Pregnancy and Risky Professions

Risky Professions

Aircrew (pilots and flight attendants)
Pregnant flight attendants and pilots should select flight schedules during pregnancy to reduce exposures to cosmic ionizing radiation and circadian disruption (jet lag). Also, pregnant aircrew should try to reduce physical demands including standing, lifting, and bending from the waist.



Fire fighters
Fire fighters are exposed to toxic byproducts of burning as well as shift work and physical demands such as heavy lifting. Required respiratory protection (e.g. SCBA) may not be appropriate during pregnancy for several reasons.

Veterinary and animal care services
Veterinary workers often have high physical demands, such as heavy lifting or standing for long periods of time, and may work with several potentially hazardous chemicals or products that might adversely affect their reproductive health. These include antineoplastic drugs, antiviral drugs, anesthetic gases, disinfectants, X-rays, and pesticides, such as those used for flea and mite treatments. Zoonotic infections, or infections acquired from animals, are another important concern.

Laboratories
Laboratory work (in clinical or research laboratories) can involve a wide range of chemicals such as solvents, formaldehyde, ionizing radiation, and infectious agents. Lab workers should follow recommended best practices when handling infectious materials, make sure they are using biological and chemical safety cabinets correctly, and check the Materials Safety Data Sheets (MSDS) for chemicals they handle to make sure they are wearing appropriate personal protective equipment. In particular, not all gloves provide adequate protection for all chemicals. It is very important to match the type of glove to the type of chemical.

Farm and greenhouse workers
Farmworkers and greenhouse workers often handle pesticides, or work in areas where pesticides have been applied. Those who work with livestock can also be exposed to animal waste and zoonotic diseases (animal-related infections that can spread to humans). Farm equipment can also expose farm and greenhouse workers to noise and diesel fuel/exhaust, as well as high physical demands like lifting, standing, and bending repeatedly.