Work and pregnancy

J Occup Med. 1984 Jun;26(6):415-21. doi: 10.1097/00043764-198406000-00013.


Pregnancy outcomes of 7,155 women who worked between one and nine months of pregnancy were compared with outcomes of 4,018 women who were not employed. There were no differences in rates of prematurity, Apgar score, birthweight, perinatal death rate, or malformation prevalence. Working women were divided into those who left employment during the first eight months and those who worked all nine months. The latter had a lower rate of adverse outcome than the other working group and the nonworking group. This indicates that working to term in the absence of contraindications does not impose an added risk on mother or infant. After control of confounding by parity and other relevant factors, an increased risk of prolonged gestational age was seen among primiparous working women. There was an increased risk of fetal distress among those women leaving work prior to nine months who were having their third or subsequent child. A small decrease in birth weight was seen among women who left work prior to term but not among those who worked all nine months. Overall the results are reassuring that working during pregnancy is not in itself a risk factor for adverse outcome.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Apgar Score
  • Birth Weight
  • Body Weight
  • Congenital Abnormalities / etiology
  • Employment*
  • Female
  • Fetal Distress / etiology
  • Gestational Age
  • Humans
  • Infant Mortality
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Premature
  • Pre-Eclampsia / etiology
  • Pregnancy*
  • Time Factors