Message From Dr. Scott Reeves

The Department of Anesthesia's “can-do” mentality along with all that our beautiful city has to offer creates a wonderful environment in which to train, work and live.

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Wellness During Pregnancy

We want all residents to be able to raise a family during training, if they desire, in a safe and supportive environment. The following principles are our program's commitment to supporting healthy pregnancies in our program.

  • Please let the Program Director know of your pregnancy as soon as you are comfortable.
    • This allows us to ensure you and your child are being protected while at work. The pregnant anesthesiologist may have concerns about exposure and workplace challenges. The overall approach is for staff to do what they are comfortable with, make their choices known to their supervisors early, and- if staff are unable to perform regular daily duties- discuss this with the chiefs/Program Director/supervisors to come up with a plan. 
  • Environmental Exposure
    • Radiation: Please contact Elizabeth Morrison to assist you with obtaining a pregnancy radiation badge, so that we can ensure your exposure levels are kept within a safe range. If you would like to minimize radiation exposure, please communicate this to the Program Director and chief residents who will then distribute this to the DODs to minimize the amount of daily communication you have to perform. Please realize that full avoidance of radiation, especially on-call, will be difficult. Wearing wraparound "pregnancy lead aprons" and standing back 6 feet from the source should reduce radiation exposure to minimal levels. In fluoroscopy cases, if it is unavoidable, utilize the standing floor screens to act as a second layer of protection, and whenever possible, as for someone to replace you during the radiation-heavy portions of the case. The program has purchased wraparound pregnancy lead aprons, which are located in the anesthesia offices at ART and the education office at UH.
    • MRI: The risk of fetal exposure if outside the magnet area is very low. Remember- magnetic fields drop off exponentially with distance, so stay as far away as practical from the source. 
    • Anesthetic Gases: Exposure to gases should be low in the rapid air turnover environment of the OR with active scavenging systems, but mask ventilation and inhalational inductions should be avoided when possible. There is a theoretical risk that N2O, specifically, is teratogenic so it is best to avoid this during pregnancy. If the resident prefers not to mask ventilate, please make sure your attending is aware so you can have a different plan in mind. 
    • Chemotherapeutic Agents: Occasionally we are involved in surgical procedures involving chemotherapeutic application in body cavities. Pregnant residents should not participate in the care of these patients as avoiding contact with excretions, sweat, and urine is not always possible.
    • Infectious Risk: Various pathogens such as the flu and COVID 19 pose special risks for pregnant residents. Whenever possible we will minimize your exposure to these patients provided backup care is available. 
    • Methylacrylate/Cementing: Studies have shown that exposure to the vapor from these substances, commonly utilized in orthopedic ORs, is dangerous to the developing fetus. All efforts should be made to avoid the placement of a pregnant resident within these rooms. 
  • Schedule Changes
    • Based on current literature, it is advisable to modify the work patterns of residents during pregnancy to acknowledge the strain it places on the body, especially during the third trimester to optimize outcomes. We will ensure the following:
      • Residents have no more than 4 overnight calls per month during the third trimester.
      • Residents will not complete any ICU rotations during the third trimester.
      • Residents are not required to "preload" calls during pregnancy in anticipation of leave.
      • Residents will only have to make up weekend calls missed during their leave. 
      • The resident's physician will determine a resident's fitness for duty during the pregnancy. If light duty is prescribed, we will utilize the perioperative medicine clinic or other non-OR rotations as a way to avoid excessive time away from training. Call will be 100% covered for residents on light duty restrictions. 
      • If your assigned parking is far from your usual work site, you can get temporary disability parking in your third trimester by contacting Allison Mergler, who will provide you a form that your physician must fill out documenting your need for a closer parking spot. 
  • Daily Health Maintenance
    • Patient Transport & Movement: Pregnant residents should feel empowered to ask for assistance moving patients, especially late in pregnancy. Please call the DOD if help is not available in the room.
    • Fluid Status: Pregnancy-induced dehydration is a concern and you may need additional bathroom breaks during the day. Please contact the DOD or the TTP resident of the day to help facilitate relief. Lower extremity edema can be an issue so please utilize support stockings. 
    • Emotional Support: Pregnant residents experiencing emotional stress are encouraged to contact the Program Director or Associate Program Directors 24/7 through the EAP program (843-792-2848).