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December/January 2013/2014 (vol. 10/4)

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Occupational lifting during pregnancy

Occupational lifting during pregnancy is associated with a small increased risk of pre-term birth – particularly lifting loads greater than 20kg, more than 10 times a day – a Danish study of nearly 63,000 pregnant women finds. Participants were asked if and how frequently they had to lift more than 20kg (approximately ‘a crate of beer’) or 11kg–20kg (‘less than a crate of beer and more than a bucket of water’). One-quarter (26.4%) of participants reported lifting heavy loads at work; 2.9% lifted more than 1,000 kg a day. After adjusting for confounding factors, such as maternal age and smoking during pregnancy, there remained a dose–response association between daily lifting and pre-term birth (p < 0.001 for trend). The association was strongest for those lifting more than 1,000 kg/day (odds ratio (OR) = 1.50; 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.03–2.19).

Occupational lifting of heavy loads and preterm birth: a study within the Danish National Birth Cohort. Occupational and Environmental Medicine 2013; 70: 782–788

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Occupational Health at Work December/January 2013/2014 (vol. 10/4) pp45