I was 5 weeks pregnant and working in the spine room. Just as I finished my intubation and secured the airway, I turned to set the ventilator and administer some important medications. The surgery fellow started to position the fluoroscope near the patient’s cervical spine, about a foot away from where I was working. “Please don’t use the Xray right now; I need to put on a lead shield first,” I said. “Yeah, ok… whatever…” he said, as he continued to fine-tune its position. Thirty seconds later he sighed, then started pushing some buttons and eyeing the screen. I looked at him sternly and said, “I’m serious. Don’t do it. I’m pregnant.”
Yes, this awkward moment happened during my first pregnancy last year. A very similar situation happened again at work during this pregnancy, but I was a bit farther along. Many people wait until they are out of their first trimester to disclose a pregnancy, mainly because there is an unfortunate cloud of shame in our culture that surrounds miscarriage. But in certain situations, depending on your occupation, I would argue that it is important to tell coworkers earlier.