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Re: Pregnant and paranoid

Deirdre wrote:

>I just found out that I'm pregnant and have added 'playing in the tanks' 
>to my list of 'safe or not?'.
>Does anyone have any idea if any of the chemicals we use in the hobby are 
>dangerous to pregnant women?
>I have a 55 and a 10 gal planted tank. No CO2 yet but I'm all set up and 
>ready to go. I just got my order of macros from Homegrown Hydropoinics, 
>but looking at the bags of white powder I'm starting to wonder if mixing 
>my own PMDD is a good idea.

CONGRATULATIONS!!! Shoot - when I got pregnant with my first (and it was 
*very* unplanned pregnancy), I was sort of in denial for at least a month. 
This was extremely stupid of me, because at the time, I was working as a 
lab tech in a chemical manufacturing company. We had MSDS's, and I knew 
that some of the things I was working with were "suspected mutagens" and 
"suspected teratogens". One time, I was working late in the cleanroom by 
myself, doing some wafer processing and noticed my eyes were feeling 
irritated. I stepped out of the cleanroom and went to the bathroom to take 
a breather and check my eyes. BRIGHT RED they were. I panicked, let some 
people know what was happening, and they discovered that the air flow 
through the hoods was almost completely stopped because of something they 
were doing in a different lab. I absolutely had a cow. The next morning, I 
was biting heads off (including my poor stupid boss's, who was completely 
oblivious to what happened and of my situation), and realized that my 
natural instinct to be protective of this precious peanut-sized embryo was 
kicking in. Well when I started seeing a doctor for the pregnancy, he gave 
me a toll-free number for the "Teratogen Hotline." You could basically call 
them any time with your worries about exposure and stuff. They eased my 
mind about that incident and were very helpful and understanding with all 
my concerns. I'm afraid I no longer have that number handy, but I'm sure 
your OB-Gyn could give it to you or something similar.

When I got pregnant with my second, my tanks quickly went south. I wasn't 
into aquatic plants at the time, which was probably a good thing. One time, 
I noticed that one of my tanks was only 1/3 full and everything inside was 
completely obscured by an immense entanglement of leggy hornwort and thread 
algae. But with nausea that lasted the whole first trimester and soon 
ballooning out to facilitate this monstrosity of a baby (born 10 lbs, 3 oz; 
I'm only 4' 10"), my hobby was nowhere even on my list of priorities. My 
"new" hobby was finding a comfortable position to sleep in. But in the very 
beginning, I did ask about possible dangers of maintaining a fish tank. 
They were telling me never to handle kitty litter during pregnancy because 
of Mycobacteriosis; well, fish tuberculosis is a strain of Mycobacteriosis, 
but I guess it's rare enough that my doctor didn't even consider it a 
possibility. I would think that you'd want to avoid malachite green, if you 
ever use that for treating Ich or other parasitic infestations. Basically, 
if you have to handle powders, fish meds or come in contact with 
questionable compounds, ask for help! That's another reason to keep our men 
around ;-). Numerous times, my husband offered to lug buckets of water for 
me if I wanted to do water changes, but I wouldn't accept his help and 
completely neglected my tanks, instead. I was too uncomfortable to do 
*anything* physical, anyway. I must've done a total of two water changes in 
those nine months! Didn't even bother to top off when the water had 

Well, usually at 16 weeks they do an ultrasound to check for all the organs 
(and gender, if you want) and a normal-developing spine and in many states, 
they automatically do something called "AFP" (Alpha feto-protein) 
screening, a blood test that screens for a number of genetic abnormalities 
- Down's syndrome, trisomy-#'s, spina-bifida, and some others. If you're 35 
and over, or the AFP shows a positive reading (many times false), they'll 
automatically do amnio-centesis. After these tests show that everything's 
going OK, you'll be able to really relax. I'm sure that basic tank 
maintenance is absolutely no problem. With a 55-gallon, this will be a good 
time to purchase a Python to do water changes (unless you think your 
significant other is in desperate need of some exercise... Heh-heh).

I'm so happy for you!!! A BABY!!! By the way, make sure you ask for the 
pain killers *before* you *really* need it. Both times, I asked too late 
and I had to deliver without. Not a problem with a 6 1/2 lb baby that came 
flying out with two pushes, but a serious mistake with a 10+ lb one that 
eventually had to be *vacuumed* out... ;-) Yeech... I have to cross my legs 
every time I remember that horrible experience. Have fun; I LOVED my first 
pregnancy. I felt gypped out of my ninth month, even (he was born exactly a 
month early). After the second, I learned to be careful of what I wish 
for... ;-p