The link between demanding jobs and premature birth

A woman’s priorities change entirely once she is pregnant. The pregnancy normally becomes the centre of her universe. But what about job responsibilities? A demanding job can have a great impact on overall health. Pregnancy is also a demanding time for your body, so it’s not a surprise that added work stress can have a negative effect on you.

Research shows that there is a link between premature birth and a mother’s demanding job. According to statistics, women who work more than 40 hours a week are more likely to go into labour early. It’s also suggested that even full-term babies had lower birth weights than normal, if the mother worked in a stressful job during pregnancy.

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Premature birth and your job

The main risk associated with a stressful job for pregnant women is premature birth. Stress related hormones can cause uterine contractions which could lead to miscarriage, or premature birth in more advanced pregnancies. Jobs that include strenuous physical work or that involve chemicals present additional risks.

Besides physical or environmental dangers, there are other effects of a demanding job while pregnant.

  • Long working hours. Women that work more than eight hours per day are at risk of giving birth prematurely
  • Prolonged standing, as well as prolonged sitting
  • Shift work, especially night shifts. These put an extra strain on a person’s body
  • Stressful work place. Tight deadlines, many responsibilities or complex projects can definitely create a lot of stress

premature birth

Some women already present risk factors that can lead to a premature birth. These include:

  • carrying twins
  • history of premature labour
  • not gaining enough weight during pregnancy
  • being underweight before pregnancy
  • smoking
  • alcohol consumption

If any of these are added to an already demanding job environment, the chances of premature birth increase.

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How can you deal with a demanding job while pregnant?

Find out how you can juggle pregnancy and work on the next page…