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pregnancy and molecular work - (May/10/2013 )

Hi all,
In our institution there are no really safety regulations in case of pregnancy ... I guess not too many happen in our profession. In fact I am first here so I don't really have really guidance what is OK and what not to do.
I am usually using MoBio PowerSoil kit for my extractions and I know that there is tris and guanidine in there; however I have no idea if this may be harmful for a developing baby.

I would really appreciate if there is anyone who can give me a suggestion or a hint whether it is OK and do extractions in the bio-hood or I should wait for at least first trimester to end before starting to use chemicals.

Many thanks!


First off - Congratulations!

Tris and guanidine should be fine, as should the other components. So long as you aren't literally drinking the stuff and are unlikely to accidentally get large amounts on a mucous membrane there should be minimal risk to your child. There is more risk from the ethyl and isopropyl alcohols in the kit as these form vapours that can be inhaled, but even there the amounts are tiny, much smaller than would be ingested by drinking a bottle of beer for example.

You should go around the lab and look at the chemicals that you are routinely using (check out what others are using in the lab too, you never know when one might have a big spill), and read the MSDS for each. They probably won't mention the risk to unborn children, but it will at least give you some idea of what you should look for in exposure to yourself, and how much is safe for you (though not the baby). Anything that you are uncomfortable to deal with (e.g. weighing out dangerous chemicals), either get someone else to do it or avoid it -discuss with your boss/supervisor about doing something less hazardous for a while or see if there is paperwork that could be done by you freeing up someone else to be in the lab.

Good luck!


In addition to checking you chemicals also consider the microorganisms that might be present in your samples. If there is any possibility of harmful organsims consider doing the stages containing live organisms in a biohazard cabinet.



Thank you both! I had contacted I have start checking out the chemicals my colleagues use on the bench. Luckily the organisms we have in the lab are not pathogenic anaerobes so at least I don't have to worry about that too!

It takes a lot of reading, worrying and changing of habits at the beginning of pregnancy, hope it will get better once I know what is OK and what not!

Thanks one more time!


Does your institution have an industrial hygienist or chemical safety officer? Even if you're the first pregnancy they've ever had in the lab (which I find unlikely), it is quite literally their job to advise you on the precautions you should be taking. Looking at MSDS's on your own is also a good step, but I'd encourage you to consult with them as well.

Congratulations, by the way.