Working While Pregnant
Occupational Health, Vanderbilt Environmental Health and Safety (VEHS) and Vanderbilt Infection Control and Prevention have safeguards in place to help you protect your unborn baby while you work at Vanderbilt.
Working With Formaldehyde
Formaldehyde is a chemical used in embalming and tissue preservation, as well as in cold sterilization. Acute exposure to formaldehyde may result in pulmonary edema (fluid in the lungs), central nervous system (CNS) depression, or pneumonitis (inflammation of the lung tissue). Chronic exposure may cause irritation of the skin, mucous membranes or respiratory tract. Repeated exposure to formaldehyde may result in an allergic response. It is also a potential carcinogen. Primary exposure routes are inhalation and skin absorption.
Working with Radioactive Iodine
When patients are treated with radioactive iodine, their blood and body fluids such as urine and vomit can contain the radioactive drug. Caregivers should understand the risks of exposure. There are two different types of radiation risks: Thyroid exposure: Having the radioactive iodine absorbed by your thyroid gland. External beam radiation: Getting radiation exposure from the contaminated body fluids, just like you would from an X-ray. Preventing thyroid exposure
Vanderbilt Surveillance Program Screening Requirements
Compliance with all applicable Vanderbilt Occupational Health medical surveillance and fitness for duty programs is required and compliance status is automatically imported into the Vanderbilt University Medical Center Performance Evaluation System (VPES).
Varicella (Chicken Pox)
Chickenpox is normally a fairly mild childhood illness caused by the varicella virus. Humans are the only source of infection for this highly contagious virus. Humans are infected by person to person transmission when virus comes in contact with upper respiratory tract or eyes and by contact with lesion drainage from someone with chickenpox.
A parasite called Toxoplasma gondii causes a disease known as toxoplasmosis. Most adults have already had toxoplasmosis; toxoplasmosis shows few or no symptoms 90% of the time. However, pregnant women and individuals with weakened immune systems should be cautious.
Simian Herpes B
Because macaques can carry a virus that is deadly to humans, workers need to know how to reduce their risk of exposure as well as what to do if they get exposed.
Parvovirus B19 Exposure in Pregnancy
Typically, there is no serious complication for a pregnant woman or her baby from exposure to a person with Parvovirus B19, or "Fifth" disease. About 50% of women are already immune to Parvovirus B19, so these women and their babies are protected from infection and illness. Even if a woman is susceptible and gets infected with Parvovirus B19, she usually experiences only a mild illness. Likewise, her unborn baby usually does not have any problems attributable to a Parvovirus B19 infection.
Q fever is a disease caused by the bacteria Coxiella burnetti. It is commonly carried by sheep, cattle, and goats. It is transmitted to humans through the air or by handling infected animals.