October/November 2012 (vol. 09/3)

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Physical work and pregnancy

Long working hours and work involving extensive periods of standing may result in lower foetal growth rates, but are not associated with adverse pregnancy outcomes, according to a large cohort study in the Netherlands. A total of 4,680 women with singleton pregnancies were in paid employment at the time they completed an occupational questionnaire sent out at 30 weeks’ gestation. Birth outcomes were obtained from medical records and hospital registers. Long periods of standing in the third trimester were significantly associated with lower foetal growth rate (head circumference reduced by approximately 1cm or 3%). Working more than 25 hours a week in the third trimester was also associated with reduced head circumference and with lower foetal growth rate (150g–200g lower weight at birth). There were no associations with adverse pregnancy outcomes (low birth weight, small for gestational age or preterm birth).


Occupational & Environmental Medicine 2012; online first: doi: 10.1136/oemed-2011-100615  http://oem.bmj.com/content/69/8/543


Occupational Health at Work October/November 2012 (vol. 09/3) pp40