Are you pregnant or planning to be soon? Do you work at a child care center, day care facility or head start program? Are you an early childhood teacher? Are you wondering if you should continue to work while pregnant? Are you worried it is not healthy to work around children while pregnant?
As a mom, you want the best for your baby. You’re following a healthy diet, taking prenatal vitamins and faithfully attending doctor appointments. It is understandable to be concerned about working around children while pregnant. After all, you are more susceptible to childhood illnesses when around children.
In March of 2005 I became pregnant with my son. I was working as an early head start teacher. I taught infants and it was a job I enjoyed. However, I chose to quit after learning I was pregnant. I feel it was the best choice for me and my unborn baby. However, just because it was the best choice for me, doesn’t necessarily mean it is harmful to continue working around children while pregnant.
This decision should be discussed with your obstetrician or other health care provider. If you are currently working at a child care center, and are pregnant, please don’t panic. Statistically, your baby will probably be fine. Thousands of pregnant moms each year work frequently around children and have healthy,normal babies and smooth pregnancies.
However, there is some risk in contracting childhood illnesses during pregnancy that you should be informed about. While the risk is very, very small, it is still there. Working in a childcare center could increase your risk of catching a disease that could harm your fetus.
One serious disease that could hurt your baby is cytomegalovirus, also known as CMV. More than likely you caught the disease as a child and are immune to it. However, many pregnant women have never had the disease, and are thus susceptible to it. It is very rare to catch the disease while pregnant. And, even if you do catch CMV while pregnant, there is still a chance it won’t be passed to the baby. And, even if your little one is affected by the virus, there is still a chance that he/she won’t have serious effects or complications. However, you should know, that in some very rare cases, CMV can cause severe neurological problems in unborn babies. This includes brain damage, hearing problems, vision problems, growth problems and more. For more details on congenital CMV, please click here for a CDC article. You might also check out this link here on the March of Dimes website. You can also call your local March of Dimes center for insight.
A second disease to be concerned about during pregnancy is Fifth’s Disease., also known as parvovirus B19. It is a very common childhood illness and prevalent in childcare centers. There is no evidence that contracting fifth’s disease during pregnancy can cause brain damage or birth defects to the baby. However, it could cause him/her to develop anemia, which could lead to a miscarriage. Ask your doctor about it, and read this qjuestion and answer article from the CDC website.
Another disease to be concerned about during pregnancy is the flu. There is no concrete evidence, but there is some debate that babies of mother’s who catch the flu during pregnancy could develop schoizophrenia later in life. Again, this is still a very, very low risk. read “Schozophrenia Linked to Flu During Pregnancy.” There are thousands of moms who have had the flu during the pregnancy and had normal and healthy children.
Something else to consider, is that if you catch a fever during the first trimester, it could possible harm your baby. Consult with your doctor on this for more advice.
Lastly, if the job is very, very stressful for you, it may not be worth it. Stress can increase complications during pregnancy. Read this Dr. Spock article for more details.
Again, many women work at child care centers throughout a pregnancy and have healthy babies. If you choose to continue working, be sure to follow necessary precautions to lower your risk. This includes always wearing gloves when changing diapers, washing your hands frequently, and using hand sanitizer.
Remember, of course, while you are at higher risk at a child care center, you can still catch any of these diseases at other jobs. It is a personal choice to quit work during a pregnancy. Be sure to consult with your doctor for accurate medical advice. If you are worried because you desperately need the income, remember there are some work at home jobs to consider. Read “Legitimate and Scam-Free Work at Home Jobs” and “Work at Home Customer Service Jobs.” You might also check out “Are Work at Home Jobs a Scam?” Remember there are plenty of jobs you can apply at elsewhere.
Some more helpful pregnancy articles to read are “Twenty Important Things to Do During Your Pregnancy” and “5 Questions to Ask Your OB.” Have a happy and healthy nine months!