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Work in late pregnancy as harmful as smoking
[Posted: Mon 30/07/2012 by Gillian Tsoi www.irishhealth.com]
Working after eight months of pregnancy is as harmful for babies as smoking, according to a new study in the UK.
Researchers at the University of Essex found that women who continued working after eight months of pregnancy had babies that were about half a pound lighter than those who stopped work between six and eight months.
The experts discoved that the detrimental effects of working in the late stages of pregnancy was equal to that of smoking while pregnant.
Babies whose mothers worked or smoked throughout pregnancy grew more slowly in the womb.
Infants who weigh less are more susceptible to poor health and slow development. They may suffer from a variety of health problems later in life.
Giving up work early in pregnancy was particularly beneficial for women with lower levels of education, according to the study. This suggests that more physically demanding jobs are possibly more harmful to the unborn baby than other work.
The birth weight of babies born to mothers under the age of 24 was not affected by them continuing to work, but in older mothers the effect was more significant.
The research was based on three major studies, two in the UK and one in the US. The researchers looked at over 1,300 children whose mothers were part of the British Household Panel Survey, which was conducted between 1991 and 2005, and for whom data was available.
A further sample of 17,483 women who gave birth in 2000 or 2001 and who took part in the Millennium Cohort Study was also examined and showed similar results, along with 12,166 from the National Survey of Family Growth, relating to births in the US between the early 1970s and 1995.
Prof Marco Francesconi, who co-authored the study, said the government should consider incentives for employers to offer more flexible maternity leave to women who might need a break before, rather than after, their babies were born.
He said: "We know low birth weight is a predictor of many things that happen later, including lower chances of completing school successfully, lower wages and higher mortality. We need to think seriously about parental leave, because - as this study suggests - the possible benefits of taking leave flexibly before the birth could be quite high."
The study also suggests British women may be working for longer now during pregnancy. While 16% of mothers questioned by the British Household Panel Study, which went as far back as 1991, worked up to one month before the birth, the figure was 30% in the Millennium Cohort Study, whose subjects were born in 2000 and 2001.
The research, conducted by economists, Francesconi, Emilia Del Bono and John Ermisch.
It was published in the July edition of the Journal of Labour Economics by the University of Chicago.
More information for expecting mothers is available at the Irishhealth.com Pregnancy Clinic.
|Viking Posted: 01/08/2012 14:05|
Wow.....really??! I can see the point about physical jobs so some degree, or for women who have pregnancy related complications, but to say that working is as harmful as smoking???!!! I can't wait to see the reactions from the self employed women out there, many of whom were no doubt working when they went into labour, and were straight back to it within days!
They say babies are generally half a pound lighter when their mothers work into late pregnancy, but half a pound lighter than what?
I can't help but feel there are alot of holes in this research - why can't we just be allowed to get on with pregnancy and childbirth without bombarding people with useless information that only serves to get some doctors' name in print and to add to the endless stream of drivel that parents and future parents are fed - most of which is more than unhelpful!
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