Radiography School Pregnancy Policy

I.     FETUS SENSITIVITY TO RADIATION

A number of studies have suggested that the embryo/fetus may be more sensitive to ionizing radiation than an adult, especially during the first three (3) months of gestation.  The National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurements (NCRP) has recommended that special precautions be taken to limit exposure when an occupationally-exposed woman could be pregnant.  Specifically, the NCRP and the State of Ohio has recommended that the maximum permissible dose to the fetus from occupational exposure of the expectant mother should not exceed 5.0-mSv (500 mRem) gestation period or 0.50 mSv (50-mRem) month.  This is approximately one-tenth (1/10) of the dose limit (maximum permissible dose) for occupational workers.

University of Akron’s (UA) Radiography Program is required to assure that the dose to the embryo/fetus during the entire pregnancy due to occupational exposure of the declared pregnant woman does not exceed  0.50 mSv (50-mRem) month.  The regulations define the declared pregnant woman as one who has voluntarily informed the program, in writing, of her pregnancy and the estimated date of conception.  The anticipated dose each month should not be greater than  0.50 mSv (50-mRem).  The following pregnancy options are applicable to pregnancies and adoptions.

II.     IF YOU BECOME PREGNANT

A declaration of pregnancy is completely voluntary, but must be in written form.  You are encouraged to inform the Program Director of your pregnancy when you are first aware if it (a Declaration of Pregnancy form is included at the end of this policy) as the above radiation dose limits can only be monitored if the program officials are aware of the pregnancy.  We at the UA care about you and your baby and want you to know your educational options.

    A.    PREGNANCY OPTION #1
        1.    University of Akron (UA) has adopted the conservative policy of restricting the dose of ionizing radiation to the fetus during the entire period of gestation to no more than 5.0-mSv (500-mRem) gestation period and no more than 0.5-mSv (50-mRem) month.

        2.    If your clinical experience is in an area where the anticipated dose is less than 5-mSv (500 mRem) to the fetus over the period of gestation, it is the opinion of our Radiation Physicist that you are able to continue your clinical experiences in this area without modification and without restrictions.  Your clinical assignments will continue to be under the direction of your Clinical Instructor.
        3.    If the anticipated dose to the fetus is more than 5-mSv (500-mRem) gestation period in a clinical area, then you will be assigned to another area involving less exposure to ionizing radiation.

        4.    Individuals who are pregnant are not prohibited from developing their clinical skills or frequenting diagnostic radiation areas.  These individuals may also operate sources of ionizing radiations (diagnostic x-ray equipment, including fluoroscopy and portables) and rotate through all advanced modality areas without restrictions.

        5.    If you choose this option, during your pregnancy you are expected to perform your assigned duties as a Radiography student, unless certain restrictions are placed upon you by the Radiation Safety Officer.  You are expected to follow established radiation safety policies.

        6.    Once you have officially declared your pregnancy, a fetal radiation badge will be ordered and you will wear this at the level of the waist under your lead apron.  This badge will be in addition to your standard collar badge which you will also wear.  During your pregnancy you are encouraged to monitor your radiation exposure via the radiation badge readings which are made available to all radiation workers.  Contact the Radiation Safety Officer or the Radiography Program Director if any unusual readings occur.

        7.    Make-up time for clinical absences due to the pregnancy are outlined in the Attendance Policy.  All make-up options must be approved by the Clinical Coordinator (see STUDENT HANDBOOK: Attendance Policy).

    B.    PREGNANCY OPTION #2
        1.    If you feel that it would be detrimental to  you or your unborn child's health, you may withdraw from the program.  A letter from you must document the following items:
            a.    the date of your official withdrawal
            b.    the reasons for that withdrawal
            c.    if you intend to apply for readmission the following year

        2.    An option for readmission to the program is available to you one (1) year from the withdrawal date.  Program costs will not be frozen during that time period and you will be expected to pay the prevailing rates for the duration of your program.  Written confirmation of your desire to be readmitted must be received before February 1st of the year you wish to be readmitted.

        3.    If you choose not to accept the readmission option or do not send written confirmation by February 1st but later desire admission to  the program, you will be required to re-apply through the standard admissions procedure with all other prospective candidates.  Readmission back into the program in this situation is not guaranteed.

    C.    WITHDRAWAL OF DECLARATION
        1.    A withdrawal of your declaration of pregnancy is completely voluntary, but must be in written form.  A Withdrawal of Declaration of Pregnancy form is included at the end of this policy.  

III.     DECLARATION OF PREGNANCY
                                                                                                                         
Radiography Student Name (please print)

    A.    In accordance with the NRC's regulation 10 CFR 20.1208 (Dose to an Embryo/Fetus) and Ohio regulation 3701:1-38-12 (H), I am declaring that I am pregnant. I believe that I became pregnant in________________ (only the month and year need be provided).

    B.    I understand that the radiation dose to my embryo/fetus during my entire pregnancy will not be allowed to exceed 0.5 rem (5 millisievert) (unless that dose has already been exceeded between the time of conception and submitting this letter).

                                                                                                                                                                                
            Signature                            Date

The UA Radiation Safety Officer, consulting physicist, or UA Radiography Program Director is available for discussion regarding levels of exposure from sources of ionizing radiation in the clinical setting and the risks to the developing embryo/fetus as a result of prenatal exposure (see U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission: Regulatory Guide 8.13 - Instruction Concerning Prenatal Radiation Exposure).

IV.     WITHDRAWAL OF DECLARATION
                                                                                                                            
Radiography Student Name (please print)

    A.    I wish to withdraw my previous declaration of pregnany.  I realize that my monthly fetal monitoring radiation badges will be discontinued.

                                                                                                                                                                               
            Signature                            Date

Last revision date:    September/2017
Last review date:    March/2018