Generations at Risk: Reproductive Health and the Environment

By Ted Schettler | Go to book overview

10
Primer for the Clinician

A twenty-seven-year-old woman sees you when she is twelve weeks pregnant with her first child. She is concerned that her job as a laboratory technician may be hazardous to her fetus.

A young couple comes to your office with concerns about fertility. They were married almost two years ago and have not yet succeeded in conceiving a child.

One of your patients is a three-year-old child who is beginning to worry you. He seemed healthy as an infant but now is behind the normal developmental milestones for his age. You are considering having him evaluated by a specialist.

All health care workers in direct patient care should be alert to potential occupational or environmental exposures. Reproductive and developmental toxicants threaten pregnant women, women and men of reproductive age, and infants and children, whose bodies are still developing. A brief environmental and occupational history is an important part of the routine medical history. Appropriate follow-up of pertinent positive responses is equally important.
The Occupational and Environmental History
As part of every full history and physical examination, the patient should answer the following questions:
What work do you do now, and what work have you done in the past?

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