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bigkittinteef

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I ran into a vet tech today that is 5 months pregnant and still working. It just made me wonder what vets do when they are pregnant or are trying to be pregnant. I would think there are some risks to consider for a developing fetus but don't know much about it. I'm not planning on getting pregnant but I'd be interested to know what you all think about this topic. Thoughts? Insight? :)
 

DVMDream

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One of the vets I worked with worked while she was pregnant up until she went into labor. She actually went into labor while at work. You just can't take x-rays, mess with cat poop, or really be around too much anesthesia. Otherwise, you should be fine.
 

Lissarae06

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One of the vets I worked with worked while she was pregnant up until she went into labor. She actually went into labor while at work. You just can't take x-rays, mess with cat poop, or really be around too much anesthesia. Otherwise, you should be fine.
Yeah and be aware of what drugs you handle since a lot of drugs can cause miscarriage, etc.
 
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wildcatj

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I too have wondered about this. I know you have to be SUPER careful about being around iso and sevo. Obvious issues with x-rays. If you're doing anything with large animals estrous synch and accidentally inject yourself with most of those you'll spontaneously abort. Then there's toxo and I'm sure a whole bunch of other zoonoses that I don't know about. It all sounds scary to me. But obviously it's something people do pretty regularly. I'd be curious to know what else there is. Do they even teach you that kind of stuff in school? I know you go over zoonoses and what not, but I wonder if they specify what types of things you have to worry about when you're pregnant.

Edit: You guys pretty much beat me to it. Haha.
 

kakurubird

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One of the vets I worked with worked while she was pregnant up until she went into labor. She actually went into labor while at work. You just can't take x-rays, mess with cat poop, or really be around too much anesthesia. Otherwise, you should be fine.

Haha--this happened also to one of the vets I work with. We had the ventilation system overhauled when she got pregnant and added in another fan right above the dental sink.

There's also a tech and a vet pregnant at a place where I'm volunteering and they both wear those special masks that filter air better (blanking on anything better to call them) whenever anything is anesthetized (especially since it's a wildlife place that masks down animals frequently).
 

Lissarae06

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I too have wondered about this. I know you have to be SUPER careful about being around iso and sevo. Obvious issues with x-rays. If you're doing anything with large animals estrous synch and accidentally inject yourself with most of those you'll spontaneously abort. Then there's toxo and I'm sure a whole bunch of other zoonoses that I don't know about. It all sounds scary to me. But obviously it's something people do pretty regularly. I'd be curious to know what else there is. Do they even teach you that kind of stuff in school? I know you go over zoonoses and what not, but I wonder if they specify what types of things you have to worry about when you're pregnant.

Edit: You guys pretty much beat me to it. Haha.
You do learn about it. Most teachers mention risks to the vet as well as potential risks to pregnant clients.
 

bigkittinteef

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Thanks! This is good to know. I know there are kinds of hormones (prostaglandins I think?), that cause spontaneous abortion. It's nice knowing pregnancy wouldn't completely inhibit working in a vet hospital. :)
 

katryn

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Nope, doesn't keep you from working (or being in school) at all.

And apparently the iso/sevo thing is controversial depending on your doc. They told me not to worry about special precautions during surgery lab last semester, but we only had about 12 lab hours left by the time I found out. The big worries that the human docs have is with nitrous oxide (which most vets don't use), and not having a proper scavanging system (our lab has a vacuum system, but the canister systems work just fine too). But I do know vets/techs who have worn masks or just avoided entering the surgical suite to be extra sure.

As far as other stuff goes, no rads, don't touch prostaglandin analog meds, and avoid cat poo (although both the doc and our zoonosis/parasit prof pointed out that you are much more likely to get toxo from eating undercooked pork or handling contaminated soil than you are to get it from the litter box...). After that it boils down to don't be stupid and get yourself hurt (ie. don't stand behind that horse, or lift the 60 lb dog by yourself).

By the by, if anyone is actually curious about getting through a year of vet school while pregnant, feel free to PM me. This year has certainly been an adventure.
 

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Oh my goodness you were pregnant in vet school? Kudos to you superwoman! :)

Ditto.

Have you had your baby yet? I would actually think that having a new born would be more of an issue with school than being pregnant, but I have no experience in either situation so I wouldn't know.
 

psilovethomas

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We also have a vet tech that is due in June! She does not take rads and she stands far away from the xray room when it is in use. We still use iso when she is surgery tech. She still handles cat poo with gloves-she said that if you have been exposed to it before, you should be fine (don't know about this).
I actually talked to the vet school about what they would allow me to do if I decided or happened to get pregnant while in school. I was told that I could take a year hiatus if needed, especially during year 1 because of the preservatives on anatomy specimens. I know that I would take a year off because I will be super paranoid about anything and everything. Don't know if it is a huge concern, but it is to me. Also, health, ie morning sickness, during pregnancy might not mix well with sitting in class all day long.
 

katryn

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Ditto.

