I'm 24 weeks pregnant and a practicing veterinarian. Here are some random thoughts:
- The only major "no-no's" throughout pregnancy are no radiographs without adequate protection (which is really no different than when you're not pregnant... it's still okay to take occasional rads as long as you're wearing a proper gown, although I do typically avoid taking rads if possible) and no waste anesthetic gas exposure (no masking/boxing down, no hanging out with recovering patients who are still blowing off iso, etc.... performing surgery/procedures on patients that are already hooked up to an anesthetic machine with adequate scavenging are fine.)
- The scariest statistic that I've found? Veterinarians who work >45 hrs/wk are 4x as likely to deliver prematurely than the general population. This is thought to be due to a combination of mental/physical stress. I work >45 hrs wk and this scares me.
- I find it scary to work with large-breed aggressive dogs. Two weeks ago, I had to give an intramuscular sedative injection to an extremely aggressive 100-lb German Shepherd. The dog was too aggressive for us to muzzle, and I only had one vet-assistant working with me at the time, so I ended up putting myself in a much riskier situation than I should have. The dog was thrashing around wildly and I could potentially have sustained a pretty significant blow to my abdomen. I didn't, but it was stupid.... I did it because I'm trying to keep from losing my job. After giving it more thought, though, I later decided that it was idiotic of me and I won't do it again... if I lose my job, oh well.
- Getting down on the floor with pets is becoming incredibly difficult. Due to understaffing in our clinic, I don't get to do just "doctor" things... I have to crawl around on the floor doing nail trims on large-breed dogs, often have to squat/bend to examine pets (we have no lift tables and working with 1 assistant at a time means that large dogs can't always be lifted onto the exam table, etc). It's getting increasingly difficult and my OB has told me that although I'm not putting my baby at risk at this time, I am putting myself at considerable risk of injury and my body "breaking down and giving out way before 40 wks."
- After spending long hours on my feet and doing such physical tasks, I hurt BADLY at the end of the day. Roughly once a week, it seems, I end up with days so busy that I work 11+ hours with no lunch break... and most of that day is spent on my feet, bending, crawling on the floor, lifting, etc. It's hard, physical work.... surely didn't seem that way before I got pregnant, but now I realize how much easier it'd be if I worked in a different field. There are nights that I hurt so badly that I'm in tears by the time I get home, and on my days off I'm typically in so much pain that I can barely move off the couch. I'm currently working with my employer on this - my OB suggested that I first ask my supervisor for some common-sense accommodations, but the response was anything but favorable so now I'm having to get a doctor's note and go through human resources. Hopefully my job will become a little more humane soon. We'll see.
Umm.... that's all I can think of for now