending on the census. We aren't going to overload one nurse with heavy patients so that the pregnant nurse can always have the light, easy ones, either. Pregnant nurse might give a lot of blood for example in exchange for not having some of the isolation or violent patients.

    On reason we try to avoid isolation patients is the gowns and mask are so hot, we've had a few preggers nurses get light headed and have a bit of a syncopal episode due to overheating in the gown!
  11. by   lrobinson5
    I think you need to tell your supervisor PDQ about your pregnancy. They need to know your situation so they don't ask you to do things that you really shouldn't. Not to mention people might think you are slacking if you ask for extra breaks etc.

  12. by   evolvingrn
    I asked my dr because im 10 weeks pregnant and she said to not worry about varicella. I do have a positive titer but she said while she wouldn't go purposefully exposing myself to those conditions the only one she would recommend i restrict myself from caring for was CMV. I haven't told my work yet but im starting to show unfortuantely so i will have to tell them in the next couple weeks. The one thing that is a concern for me is combative pts / delerium I had a pt that tried to punch me in my stomach a few weeks ago and yesterday i had two pts with combative histories....both were fine but those are unpredictable situaitons that make me nervous. For the most part my pts are really great so this is rarely an issue but i work in acute inpatient hospice so delerium and terminal restlessness can happen when you least expect it.
    Last edit by evolvingrn on Dec 24, '10
  13. by   ElvishDNP
    I don't work in ICU - I work nursery and postpartum - but I told my coworkers fairly soon after finding out for assignment purposes as well (I'm now 17+ weeks). Even still, I've had to switch assignments a couple times because mine turned out to be an inappropriate one (f. ex., one couplet with a baby that had to be ruled out for CMV). CMV, varicella, and TB are the biggies on my floor that have to be avoided by the pregos.

  14. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from lrobinson5
    i think you need to tell your supervisor pdq about your pregnancy. they need to know your situation so they don't ask you to do things that you really shouldn't. not to mention people might think you are slacking if you ask for extra breaks etc.

    [font="comic sans ms"]congratulations to the original poster on her pregnancy!

    i'm not sure quite how to break this to all of you, but if you ask for extra breaks, lighter assignments and to avoid all isolation patients, you are slacking. pregnancy is not an illness, it's a condition, and many people choose to be in that condition. i work in an icu and currently, six of the 8 nurses on shift with me are in various stages of pregnancy or trying to get pregnant. eight of our 15 patients are in isolation, four of them weigh more than 300 pounds, three of them are nasty and/or violent and one is just a pain in the posterior. it just isn't possible for me and the two men on shift to take care of all of those patients while the 6 pregnant women have the light, easy and non-isolated patients.

    as for the breaks, i was once standing in line for the employee bathroom and a pregnant coworker tried to jump ahead of me in the line "because i'm pregnant." my response was "i'm on diuretics and i really do have to pee. you just think you have to." she apologized and waited her turn. your pregnancy is an awesome and wonderful thing, but it does not entitle you to more or longer breaks than anyone else. and as for lifting -- you might find yourself working with the nurse with the back injury who can barely do her own lifting and isn't about to do yours to.