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Maternal work during pregnancy and the risks of delivering a small-for-gestational-age or preterm infant

Isabel Fortier, Sylvie Marcoux and Jacques Brisson
Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment & Health
Vol. 21, No. 6 (December 1995), pp. 412-418
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/40966437
Page Count: 7
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Maternal work during pregnancy and the risks of delivering a small-for-gestational-age or preterm infant
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Abstract

Objective The objective of this study was to assess the relation of some maternal job characteristics to the risks of delivering a small-for-gestational-age or preterm infant. Methods Altogether 4390 women who lived in Quebec City, Canada, and the surrounding area, and who gave birth between January and October 1989 to a singleton liveborn neonate were included. Information on gestational age at delivery, job characteristics, nonoccupational physical activities, and several potential confounders was obtained in a telephone interview a few weeks after the delivery. Birthweight was recorded from the birth certificate. Results The risk of having a small-for-gestational-age infant (birthweight lower than the 10th percentile for gestational age and gender) was increased among the women who worked at least 6 h a day in a standing position. The adjusted odds ratios (OR) were 1.00, 1.13 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.83—1.55], and 1.42 (95% CI 1.02—1.95) for the women working in a standing position < 3,3—5,and>6 h a day, respectively. The risk for a small-for-gestational-age infant also slightly increased as the gestational age at work cessation increased. A modest increment in the risk of delivering preterm (OR 1.45,95% CI 0.84—2.49) was observed for the women working regularly in the evening or at night. Physical effort, lifting heavy objects, and long workhours were not related to either a small-for-gestational-age or a preterm infant. Conclusions The results indicate that prolonged standing and working late into pregnancy may increase the risk of delivering a small-for-gestational-age infant, whereas regular evening or night work may be a risk factor for preterm birth.

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