Have you had your baby yet? I would actually think that having a new born would be more of an issue with school than being pregnant, but I have no experience in either situation so I wouldn't know.

I'm due in July. And I'm guessing that the newborn will be more complicated than the pregnancy. :eek: But we'll take what we get, and be thankful we have supportive family in town! Just planning to take each day as it comes (but how is that any different, really? ;)).

Also, they can screen you for prior exposure to toxo if your curious.... I was disappointingly negative, so I still have to be careful, boo.
 

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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 :)
 
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Fireflysushi

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I work with a lady that is currently pregnant with her second child and also her second child during vet school. She is a DVM/Phd student and had them both during the Phd portion of her 7 years. He husband is also in vet school lol. In the DVM program. They have babysitters during the day, and I believe she avoids certain things while conducting her research. The sheer amount of hazardous chemicals that we work with would terrify me as a pregnant person, but her first pregnancy was successful with no complications.
I also work with a DVM who is currently teaching undergrad animal anatomy and dissection. She is still breastfeeding and intends to have another child soon, so she wears respirators, full body rubber smocks, full arm rubber gloves. She is very cautious because the preserving fluids can affect fertilitly/ development as PSILT commented on. Her child is also healty.
 

sooprnova

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The vet with whom I did the majority of my shadowing was pregnant with twins last year. Twins! I won't reiterate the safety precautions, but she seemed to handle it pretty well.

At about the five month mark she switched to tennis shoes. At the six month mark she brought a tall stool into surgery so she wouldn't have to stand. She was still squatting, bending, etc., and never seemed cranky unless the heat was turned up too high in the clinic.

She worked until she was 36 weeks, I think, at which time the doc put her on bed rest. She went into labor a few days later.

She's a champ, and is who I'm going to think of if my crazy old ass ever decides to have kids after vet school.

After talking to her recently, post-delivery is much worse, especially with two newborns!
 

NittanyKitty

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One of the vets I work with went into labor during an exam of one of her patients. She says she'll never forget bending over to look at a beagle andsuddenly knowing her water just broke. And yeah, that was a premature delivery by about six weeks for what it's worth but a few years later she and and the baby are doing great.

I also had a classmate who was pregnant with twins from last February until this past October. She got through large animal anatomy and surgery class without any problems at all, finished her classes and finals with two preemie newborns, and is still in our class and doing well. Yay for babies!
 

chickenlittle

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At about the five month mark she switched to tennis shoes. At the six month mark she brought a tall stool into surgery so she wouldn't have to stand. She was still squatting, bending, etc., and never seemed cranky unless the heat was turned up too high in the clinic.

So far (fingers crossed!) I've had no problems with standing in surgery... standing doesn't really bother me too much. Even squatting/bending isn't too bad... except for the fact that I get extremely winded when I try to stand up!! I do all of my big dog exams on the floor (anything over about 40 lbs, because the vet assistant I work with most days is also pregnant and neither of us are supposed to lift over 25 lbs!) and I squat for the entire exam... but usually once I stand up, it takes me 2-3 minutes to catch my breath enough that the clients can actually hear what I'm saying :) For me, though, the biggest problem is getting down on all fours for those big dog nail trims, lameness exams, etc. My OB says "I know you think I'm kidding, but you really ARE going to get stuck down there one of these days." :laugh:

I haven't switched to tennis shoes yet... I've been considering it, but not sure how my supervisors would react. I can't wear my old shoes anymore because my feet have already gone up a full size (from a 7 to an 8), but I'm currently wearing these and they're working sorta okay:
21571_BBK.jpg
They're not ideal, but on the day that my previous shoes suddenly stopped fitting and I felt the need to go buy new shoes that very night, Kohl's was the only place that was open and this is what they had :)

ETA: I should state that not all jobs would be as bad as my current one. This is my fourth job since graduation... all three my previous jobs were MUCH less physically demanding (ie. I got 30-60 minute lunch break almost every day, had more tech help, did not see as many appts & walk-ins, had occasional opportunities to sit between appointments, etc) and therefore pregnancy at any of those hospitals would have been infinitely less stressful. For the most part, I've enjoyed my current job more than those three (a lot less mental/emotional stress at this one!)... but now that I'm pregnant, there are definitely times I wish I had stayed at my last job!!
 
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abbercadaver

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The vet I work for has been pregnant twice in the past 5 years, most recently with twins and the first baby was a single-serving.

