Nursing Birth

One Labor & Delivery Nurse’s View From the Inside

Women’s First-trimester Working Conditions Impact Infant Birthweight June 22, 2009

Filed under: In The News — NursingBirth @ 10:12 AM
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A new study that will be published in the August 2009 edition of the American Journal of Public Health has found that high levels of job strain during early pregnancy are associated with reduced birthweight and an increased risk of delivering a small for gestational age (SGA) baby, especially if mothers work 32 or more hours per week.  The study included questionnaires from and conducted follow-up on 8266 pregnant women participating in the Amsterdam Born Children and Their Development study.


I find these findings particularly interesting because many mothers, if they have the luxury of being able to take some time off of work during their pregnancy, typically take the time off during the end of their third trimester.  The results of this study make me, and the authors, wonder if perhaps women who work in high strain jobs and/or work a long work week should consider reducing their hours or workload during the first trimester instead or as well.


Remember, the first trimester is the most critical time in a woman’s pregnancy.  Although at the end of the first three months the fetus is only about 4 inches long and weighs less than 1 ounce, that tiny little baby has already begun to form all of its major organs and nervous system, has a heartbeat, and already has formed its arms, fingers, legs, toes, hair, and buds for future teeth.


To check out the article’s abstract visit the American Journal of Public Health website.


To check out a summary of the article visit Medical News Today.


6 Responses to “Women’s First-trimester Working Conditions Impact Infant Birthweight”

  1. Jenny Says:

    Wow, that is pretty crazy. I can’t wait to read the full article!

    Thanks for the information!

  2. Holly Says:

    Yikes! I worked extra hard during my first trimester, pulling long hours with work travel and lots of stress. Hope it won’t have too much of a negative impact.

    • nursingbirth Says:

      Holly, I hope that this article does not unnecesarily scare you! I’m sure that you are doing everything you can to give your baby the best start (ie good nutrition, exercise, and overall keeping yourself happy and healthy!) THanks for reading! And in fact, tell your significant other tonight (ifyou have one of course) to give you a back and foot rub….nurse’s orders! You deserve it!!

  3. solinox Says:

    Wow, you’d think my job(s) during the first trimester were stressful enough to create this effect! (homeschooling triplets plus two, etc….) Instead I get the 10-pound full-terms and the 2-pound 26-weekers. Geez.

  4. Molly Says:

    If 32 hours is too much… I’m in no man’s land! Plus chaseing around a 2 year old the rest of the time. Yikes.

    • nursingbirth Says:

      Molly & solinox, you’re right! chasing around babies is quite the work out!! You both deserve a break! (Possibly with some sort of non-alcoholic fruity frozen drink with an umbrellla 😉 )

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