As I’m now approaching my 37th week of pregnancy and still working, I’m finding once simple daily work tasks to be daunting challenges. And while most owners are mindful of “the bump” in the exam room, I still find many people just aren’t aware of some of the physical hurdles associated with being a heavily pregnant vet. But even for vets and vet nurses who aren’t pregnant, I think this list of owner considerations is always appreciated!
1) Please don’t let Barkly jump all over my stomach and try to knock me over. I know, not every pet has had training yet, but getting pawed and licked to death by your dog is not cute when I have difficulty maintaining my own center of gravity at the best of times while 9 months pregnant.
2) If you have a large dog and I’m about to get down on hands and knees to examine him, PLEASE hold him securely! Don’t half hold him so that I’m having to crawl, pregnant bellied, all over the exam room floor to try and take his temperature.
3) And if you’re unable to hold Fido properly, please let me know before I’m on all fours for ten minutes trying to complete my physical exam. I can always get another staff member to assist us!
4) This one is pretty standard, but if Fluffy is aggressive or bites, PLEASE WARN ME! Getting bitten or scratched under normal circumstances is no picnic, but while pregnant poses further risk as many bacteria and antibiotics are harmful to an unborn baby. I can always grab a muzzle and use extra precautions if given advance notice.
5) If you bring in or are picking up Rover, please have a leash ready, or be prepared to take him from me if I’m carrying him out to you-even a 10 kilogram/20 pound dog, while not very heavy, is a major wriggling strain on my back and bump. Seriously, I’ve had owners just blankly stare at me and refuse to take their dog from my outstretched arms!
6) I’m the size of a small house, so give me a little extra time to get things done. Just standing from a seated position takes me twice as long as a normal person. And I know you may have been waiting for over fifteen minutes for your appointment, but I have to pee like every ten minutes! So bare with me.
7) And this one is just something most pregnant women normally don’t want to hear, but please refrain from commenting on how big I am! Believe me, I’m well aware of my ever-outward growing physical stature; being reminded of it every twenty minutes by a well-meaning owner does my hormonally fragile ego no favors.
These are just a few little suggestions (if not rants!) that the nurses have to hear from me at work in the back room on a daily basis. So please, have a little extra sympathy and patience for your pregnant vet or vet nurse at your next veterinary appointment!