She was supposed to be on bed rest throughout most of her pregnancy with the twins, but she was (at the time) owner/sole veterinarian, so had to come into work or they would not be able to make bills. She still did surgeries, bending, lifting, squatting, occasional rads; basically everything you're not really supposed to do. When she was pregnant with twins, there were two techs and one receptionist also pregnant!

The twins had health problems the docs knew about from the get-go, so she knew about those, but she has said before that she really wished she hadn't pushed herself so hard because she thinks the super early labor had a lot to do with his present developmental and mental issues.

Baby #1 was fine, on-time, and was an 'easy' pregnancy...and she treated both pregnancies the same in terms of what she still did around the clinic.

Just thought I'd share this with you guys, not that it's personal experience. :)
 
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katryn

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ETA: I should state that not all jobs would be as bad as my current one. This is my fourth job since graduation... all three my previous jobs were MUCH less physically demanding (ie. I got 30-60 minute lunch break almost every day, had more tech help, did not see as many appts & walk-ins, had occasional opportunities to sit between appointments, etc) and therefore pregnancy at any of those hospitals would have been infinitely less stressful. For the most part, I've enjoyed my current job more than those three (a lot less mental/emotional stress at this one!)... but now that I'm pregnant, there are definitely times I wish I had stayed at my last job!!

Thanks for all the input Chickenlittle! This definitely makes me think I'll have to be a little careful when considering jobs after graduation, since baby number 2 will probably be in the planning by then. And I'll definitely second the difficulty of getting in the floor, bending over, etc. I haven't been able to get up and down easily in weeks and I'm not exactly very big.

I'm super glad the most demanding thing on my plate this year was surgery lab (which I got done with in the very early weeks), and my job unloading and distributing the Purina food (which up until last week wasn't an issue for me).
 

Packen

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I guess I should probably ask this question in a few months from now :) but I'll ask about the pregnancy aspect now, especially for Chickenlittle, Would you have rather had your baby in vet school if you had the chance? I only ask because I wonder when, in an ideal world, the best timing would be. I have a MD friend who mentioned that she wished she had had her baby in school or residency and not during her first year in practice. So was wondering if you guys had any opinions on the matter.
 

katryn

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I guess I should probably ask this question in a few months from now :) but I'll ask about the pregnancy aspect now, especially for Chickenlittle, Would you have rather had your baby in vet school if you had the chance? I only ask because I wonder when, in an ideal world, the best timing would be. I have a MD friend who mentioned that she wished she had had her baby in school or residency and not during her first year in practice. So was wondering if you guys had any opinions on the matter.

Not having seen the other side of the fence, I can't really say from a workload/physical/mental aspect of it. But I can say that I am glad that we did not wait simply out of being scared to do pregnancy during vet school. Hubby and I honestly never intended to wait this long, but it took me so durned long to get into school in the first place. Overall, I think it was worth it to me to risk potentially taking a year off if I had to in order to start a family at a time that was right for the rest of my life as well. I don't know that there is an ideal time, and it all really boils down to the worst that could happen, and can you deal with it if it were to happen.
 

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Would you have rather had your baby in vet school if you had the chance?

. I don't know that there is an ideal time, and it all really boils down to the worst that could happen, and can you deal with it if it were to happen.

This. There's really no such thing as an ideal time.

I can't imagine having a baby on clinics, because it would kill me to have a little baby at home and not be able to spend time with him/her. During the years where you're mostly doing classroom time, though, my schedule was definitely infinitely easier than it is right now with a FT vet job. The only drawback is that having the baby during one of those "easy" years would still mean going through the hard clinics year while baby was a toddler, which would be rough. I think a lot of how feasible it is would depend on your spouse and how flexible their schedule is.

Having a baby right now has some drawbacks too, though, at least in my situation. My husband is a grad student, which means I'm our sole income and my job provides our health insurance, etc. If my boss does succeed in forcing me to go out on leave early (which he alluded to doing when I said I'd be submitting a doctor's note limiting me to 9-hr days) then we'd be in a really tight spot. (Fortunately, it sounds like HR will ensure that he cannot do that... we'll see.) If I have to go out early due to any sort of medical issues, FMLA only protects my job for 12 wks... after that, I'd have to go on COBRA for my health insurance ($$$$) and wouldn't have a job to go back to. It's kind of scary. But, I just keep crossing my fingers and knowing that we have a savings account just in case of this sort of 'emergency' and we'll come through it fine regardless.

I think that, for me, having the baby after graduation and getting established is definitely the better choice (because I'm a planner & worrier by nature and wouldn't have had any savings or 'safety net' in school), but I don't think it would be impossible to do it the other way around.
 

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Thanks guys! I was just curious. It is not really feasible at all for me right now since hubby is on another continent. But I wanted to know what you thought. You both brought up some interesting points. CL, I hope everything works out for you with your job. It sounds so stressful right now with all the boss and HR stuff.
 
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