The type of work you do can affect your pregnancy outcome.
Women who are pregnant and who work in jobs that are physically demanding, or who work in jobs that have long or irregular hours may be more likely to have a baby who is underweight, or to deliver their baby prematurely. [Premature Birth]
In a study of over 1,100 women, researchers found that pregnant women who were very physically active in their jobs were more likely to have a baby with a low birth weight.
About 21 percent of the women delivered babies who were underweight, while only 14 percent of women who worked at less physically demanding jobs delivered underweight babies.
Being born underweight can lead to a number of problems in newborns, including respiratory distress syndrome.
Working long hours, more than 40 per week, and working on shifts also increased the risk of a woman’s baby being underweight when born, and of delivering her baby prematurely.
Temporary work increased the risk of having a premature delivery four times over that of having a regular, full-time job.
The reasons for this are uncertain, though researchers suspect that temporary jobs may involve higher stress levels, and involve working conditions that are not as good.
Physically demanding work has been shown to have a negative effect on pregnancy outcomes in previous studies. This includes jobs that require long periods of standing up, or involving carrying or lifting heavy loads. The socioeconomic status of the mothers did not seem to make a difference.
When a woman is pregnant, she should talk with her doctor about the type of work she does. The woman may need to make changes in her work schedule or responsibilities as her pregnancy continues.