Pregnant nurse: scared of problems with baby from working as a nurse.

  1. Hi all. I'm 19 weeks pregnant and work as a float nurse on telemetry units. Recently I have become so paranoid about being exposed to sick patients at work that I have a fear of acquiring birth defects from exposure to random things. As a nurse I already know what I can and cannot be around in the hospital setting, but again I'm paranoid because I feel like sometimes patients aren't diagnosed right away or sometimes you may not even know what they have. I need some reassurance because it's starting to cause too much stress on me. Thanks for any words of advice
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   Maevish
    From what all my pregnant coworkers/friends have said to me over the years, you just use common sense. There are certain patients you will be excluded from caring for if you're pregnant so that kinda takes care of some of the issue. The rest is just do what makes sense. If someone's coughing every time you go in a room and they're in with PNA or something else infections, maybe wear a mask and take extra care when soaping in and out of the room.

    Also, be extra careful of your back because your center of gravity will change and you don't want to hurt yourself!

    That being said, there are those women who milk their pregnancies for all they're worth (my sister-in-law being one of them) and use that as the main excuse as to why they can barely do anything stressful at work. We had a nurse like that where I worked years ago and it was almost pointless to have her on the shift because she "couldn't" go into so-and-so's room, she couldn't even lift a pt's leg for a dressing change, the list went on and on. Very frustrating/annoying for everybody else (and sometimes the pts).

    Most of my friends have worked until a few weeks before their due date and none of them have had issues with anything. Just be careful with your body and mindful of handwashing/sanitary things and you should be fine.

    xo
  4. by   elkpark
    Nurses have worked through their pregnancies for generations without it being any big deal. And I'm with Maevish; there are few things more annoying at work than nurses who continue to come to work pregnant but spend all day explaining they can't do this, that, or the other because they're pregnant and expect all the rest of us to do everything for them because they're pregnant. If you can't or don't want to do the job, then stay home.

    All my nurse friends with kids worked through their pregnancies without any problems. Best wishes!
  5. by   springchick1
    Quote from elkpark
    Nurses have worked through their pregnancies for generations without it being any big deal. And I'm with Maevish; there are few things more annoying at work than nurses who continue to come to work pregnant but spend all day explaining they can't do this, that, or the other because they're pregnant and expect all the rest of us to do everything for them because they're pregnant. If you can't or don't want to do the job, then stay home.
    Yes! You're pregnant, not disabled. We've had some that have been like that and it is miserable for everyone else. Be smart but also do your work.
  6. by   quazar
    L&D nurse here. First and foremost, I always tell my patients that they should discuss any concerns they have with their provider. Why not sit down with your doc/midwife and lay out your worries so that they can help put your fears to rest and also give you specific guidelines so you will feel more in control and less fearful? It's totally okay to ask anything, nothing will sound ridiculous. I have taken care of many pregnant nurses over the years, who worked in many different specialties, from ICU to ER to Peds. They all did fine. I worked through both of my pregnancies up until time of delivery.

    It's normal to be worried. In my last month of pregnancy with my first baby, some very bad things happened at work patient-wise that caused me a lot of anxiety. Even though I logically understood the risks in my nurse brain, my mommy brain overrode that and made it very hard to see anything objectively at that point. I had to go in and see my midwife and talk to her because I was so upset and anxious. She helped me, and bless her, she also gave me a dose of anxiety medication to help peel me off the ceiling.

    Being a pregnant nurse is hard, because you know too much. Talk to your provider about your specific concerns. You won't look paranoid or weird or stupid, I promise you. It will help. Best of luck to you.
  7. by   OCNRN63
    I worked with a few nurses who acted like they were the first females to ever have to work as nurses. "Oh, I can't do this" ""I can't do that" even though they were perfectly capable of doing said tasks. One tried to sit on her can and do "desk work" practically from the moment of conception.

    I echo the sentiments of springchick. Pregnancy is not a disability.
  8. by   nursemcsleepy
    Use proper PPE and you and the baby should be fine. Nurses actually have a very low rate of birth defects related to exposure because of the amount of hand washing, gloves, and infection control we use every day. Apparently teachers have a much higher risk than us because they're exposed to kids with things like parvo, CMV, etc. without being aware.

    Don't slosh chemo all over yourself or bathe in feces, and you should be okay.
  9. by   Alisonisayoshi
    I'm currently pregnant, and I'm off work until I can be floated elsewhere, but it's mostly due to the exact work I do, which includes certain sterile processing in my area that requires use of known harmful and toxic chemicals. The thought is moving me to Med Surg as a break nurse, but I'm a little freaked out by that because it's far from what I know/do, or putting me in patient navigation (outpatient case management of chronic illness), until my pregnancy is over. Really, as long as I am away from the chemicals, my team of doctors (stupid high risk pregnancy) is in agreement that working as a nurse is (in general) not harmful.
  10. by   jjmm RN,BSN
    I'm currently 33 weeks and have been working full time on a med-surg unit. I take all precautions patients I'm given, with the obvious exception of CMV and shingles, but my coworkers understand that and wouldn't give me those patients anyway. Just practice good precautions and you will be fine. Since I'm getting big now, I generally don't do things like boost or lift the larger patients, but I still do that for most patients too, I just use good body mechanics like always. I plan on taking my leave at 38 weeks, only because I don't think I will be able to be on my feet running around continuously for 12-14 hours anymore after that. Happy pregnancy!
  11. by   KarenMS
    I do hate the line "you're pregnant, not disabled." Pregnancy is different for everyone, and for me, it felt like a disability. I was nauseated 24/7 despite the constant Zofran and my sciatica was out of control. Not everyone can function normally, while others barely register anything is different besides a big belly.

    With that said, I knew my limitations by Pregnancy #2 and went out on maternity leave by 34 weeks. I was lucky enough to do so, however. I feel for anyone who felt like I did during pregnancy and still had to work for financial reasons.
  12. by   RNJV
    Dear OP,

    Like you I'm currently 20 weeks pregnant working on a telemetry floor. I informed my managers and director early on about it so they would be a little more mindful when assigning certain patients to me such as a shingles patient or a violent one. However other than that it has been business as usual at work. I don't have restrictions other than not trying to lift a very heavy patient and I utilize appropriate PPE if an isolation patient has for example MRSA in their sputum.

    In some circumstances I may get a cancer patient who is actively undergoing chemo and to be safe I just switch patients with a coworker but like others have stated as long as you are careful there really is no reason to be afraid to work while pregnant. On that note I plan to work until I deliver. Best of luck to you.
  13. by   HopefulRN7
    *Not preggers*, however it is possibly in my near future. Currently working in home care with a pt that receives IV chemo at clinic and oral chemo at home admin by the parents. I come in contact with oral secretions from teething but don gloves for trach suctioning (unless emergent).
    Would this situation be considered a hazard for a pregnant person since chemo is usually excreted through bodily fluids?
  14. by   Just.Blessed.RN
    For the most part, I believe that the nurse manager should not assign certain patients to pregnant nurses...and paying more attention to keeping your hands clean should prevent problems. But that is a major reason why I switched from Med/Surg to psych as my husband and I try to get pregnant! Hopefully the work is a little less physically demanding and I can work up until delivery!!

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