Work Risks

Worried about the effect your exposures or job may have on your fertility or pregnancy? We will summarise current research findings from around the world. If you are worried please contact us for advice.



A national survey of female veterinarians was conducted in Australia in 2002 below we summarise the study findings in terms of reproductive health.

Women exposed to unscavenged anaesthetic gases in small animal practices for 1 hour or more a week were found to have an increased risk of preterm delivery and spontaneous abortion. They observed a dose response effect with exposure to anaesthetic gasses. This says that pregnant women who spend more of their time conducting surgery with unscavenged anaesthetic gases were more at risk.

Long working hours were also related to a strong increase in risk of preterm delivery. Long work hours were determined as working 45 or more hours a week.

Performing more than 5 x rays in a week and use of pesticides at work were also associated with spontaneous abortion.

Use of pesticides in their practice also increased veterinarian’s risk of a spontaneous abortion.

Recommendations for pregnant veterinarians:

  • Reduce working hours or include rest breaks
  • Scavenge anaesthetic gasses
  • Refrain from conducting more than 5 radiographic examinations a week
  • When planning to fall pregnant and while pregnant do not use pesticides


(Shirangi et al., 2009. Associations of unscavenged anesthetic gases and long working hours with preterm delivery in female vetrinarians. Obstetrics and Gynecology 113(5);1008; Shirangi et al., 2008 Maternal occupational exposures and risk of spontaneous abortion in veterinary practice)