Appendix E: Medical Information Regarding Issues Related to Pregnancy in Correctional Officers
The following information is intended to help you make informed decisions regarding your job activities if you are pregnant or considering becoming pregnant. While the majority of pregnant correctional officers (COs) will be able to continue to work throughout pregnancy with some accommodations, you should discuss with your treating physician any individual conditions that may require limitation of activities during pregnancy.
Types of Risks
The following activities/occupational hazards may have adverse effects at any time during pregnancy:
- Live-fire qualification and practice (for example, use of lead-free ammunition, avoidance of weapon cleaning solvents and other modifications may reduce the exposure and resultant risks)
- Receiving a TASER discharge in training
- Exposure to toxic chemicals including prolonged exposure to vehicular exhaust
- Trauma (even simple falls)
- Exposure(s) to infectious diseases including HIV, TB, CMV, parvovirus 19, and influenza
Risks by Trimester
First trimester – In addition to the above, there are no other activities with an adverse effect.
Second trimester – In addition to the above, the following activities may have adverse effects:
. Defensive tactics training involving ground fighting, falls, or blunt abdominal trauma
. Contact with inmates (due to risk of trauma)
. Restraining inmates
. Alternating shift work, prolonged standing and heavy lifting
Third Trimester – In addition to the above, there are no other activities with an adverse effect. Activities that involve or require speed, agility, and balance may be adversely affected by body changes of pregnancy.
Post-delivery – Return-to-work decisions should be based upon an individualized evaluation of your current status, the requirements of your work assignment, and the type of delivery and complications.
Lactation – Exposure to toxic substances as outlined above (for example, live-fire training) may result in these substances being present in breast milk.
Standard body armor is not designed to protect the fetus and typically does not cover the lower abdomen. The body armor fitted pre-pregnancy may not offer the same level of protection during pregnancy.
More complete information is available in the Pregnancy chapter of the ACOEM Guidance for Medical Evaluation of Law Enforcement Officers (LEOs).