Chemo admin while pregnant

Nurses General Nursing


Is it advisable for a pregnant RN to avoid working with I.V. chemo drugs? Also, any other job related health-hazards to worry about?



6,011 Posts


You should ask your doctor about this.

Specializes in Telemetry, Case Management.

All the chemo drugs I have seen, even the solid tablets, let alone the IV, have big tags on them, handle with gloves on, not to be handled by women of child bearing age, (let alone already pregnant!!!!). I'd say leave them alone.


1,326 Posts

Very nasty stuff, I would stay away.

What about urine or other body substances from a chemo patient?

I had a patient once (I'm a sudent) who was on chemo. and had a foley. We took major precautions when emptying his urine collection bag d/t his chemo therapy.

When in doubt ask your doctor.

Erin RN

396 Posts

I worked medical oncology when I was pregnant and I couldn't take any patients that were getting chemo, and if I rememebr correctly, for 24 hours after their last infusion. It was hospital policy..we had 3 of us that were pregnant at the same time so there were eves when we would float one of the ortho/ surg nurses to med/ onc and myself or one of the others would go over there.


20,964 Posts

Specializes in Specializes in L/D, newborn, GYN, LTC, Dialysis.

I 2nd the opinion of asking your dr. Make an intake appt. w/your OB/GYN and please discuss your job and its inherent hazards with him/her ASAP. Write down a list of questions youwant to ask and fire away. That said, I understand the administration of chemo in pregnancy is a NO NO. As are a lot of things, nursing is in itself inherently hazardous at times. Please ask these questions of your doctor soon. I wish you a healthy pregnancy. :balloons:


2,719 Posts

No it is not advisable. Why would you even consider the risk. That baby is too precious to put in a compromising position.

I am surprised your hospital does not address this issue with you. In any case you need to take care of yourself and this baby first.


801 Posts

Consider how most chemo agents work. Cancer is the rapid, uncontrolled growth of cells. Chemo agents work by inhibiting (and sometimes even killing) dividing cells. Now, what is happening with the developing fetus? Cell division.

I wouldn't. But, hey, I'm a man, what do I know?

Kevin McHugh

Specializes in Oncology/Haemetology/HIV.

Every place that I have worked, pregnant coworkers do not take chemo patients up to 24 hours after IV infusion, and up to one week after PO chemo (and since po is usually continuous daily, well...). Especially with the possibility of vomiting after taking Thalidomide, nurses should not even handle PO without chemo gloves, and pregnant nurses not at all.

That said, go to the ONS (oncology nurses society) that has the "official" policy that they can work with them in some cases (per OSHA). But most NMs would rather not take the chance.


117 Posts

I wouldn't. But, hey, I'm a man, what do I know?

Kevin McHugh

-- Just because you are a man, it doesn't mean that you are immune to the effects. The Oncology Nursing Society stipulates that neither men nor women can be forced to hang chemo if they are of child bearing age.

-Julie in NYC

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