Maternal and Child Health Among Female Firefighters in the U.S

Matern Child Health J. 2018 Jun;22(6):922-931. doi: 10.1007/s10995-018-2468-3.


Objectives Despite increasing attention to the occupational impact of firefighting, little is known specific to the health of women firefighters. In particular, quantitative data is lacking on the impact firefighting has on maternal and child health for women who become pregnant while working as firefighters. Methods A total of 1821 women firefighters responded to requests to complete a self-report survey of questions about pregnancy. Women answered questions about their departments' policies and practices and their own experiences of pregnancy. Those participants who reported a pregnancy while serving as a firefighter were asked detailed questions about their pregnancy and outcomes. Results Female firefighters reported that nearly a quarter of their first pregnancies while in the fire service ended in miscarriage and that increased to a third of pregnancies by the fourth. Rates of pre-term delivery also were high among this population. Conclusions Findings have important implications for policy and practice among women who become pregnant while actively serving in the fire service.

Keywords: Child health; Firefighting; Maternal health; Occupational health; Pregnancy.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Abortion, Spontaneous / epidemiology
  • Adult
  • Child
  • Child Health*
  • Female
  • Firefighters*
  • Health Behavior
  • Health Status
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Maternal Health*
  • Occupational Exposure* / adverse effects
  • Occupational Health*
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome / epidemiology
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult