Objective: To ascertain the proportion of employed pregnant women who receive medical advice to stop working during pregnancy and to describe their characteristics.
Methods: Data were analyzed from the Georgia Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System, a surveillance system that surveys new mothers about pregnancy risk factors, health behaviors, and birth-related outcomes. Employment during pregnancy was defined as work for pay for 10 hours or more per week.
Results: We studied 1635 women who were employed during pregnancy. A physician or nurse had advised 27.7% (95% CI 24.5%, 30.9%) of them to stop working during pregnancy. Independent predictors of receiving this advice were hospitalization (RR 2.3, 95% CI 1.7, 2.8) and history of previous preterm birth (RR 1.6, 95% CI 1.1, 2.2). Low birth weight (under 2500 g) occurred in 5.8% of women not advised to stop work, in 6.9% of women advised to stop work because of swelling, fatigue, stress, or another reason, and in 13.4% of women advised to stop work because of labor, high blood pressure, or vaginal bleeding (P <.001). Among women advised to stop working in the first through seventh months of pregnancy, 91.7% (95% CI 88.8, 94.5) delivered at 36 or more weeks' gestation.
Conclusion: Work cessation during pregnancy was commonly recommended in this population and was associated with clinical risk factors and adverse birth outcomes. For some women it resulted in a long period of work absence before delivery.