Maternal occupation and pregnancy outcome

Epidemiology. 1996 May;7(3):269-74. doi: 10.1097/00001648-199605000-00009.


Few studies have addressed the effect of maternal employment on late pregnancy outcomes. The National Maternal and Infant Health Survey, a probability sample of U.S. livebirths, stillbirths, and infant deaths in 1988, provided an opportunity to evaluate mothers' jobs in relation to preterm delivery, very low birthweight ( < 1,500 gm), moderately low birthweight (1,500-2,499 gm), small-for-gestational-age (SGA) birth, stillbirth, and infant death. We aggregated mothers' jobs, which were ascertained by mailed questionnaire or telephone interview, into categories for analysis. We considered jobs held at any time during pregnancy and jobs held during the fifth month of pregnancy. Relative to the referent group of clerks, textile workers had adjusted odds ratios of 1.5 or greater for all outcomes, with elevated risks also found sporadically for food service workers (preterm delivery, SGA birth, stillbirth) and electrical equipment operators (all outcomes except for still-birth and infant death). Janitors had elevated adjusted odds ratios of 2.0 or greater for preterm delivery and stillbirth. Relative to clerks, teachers and librarians tended to have reduced risks for adverse outcomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Causality
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Fetal Death / epidemiology*
  • Fetal Death / etiology
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / epidemiology*
  • Fetal Growth Retardation / etiology
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Infant, Low Birth Weight
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infant, Small for Gestational Age
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / epidemiology*
  • Obstetric Labor, Premature / etiology
  • Occupational Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Occupational Diseases / etiology
  • Occupations / statistics & numerical data*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Outcome*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Work Schedule Tolerance
  • Workload / statistics & numerical data