Recently found out that I am expecting... So my question is how is this going to effect me and my fire family in field (from those who have been through it, either pregnant themselves or had a pregnant team member)??? Any advice? I really don't want to give up runs just yet!!! This pregnancy came as a total surprise! My Chief and fire family seem pretty ok with it since my doc gave me the go ahead... with the exception of lifting no more than 20 Lbs.

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Hello, Daniele!

I noticed your post/question and that no one had responded to you. I have had 2 children while serving in a volunteer fire department. When I found out I was expecting my first, my chief took me off the trucks completely, not even allowed to direct traffic. I wasn't even allowed to run EMS calls as a EMT-B. They stated it was because of insurance reasons, which I am not even sure was true because I have known several other females that were able to run, in some capacity, until the last few weeks of their pregnancy's.

You are a few steps ahead of where I was 7 yrs ago with even being allowed to run. I would say that as long as your doctor says you are able to continue then your chief should stay on-board with that decision. I wish you the best of luck!
Hey girl I was rididng tale board til I was 7mnths prego. My guys watched out for me so hope your guys will watch out. I know now since im an engineer it will be ok. I had to come off the engine at 7 and half months due to my gear and i was waddling so bad... But you can do... If you need any more help just let me know
Several of the ladies I work with on Memphis Fire Department have worked well into their pregnancy. All the city wants is written documentation from your doctor clearing you to work. Once your doctor says it's time for you to come off company, they let you go work at the training center or headquarters doing desk work until after you've delivered. Just listen to your body and you'll know when it's time to take it easy.
Having support from your Chief and co workers is vital. Follow your doctor's advice and be honest! Even though the pregnancy is a surprise, you're keeping this little one :) Congrats! You want to make sure you don't hurt your baby. Use your brain and think of your child. You may get some ff who don't agree with you being out there, especially when it comes to the guys. It's important to let them know you are still the same girl you always were, except with one on board. Hope all goes well, and Congrats again.
I have two children and was on a volunteer fire department when I found I was expecting my first I was taken off trucks and did go for work .They did not want any thing to happen to me .I had to many things go wrong during my pregnancy to be frank it scared the hell out of the guys that was 22 years ago. Follow your Dr's advice and be honest.
If you were a volunteer, Personally, I wouldn't even let you in the firehouse at this point. While I will probably be dodging tomatos, the whole pregnancy-light-duty thing is robbing your team of a real firefighter. You would be better off helping the Ladies Auxilliary or something, maybe help with rehabs, but pregnant women have no place in the firehouse. You could probably do it up until you show, but that would have to be the cutoff. And I am a female firefighter/emt with 4 years experience, and I think this way, so it isn't a 'guy' thing. By all means, congrats on the family, but until your no longer expecting, stay off trucks and out of the way.
I have to agree with N. Stewart... as a person who has seen too many young women lose a little one, it is tooooo risky. Take a medical leave... help fundraise and try and help with house comittees but stay off the trucks. This is a dangerous job and if you get hurt and God forbid hurt your child you will resent the fire service for the rest of your life.
I am currently a pregnant full time firefighter and I must say it have definately been a struggle. Our department has no protocol or anything set aside for female firefighters. I am currently the only one so we are all trying to pioneer our way through. I've been trying to get some answers but no one really has any yet. Doctors seem to think working the first trimester is ok, I however question the safety of being on the pipe in extreme heat. Especially when you read that you should stay out of hot tubs and sauna's, ext. This is my third pregnancy, I lost the first one in the first trimester and the second was just fine. I worked light duty for 60 days (that's all dept. allows) after first trimester than was gone completely until 12 weeks after baby was born. Income continuation only covered 6 weeks after baby came, then I had to use accrued sick time to stay off the entire 12 weeks. I wish that this whole situation was easier each time but no one here seems to want to be very proactive! It's very frustrating.
Hey Tracy,
I am very sympathetic to you. I have had two confirmed miscarriages plus a few unconfirmed. Initially I was of the thought that if you could do the job, keep doing it, but the miscarriages really make you doubt anything you did (esp considering the potential for birth defects the first trimester). My Doctors never really did understand what we were exposed to and most couldn't offer a lot of advice based on anything scientific. I have luckily came away with a healthy daughter and am now in my second trimester with my second. I went off the truck soon after finding out this time. Each time I became pregnant I felt like a teenager telling her father she was pregnant when I went to the Chief. Light duty here is not guaranteed and we all know 3 months FMLA doesn't go past one trimester, let alone when your body is wrecked afterwards. Luckily the department has taken care of me. With the two confirmed miscarriages I fought brush and housefires (first in and salvage and overhaul) before the miscarriages. Salvage and overhaul in the later stages and wildfires are not always done with an SCBA, as we all are aware.

It is sad that even when you want to come off, there is not much of a safety net out there. My husband was recently laid off and if no light duty was offered the decision to continue working would have been a hard one (family eating versus safety of pregnancy). I really wish instead of just bashing women who work on the truck, the coworkers who are opposed to it would ask for some sort of maternity policy that guarantees light duty for maternity or maybe even paid maternity leave. I am the type who usually gets the bonus for not using a lot of sick days, but all my vacation (never use a lot) and sick leave accrued barely lasted 2 1/2 months, and will probably be about the same this time around. In contrast, my city offers a pay boost to firefighters who are deployed by the military to make up for the difference in pay from the normal amount they would make here. It makes me a little sad to think that while they are doing a nice thing for them, they are neglecting to help out women that could be forced to choose between financial security and the safety of their child- the whole money argument doesn't hold water when they can still offer the military benefit.

If you are a young lady thinking about joining a fire department, read their maternity policy first. Make sure it is realistic and will enable you to have a career without having to choose between your job and having children.

I know there may be women reading this who are pregnant. Every pregnancy and woman is different. I have a MTHFR mutation (actually somewhat common) that makes it hard for my body to process folic acid. It creates an enzyme that is affected by temperature- and makes me wonder if high heat is especially harmful to the embryo/fetus of women with this mutation. Shift work (24 on) already predisposes some women to miscarriages, so please err on the side of caution if there is any doubt. It is just a short season and you will soon be back on the truck before you know it. You never know if you are the woman who is more predisposed to miscarriages until you have them.
That's terrible Tracy. The only real protocol we have here is to pull you out of the station tight away. There is no decision to be made, thus making the "duty to accomodate" much easier. Is there nothing in your contract like this. Duty to accomodate is very important. If you were injured and able to do light duties, the department would have no choice but to find you a position. It would be the same for pregnancy. This is something that should be looked in to with your local's executive. Perhaps a grievance could be filed and you could end up with some back pay!! It's worth a shot!
Most of the time the ladies here end up in the Admin office, which means 8 months of boredom. The latest was able to go to the training centre, which at least means there was lots to do.
I hope things get better in your department going forward!


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