October/November 2015 (vol. 12/3)

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Research Plus

Better pregnancy outcomes for employed women

A large pan-European study of 222,317 mothers and their children concludes that employed women generally have a lower risk of pre-term delivery compared with those not in work (OR = 0.86; CI 0.81–0.91) and that most occupations do not carry a risk of adverse birth outcomes. Employed women tended to be older, less likely to smoke, educated to a higher level and have a lower body mass index compared with non-employed women. More than half (52%) of the employed pregnant women worked in just 10 sectors, notably healthcare, day care, industry, commerce and home cleaning. There was an increased risk of pre-term delivery in food industry workers (OR = 1.50; CI 1.12–2.02), whereas nursing occupations had a lower risk of small-forgestational age infants (OR = 0.91; CI 0.84–0.99). 

Scandinavian Journal of Work, Environment and Health 2015; 41(4): 384–396. doi: 10.5271/sjweh.3500.


Occupational Health at Work October/November 2015 (vol. 12/3) pp34