A narrative review on factors associated with job interruption during pregnancy

Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2023 Sep 7;36(3):303-323. doi: 10.13075/ijomeh.1896.02132. Epub 2023 Aug 22.


Most women continue to work during pregnancy. However, some of them have to stop working before giving birth. Absence from work poses several challenges for employers and employees, as well as for society. The literature on absence from work during pregnancy and its determinants remains inconsistent and rather scarce. To conduct a narrative literature review on the factors associated with work interruption and on existing interventions aimed at reducing the absence prevalence during pregnancy. The review refers to published peer-reviewed articles dealing with all types of work interruption among pregnant women. Keyword searches were performed in the electronic databases PubMed, EMBASE, and Google Scholar, covering the period 2000-2022. The review, which includes 42 papers, presents a broad and comprehensive picture of factors and interventions associated with absence from work among pregnant workers. The factors appear at different levels and include factors related to the pregnant women, such as individual health and socio-demographic factors; employer and workplace-related factors, such as risk exposures and working conditions; factors related to the role of the healthcare provider; and factors related to the national context (social benefits/insurance). The determinants of absence from work during pregnancy are complex and multifactorial and involve multiple stakeholders. The discussion addresses gaps and needs in the literature on pregnancy at work and in the field of occupational health. Int J Occup Med Environ Health. 2023;36(3):303-23.

Keywords: absences from work; narrative literature review; occupational health; pregnancy; workplace accommodation; workplace intervention.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Female
  • Health Personnel*
  • Humans
  • Occupational Health*
  • Pregnancy
  • Working Conditions