pregnant NICU nurses question?

  1. Hello, everyone! Been a nurse for 4 years now (did everything, but NICU & mother/baby) and just got offered a NICU interview for a preceptorship/full time position. I LOVE caring for babies (did so in Family Practice & Pediatrics) and am exploring to see if NICU or mother/baby is the best "fit" for me.

    I do have a BIG concern though.....if my hubby and I plan on getting pregnant in the future what types of risks will I place on my pregnancy should I accept the NICU position? NICU involves alot of x-rays, viral illneses (RSV, pneumonia, others) and etc...compared to lets say mother/baby, right? My priority is having healthy children and just don't want to risk that in any way......Thank you all for your reply...... - rn_happy
    Last edit by rn_happy on Aug 28, '06
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   BittyBabyNurse
    THe risk is very minimal besides the stress of critically ill babies. Whenever we have xrays, we step in for the pregnant nurse and she leaves the area for a few mins. and we wear lead aprons. As for the viral illnesses. we rarely have any viral infections, and if we do they are in isolation. The main infections our babies get are bacterial and because they have such a low immune system to begin with. RSV is mainly on a pediatric floor, not NICU. Anyone who is ill is not allowed in the unit. Mainly you and your baby would be safe.
  4. by   rn_happy
    Thank you bittybabynures for your reply...will have to just follow my heart in whether or not to accept the NICU interview despite my fears & anxiety as I mentioned....
  5. by   TiffyRN
    To elaborate on the some of the above mentioned precautions; we don't let pregnant employees take care of infants with Parvo or CMV. Parvo's pretty darn rare but we get CMV + infants off and on. Rarely we will have some infant that seems to have an infectious disease but we can't figure it out; in those cases we don't assign pregnant employees.

    We don't get much RSV in the unit and when we do the unit goes insane with isolation procedures. My personal opinion; your family is at greater risk for infectious disease if you work with adults than if you work NICU.
  6. by   2curlygirls
    I've been a NICU nurse for 6years and had 2 healthy girls. I was going to high risk deliveries (running, I should say) until 37 1/2 weeks with my last. It's hard, you have a skewed view of pregnancy, I do anyway. X-rays, people hold for you and for the nasty bugs, you use universal precautions and be very careful if you HAVE to take care of that baby. I mostly avoid those patients anyway if I can.
  7. by   RainDreamer
    We do what was already mentioned above. The pregnant nurses just aren't assigned to certain babies (CMV and parvo are the ones that come to mind, like Tiffy mentioned). With X-Ray people just help out. They will always warn when an X-Ray is about to be done, and everyone can get out of the room.

    NICU actually seems more safe than a lot of units when it comes to working while pregnant.

    Good luck to you!
  8. by   BittyBabyGrower
    Have to agree....NICU is probably one of the safer nursing areas to be PG in On our unit pregnant nurses aren't assigned CMV, MRSA or other TORCH kids along with the nitric kids. As for xrays...our techs always have 2 and they hold, they only need help turning them over if they are intubated and if they need help, it not the pregnant one...our techs would have a fit. RSV is pretty rare, and if you had to take care of a kid with it and you were pregnant it really wouldn't impact you too much if you caught it....just give you a heck of a cold.

    At least in NICU, you almost always have an inkling of what is wrong with your patient...adults could have anything and you wouldn't know it.
  9. by   NiteRocker
    My goodness...you fertile nurses. There must be 1/2 of my unit that's pg. Personally, I would be frazelled about all the unknown possibilities, but not related to being nurse...just knowledge of the whole area of possibilities.

    My boys are 6 & 7 now. And, I'm done...I wasn't a NICU RN when they were born. So, can't help you with burden of the unknown. However, know that over the past 3 years of probably, no lie, 30 RN/RTs to deliver, I can think of only 1 that had issues. And, that was fertility drugs, multiple, indocin, and premie realated.

    Go for it...life in the NICU is a joy! It really makes you appreciate your healthy children.
  10. by   lovemyjob
    Quote from BittyBabyGrower
    Have to agree....NICU is probably one of the safer nursing areas to be PG in On our unit pregnant nurses aren't assigned CMV, MRSA or other TORCH kids along with the nitric kids. As for xrays...our techs always have 2 and they hold, they only need help turning them over if they are intubated and if they need help, it not the pregnant one...our techs would have a fit. RSV is pretty rare, and if you had to take care of a kid with it and you were pregnant it really wouldn't impact you too much if you caught it....just give you a heck of a cold.

    At least in NICU, you almost always have an inkling of what is wrong with your patient...adults could have anything and you wouldn't know it.
    I havent heard of issues with nitric...can you tell me more about it?
  11. by   Gompers
    I agree with BittyBabyGrower - the NICU is probably one of the safest places for a pregnant RN to work! These kids are immunosupressed, so we're more dangerous to them than they are to us. When they do have viral infections (CMV, RSV, herpes, etc.) you will not be assigned to them and they will be on isolation precautions anyways. Yes, we do a lot of x-rays, but as others have mentioned the X-ray techs, respiratory therapists, and other nurses are always there to help out for them. Besides, the amount of radiation used for infant x-rays is much less than for adult portable films, so it's really safer all around. We don't work with many toxic drugs, so that's another safety thing. It's also a lot easier to care for tiny babies than big people when you're huge and pregnant! Plus, NICUs always have rockers and things like that, so if you get the chance, you can put your feet up and relax for a few minutes here and there. Most NICUs are nowhere NEAR as busy as your typical adult floor or ICU.

    The BIGGEST problem with being a pregnant NICU nurse - and I can tell you this from my current experience - is that you know too much. You see the 5% of babies that need the NICU and all the horrible things that can happen. It's terrifying! So honestly, I think the NICU is harder on pregnant nurses EMOTIONALLY than it ever can be physically.
  12. by   BittyBabyGrower
    Our attendings and the head of respiratory feel that there is a risk that the nitric could bind with the fetuses hgb. Most nitrics are closed systems, but sometimes there is a leak or the bag gets left on. If the attending is pg then the other attending takes over that kid. They just don't want to take any chances.
  13. by   justjenny
    Quote from rn_happy

    I do have a BIG concern though.....if my hubby and I plan on getting pregnant in the future what types of risks will I place on my pregnancy should I accept the NICU position? NICU involves alot of x-rays, viral illneses (RSV, pneumonia, others) and etc...compared to lets say mother/baby, right?

    Huh?!??!?!?!???

    Our NICU babies have never left our unit, so there is NO RSV, and only an aspiration pneumonia....I would be more concerned with catching something from my kids coming home from school having been sneezed on than from our babies on the unit! As far as xrays....the xray techs do them at the bedside and we are under no obligation to stay nearby if we choose not to. There is always someone else who could hold the baby still, or in most cases, the tech does everything themselves and we just stand back and let them do their job.
    We have seen the occasional MRSA, but the baby either got it from us or the family (it is in the community now)

    Jenny
  14. by   NICU_3_RN
    Quote from BittyBabyGrower
    Our attendings and the head of respiratory feel that there is a risk that the nitric could bind with the fetuses hgb. Most nitrics are closed systems, but sometimes there is a leak or the bag gets left on. If the attending is pg then the other attending takes over that kid. They just don't want to take any chances.
    I've done a lot of research on Nitric and have never heard anything like this.... do you have any articles?

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