Environmental Health and Safety (EHS)

Voluntary Pregnancy Declaration

Pregnant individuals that work with or near radiation have the opportunity to voluntarily declare their pregnancy with the Radiation Safety office.  If you elect to declare your pregnancy, you must do so in writing.  The required form is available as a PDF and may be submitted to the Radiation Safety office in person or via fax (210-567-2965).   The declaration remains in effect until you voluntarily withdraw the declaration in writing or you are no longer pregnant.

 

Declaring your pregnancy initiates a chain of events.  First, your occupational exposure limit for radiation to the whole body will decrease from 5000 mrem/year to 500 mrem for the duration of the gestation period.  A good guideline to maintain this limit is to receive no more than 50 mrem each month.  However, the 500 mrem limit takes effect from the date of conception, so your monthly limit may in fact be less.  For example, if an individual declared their pregnancy 6 months after conception, and between the date of conception and the date of declaration they had already accrued 450 mrem, they would then be limited to no more than 50 mrem for the remaining 3 months of pregnancy (or no more than 16 mrem/month).  

 

Next, in order to monitor the radiation dose to the fetus, you will be issued a fetal dosimeter badge.  This badge is worn at the belly button, and would be worn under any type of lead protective device.  The fetal dosimeter is changed every month.

 

With the he goal of maintaining your dose and the dose to your fetus as low as reasonably achievable, there are certain precautions that you must undertake once you have declared your pregnancy.  The following precautions are required:

  1. Wear your lead (of appropriate thickness) at all times when around x-ray producing devices.
  2. Wear your dosimeters at all times (at the collar outside of lead for whole body and at the umbilicus under the lead for the fetal monitor). 25 TAC §289.231(q).
  3. You cannot hold patients during any x-ray exposures.  25 TAC §289.227(i)(8)(C)(ii) requires that our handbook of operating and safety procedures for operators of x-ray producing devices include a procedure on how to select an individual to hold a patient.  Our procedure states that “In selecting a holder, no pregnant woman or possibly pregnant woman or individual under 18 years of age will be considered”.
  4. Avoid exposure to radioactive I-131.
  5. Increase your distance from sources of radiation.
  6. Minimize time spent near sources of radiation.
  7. Return all dosimeters to radiation safety promptly for analysis (within 7 days of the end of the wear period).

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