Pregnant in cadaver lab? Update post #20 - Mothering Forums

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Old 04-20-2010, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Does anyone have any experience with this? I looked it up and there seems to be a lot of conflicting information on whether it is safe for a pregnant woman to work in a cadaver lab. I am supposed to be starting an anatomy & physiology course with lab on May 10th, at which point I will be about 8 wks pg. I am debating whether to drop the class and take it during my last trimester, or maybe even wait until after the baby is born.

I spoke with a close friend of mine who is a doctor and she said that aside from concerns about the chemicals the bodies are preserved in, she also wonders if I won't just be barfing the whole time.

Opinions?
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Old 04-20-2010, 05:59 PM
 
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i think you will be BEGGING for the worst morning sickness ever. can't see how you are going to consintrate when everything is making you toss you cookies..put it off mama!

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Old 04-20-2010, 06:06 PM
 
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Personally, I would put it off until after the baby was born. Congratulations, and good luck!!!

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Old 04-20-2010, 06:11 PM
 
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If you're already scheduled for this course it's not likely to completely gross you out, right? (Or you wouldn't be taking it in the first place.) I assume you'd be wearing gloves and perhaps a mask when you work with the specimens, wouldn't you? How much exposure is there likely to be, and what chemicals are the most likely to cause harm? I'd be concerned about the morning sickness aspect if you're affected by it; personally, I never have had much so it wouldn't have made any difference to me. If you suffer from morning sickness, though, you may want to cancel everything until your 2nd trimester.

Good luck deciding.

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Old 04-20-2010, 06:14 PM
 
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I'd cancel it only because of morning sickness!!

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Old 04-20-2010, 06:28 PM
 
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yeah, I don't know if I could hang hanging out with cadavers pregnant. I'd wait, personally.

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Old 04-20-2010, 07:27 PM
 
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yeah, I don't know if I could hang hanging out with cadavers pregnant. I'd wait, personally.
Ditto. Plus coming from a strictly ignorant point of view, I just can't see anything good coming from hanging with dead people while pregnant.

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Old 04-20-2010, 07:33 PM
 
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Old 04-20-2010, 08:04 PM
 
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I know someone who has taught cadaver labs through two perfectly healthy pregnancies and had no problems at all. I'm sure she checked with a doctor on her chemical exposures. You might want to double up on gloves though because those chemicals tend to seep through tiny cracks and make your hands go numb.

And hanging out with cadavers is awesome! They never say annoying things or have grumpy days.

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Old 04-20-2010, 08:36 PM
 
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I've never done a cadaver lab but I'm a biomedical researcher so I do use some of the same chemicals. (For example, formaldehyde- during pregnancy I use even very dilute solutions only in a chemical hood.) I think your best bet is to get in touch with the university safety office. They are usually incredibly knowledgeable and happy to help.
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Old 04-20-2010, 09:52 PM
 
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If you decide to complete the class please please please get in touch with the safety officer and look into a good chemical mask. Formaldehyde is nasty stuff even when you're NOT pregnant.
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Old 04-21-2010, 12:59 AM
 
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I would *never* do it....all those nasty fumes!

Consciously mothering 3 girls and 2 boys
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Old 04-21-2010, 10:26 AM
 
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Having been in a cadaver lab before and having been pregnant several times (although not at the time in the lab) I would say there would be no possible way that I would have been able to be in the lab smell-wise regardless of what, if any, dangers were posed as a result of any fumes. That said, it was one of the most amazing experiences of my life to this day, so strange as it sounds, enjoy it when you do go!

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Old 04-21-2010, 12:37 PM
 
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The smell will knock you out.

I took A & P II when I was pg with #3. Luckily, the cadaver was optional for most things as we had models and we weren't allowed to touch the actual cadaver (they couldn't afford many). But it was still in the room and OMG it stunk to high heaven. I would tell your teacher and see what they say-they can tell you if it's better to wait or if they can make arrangements for you.

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Old 04-21-2010, 06:20 PM
 
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When I was in med school, two women in my class were pregnant at some point during the first year anatomy course - no real way to defer that without stopping for the whole year. They went through the safety officers and were fitted with what looked almost like gas masks... looked funny, but they made it through ok.

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Old 04-21-2010, 06:33 PM
 
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I would confirm with your school as far as what type of chemicals are actually being used (my understanding is that they don't use formaldehyde specifically anymore, but I may be mistaken) and rule out safety issues (though I suspect a mask would be sufficient for those concerns).

I do have to agree about the morning sickness issue, though, and lean towards doing it in the latter part of the pregnancy instead. Two reasons: 1) No matter how awesome you think cadaver lab is (and it's AWESOME), there are still times when you get grossed out unexpectedly, even NOT pregnant, and I'd be really suspicious of being able to tolerate the smells/sights/etc with morning sickness in action 2) they are often a few hours long, and you may not tolerate being in a food free environment for that long (exacerbating morning sickness issues as a result)

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Old 04-21-2010, 06:51 PM
 
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No way I would expose my baby to those chemicals, especially in the first trimester.
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Old 04-22-2010, 12:16 AM
 
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I'm guessing that the morning sickness brought on by the smell and sights would be pretty awful. What did your doctor recommend? They've been there, so they should be able to tell you if it is safe enough.

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Old 04-22-2010, 10:42 AM
 
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Another vote to check on the chemicals... my DH's cousin works as an undertaker and was strongly advised to go on disability for her entire pregnancy because of the chemicals they were using on the bodies.

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Old 04-22-2010, 03:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I asked the midwife we're probably going to be going with, and she recommended at least waiting until I'm out of the 1st trimester, so I dropped A&P and picked up Spanish- a little less exciting, maybe, but formaldehyde-free!
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Old 04-22-2010, 05:02 PM
 
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I can't walk through the meat market at 8 weeks pg, I couldn't imagine being pg in the cadaver lab.

Michelle: wife to J, mom to M (2001), E (2003), C (2005), S (2007) and O! (2009) And someone new in 2011!
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Old 04-22-2010, 11:52 PM
 
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I was pregnant during both my prereq year- when I took A&P- and then again during RN school. I worked in both the cadaver lab and the morgue- both would have been impossible in the first trimester but I did manage to get through it once the ms passed. I always made sure I always wore personal protective equipment and avoided chemicals whenever it was possible to do so.

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Old 04-23-2010, 02:16 AM
 
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There is a dissection in my A&P class tomorrow-and it's nothing-an eyeball, I think. When I told the prof. I was pregnant, he told me to skip it due to the chemicals. He's a chiropractor.

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Old 01-16-2014, 09:11 AM
 
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We are expecting our first and I am almost out of my first trimester and working in a cadaver lab as a TA. I haven't had many problems with nausea in the lab but I have been lucky not to have too severe of morning sickness anyway. I talked tot he instructor about the formaldehyde and chemical concerns and also did a lot of research on my own. I keep the door open while I'm teaching, and the lab has very low levels of formaldehyde anyway. If you do take the class just double check that the ventilation is proper and that you stay super hydrated. Frequent urination will move the formaldehyde right through you once it gets in your system and gets broken down (which is right away if you're well hydrated). Anatomy is awesome but can also be a very challenging class so it might be better to wait til you have more time to devote to your studies instead of being so distracted by the excitements and challenges of pregnancy :)

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Old 01-16-2014, 09:30 PM
 
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This is an extremely old thread. The OP probably has a three-year-old by now. 

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