June/July 2014 (vol. 11/1)

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Research Plus

Physical work can increase risk of preterm birth

Physically demanding work during pregnancy can cause small to moderate increased risks of preterm birth (PTB), according to this systematic review (17 included studies; 10 with low risk of bias). Pooled risk estimates for the low-bias studies were as follows: standing and walking more than three hours a day – odds ratio (OR) = 1.41 (CI 1.06–1.89); lifting and carrying weights of more than 5kg – OR = 1.24 (CI 0.96–1.61); and lifting and carrying more than 5kg weights in the third trimester OR 1.30 (CI 1.01–1.76). A meta-analysis of five studies found an increased risk of PTB from having two or more tasks requiring physical effort, or occupational fatigue (OR = 1.49; CI 1.12–1.99)

Physically demanding work and preterm delivery: a systematic review and meta-analysis. International Archives of Occupational & Environmental Health 2014; online first: DOI 10.1007/s00420-013-0924-3.


Occupational Health at Work June/July 2014 (vol. 11/1) pp43-44