Objective: To study the associations between working conditions and pre-eclampsia.
Methods: A cross-sectional study based on questionnaires to all parturients was conducted in Norway from 16 October 1989 to 26 November 1989, with an 87.2% response rate. Of the 5388 responders with singleton pregnancies, 3321 continued in paid work beyond the 3rd month of pregnancy. Pre-eclampsia was recorded if the woman reported hospitalization for hypertension, or if proteinuria and hypertension were diagnosed more than once in the pregnancy.
Results: The prevalence of pre-eclampsia was increased in work involving the lifting of heavy loads of 10-20 kg (adjusted odds ratio (OR), 1.8; 95% CI, 1.2-2.5), hectic work pace (OR, 1.4; 95% CI, 1.0-2.0, P < 0.05), work with hands above shoulder level (OR, 1.4; 95% CI, 1.0-2.2; P = 0.07) and for parous women, shift work (OR, 2.0; 95% CI, 1.1-3.6). It was reduced when the woman had an influence on work pace (OR, 0.7; 95% CI, 0.5-1.0; P = 0.07). Prevalence was also increased with daily consumption of more than four cups of coffee (OR, 1.6; 95% CI, 1.1-2.3).
Conclusion: Prenatal care should include assessment of working conditions, as early improvements may reduce the risk of pre-eclampsia.