Psychosocial work stress during pregnancy and birthweight

Paediatr Perinat Epidemiol. 2011 May;25(3):246-54. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3016.2010.01177.x. Epub 2011 Mar 21.


Although there is a growing interest in the health effects of psychosocial work stress, studies on the relationships between job stress and adverse reproductive outcome are limited. We, therefore, investigated the associations between prenatal maternal occupational stress and birthweight using 310 mother-infant pairs included in the Mothers and Children's Environmental Health (MOCEH) study. Information on job stress was collected by interviewing women at enrollment during the first trimester of pregnancy using standardised questionnaires, namely, the Job Content Questionnaire (JCQ) of job strain and effort-reward imbalance (ERI) questionnaires. Regression analyses were carried out. Decision latitude scores of the JCQ were found to be positively related to birthweight, while ERI ratios determined using the ERI model were found to be inversely related to gestational age. In addition, a passive job as defined by the job strain model was found to be associated with a lower birthweight, compared with a relaxed job. These results suggest that work-related psychosocial stress in pregnant women appears to affect birth outcomes, such as birthweight and gestational age.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Birth Weight*
  • Employment / psychology*
  • Female
  • Gestational Age*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Pregnancy
  • Prospective Studies
  • Republic of Korea / epidemiology
  • Stress, Psychological* / epidemiology
  • Stress, Psychological* / psychology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Workplace / psychology
  • Young Adult