Background: Heavy physical work is still considered one of the most prevalent risk factors of negative pregnancy outcome. The present study was undertaken to evaluate the impact of heavy physical work during pregnancy, based on subjective assessment of workload, on the risk of delivering a small-for-gestational-age (SGA) baby.
Methods: Job characteristics were compiled for 1,064 working women from the Lódź region (8% population sample) based on questionnaire responses. Energy expenditure during daily work was estimated. SGA was diagnosed when the birth weight was below the 10th percentile of the standard curves for central Poland. The SGA group comprised 78 women who delivered SGA babies, while the non-SGA group consisted of 986 women with eutrophic newborns.
Results: An excessive risk of SGA was found in the group reporting heavy physical effort at work. The physical effort perceived as heavy by pregnant women appeared to be a better predictor of SGA manifestation than the estimated energy expenditure at work.
Conclusions: The information obtained from a pregnant worker should constitute an essential decisive factor for determining the time of work cessation during pregnancy.