Pregnancy in the Lab

By using prudent work practices, most laboratory workers who are pregnant or planning pregnancy can work safely in research laboratories without exposing the fetus to potentially harmful chemicals.

Reproductive toxins are chemicals that can affect the reproductive system, including mutagens (chromosomal damage) and embryotoxins (harm the fertilized egg or fetus). Some chemicals may cross the placenta, exposing the fetus. A developing fetus may be more sensitive to some chemicals than its pregnant mother, particularly during the first twelve weeks of pregnancy, when the mother may not know she is pregnant. Proper handling of chemicals and use of protective equipment is especially important to reduce fetal exposure to chemicals.

Laboratory workers who are contemplating pregnancy or are pregnant should review the toxicity of the chemicals in their laboratory and may consult EHS to determine whether any of the materials used in the laboratory pose additional risk during pregnancy. EHS provides confidential counseling to help determine what actions are recommended.

For more information, contact EHS at 258-5294.


Robin Izzo
Assistant Vice President, EHS