Newly pregnant and working in stressful med/surg unit


  • Specializes in med/surg. Has 12 years experience.

Hi Everyone.

I'm posing my situation here because I don't really know how to handle it. I'm newly pregnant and this will be our first child. I'm in my mid-30s and it was very difficult to finally get pregnant. There was a long wait, a lot of money, time and heartache involved. I work at a busy teaching hospital in a med/surg unit. As you all know, we encounter MRSA, c. diff., TB, VRE, acetinobacter and so many other infections to list. I worked two days in a row earlier this week and I just about died of the fatigue. I only had 3 patients! Yes, one was a direct admit and I discharged two, but usually this is a breeze for me. My legs felt like they were going to fall off the rest of my body. I realized this unit is too hard on a pregnant body because I felt that way after 1st day and it only got worst the following shift.

I went to my first check up with my ob/gyn and she asked about my occupation and I described the above and she recommended that I ask for a transfer that should be in effect throughout the rest of my pregnancy. She suggested a post-partum unit. OOOKKKK..

So now I don't know how to approach this. I'm part of a union and so my first instinct is to contact them to know how to approach the boss. I've never dealt with the union before except to vote/reject on contracts, etc. Has anyone been through this? Should I ask for a transfer? I don't know of anyone that has transferred out of their unit because they are pregnant. I'm the only pregnant nurse on the floor that I know of. What should I do? Should I have a sit down with my director who I haven't talked to about being pregnant? Should I talk to the administrative nurses right under her that already know I'm pregnant (I told them so they could allow me to miss a few days of work for testing, etc.)? Should I just deal with the union? Or, should I just look for another job? Thank you.:uhoh21:

Virgo_RN, BSN, RN

3,543 Posts

Specializes in Cardiac Telemetry, ED.

I don't have an answer to your question, as I have not been in your situation. My pregnancies were long ago. I cannot imagine working the floor while pregnant, though. I know a lot of nurses do it, but I don't think I could. Best of luck to you, and congratulations on your pregnancy!

Jo Dirt

3,270 Posts

Has 9 years experience.

When I was in my 20's I worked like a pack mule up until the night I delivered.

We're getting to be old ladies. No way could I do this now. With you being up in age and especially with what might be a precarious pregnancy I would definitely try to find something easier on the body. I may have one more before I'm done, and I can't even fathom a high stress job at the same time.

nrsang97, BSN, RN

2,602 Posts

Specializes in Neuro ICU and Med Surg. Has 22 years experience.

I am not through my first trimester either. I am 9weeks. The fatigue is completely normal and it is supposed to ease up in the second trimester and return in the third trimester. Heck I work a busy ICU and in the last 2 days I have had to take 2 patinets to MRI and one to CT (actually TACT team was able to do that for me ), but I have no intentions of transferring to another unit. There is stress everywhere in nursing.

Why did your OB/GYN tell you to transfer? Is it because you are so tired? My reproductive endocrinologist said nothing about me needing to leave my job since pregnancy. As a matter of fact they recommend that you keep up the same activity level.

I do understand the difficulty getting pregnant. I had to take injectable hormones, and now to maintain I am on injectable progesterone. I understand the heartache as well.

But only you know the right answer for you as what to do in this situation.

Congratulations and best of luck to you.

Ruby Vee, BSN

67 Articles; 14,023 Posts

Specializes in CCU, SICU, CVSICU, Precepting & Teaching. Has 40 years experience.

years ago, i worked with a nurse in micu who transferred out during her pregnancy. she didn't want to be around all the infected patients during her pregnant, and transferred to the ccu step-down unit. she liked it so well she stayed. i have to say, i admired her for actually transferring out rather than staying and refusing to take care of this patient or that one "because i'm pregnant."

CoffeeRTC, BSN, RN

3,734 Posts

Has 25 years experience.

No matter where you go, you will be exposed to germs. MRSA, VRE, Cdiff, etc is everywhere.

I can't speak about the difficulties of getting pregnant, since I'm on my 5th right now, but I imagine that is in the back of your mind. The first tri is a killer with the fatigue and for some morning sickness (I had that and hyper emesis with 4 of mine) Now that is what made me go down to part time then PRN. I had the hyper E thru the entire pregnancies.

I'm now at 18 weeks and the fatigue has gotten so much better (sitll working on the nausea, LOL)

If you transfer..are you willing to work in that area after you have the baby? Do you have enough senority to transfer? What other areas are you qualified to work in? I would talk to the union rep, but you should also let your manager know what is going on.

Specializes in Emergency Room.

i know you are worried about your job....but you have to put yourself and your growing family first. i know it is a difficult decision, but at a time like this especially considering that this is your first pregnancy, you really shouldn't take too many chances.

Specializes in LTC.

I worked as an aide in LTC my pregnancy. I took a lighter section than the other aides. This section however, was filled with MRSA residents. I took the precautions. There was one lady I couldn't care for and that was because she had chicken pox, and that was just closer to my due date. However, if you are feeling you can't handle it, then try to switch, or even better if you can afford to go on leave now, then do it! I worked until a week before my due date because I HAD to. I couldn't afford not to work. There were days I did NOT want to go to work. But I needed to provide for my family and I wanted that maternity leave for after the baby was born.


288 Posts

Has 10 years experience.

I would go per diem if it is at all possible. Maybe work a few short shifts through the week. I could not and would not work my floor while pregnant. No way. We don't get a chance to even eat, and that would be impossible as sick as I get when pregnant.

Specializes in LTC, Med/Surg, Peds, ICU, Tele. Has 15 years experience.

If you are in your mid-30s this may be your last shot at having a baby if you have had difficulties. I wouldn't risk that for all the tea in China.


288 Posts

Has 10 years experience.
If you are in your mid-30s this may be your last shot at having a baby if you have had difficulties. I wouldn't risk that for all the tea in China.

Abosuletly. This is what i wanted to say but not sure how to say it . I'd do anything, including losing my house and going on welfare, to make sure that babe gets here safe and sound.


1,170 Posts

Even if you do transfer I would talk to your doctor about prescribing support hose. I didn't wear then during my first preganancy but during my second I was having really fatigued legs and felt a bulging vein in my thigh. I talked to a vascular surgeon I knew and he said all pregnant women who are on their feet should wear prescription type support hose and not just teds. These rx pantyhose about $40 per pair( I bought two pair) really helped. I even wore them when I wasn't working, even in the summer.

Secondly we have so many isolation patients now that we can't not assign them to pregnant nurses. But in a lot of ways these nurse are safer using the PPE than caring for the patients you don't know have MRSA etc.

Another option would be talk to your manager about cutting your work amount down if possible and not working two days in a row. Also maybe they could work you half shifts. You never know what is possible if you don't ask. If you are a good employee they might be willing to work with you than have you transfer out.

This topic is now closed to further replies.