26 Oct How Shift Work and Long Hours may affect your preterm birth risk
Shift work and long hours on the job have been found to significantly increase the risk of preterm birth.
For parents-to-be, this information from to a recent study led by MonashUniversity, is crucial as it sheds light on the potential impact of their work situations on pregnancy.
The Study’s Key Findings
In this study, researchers conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of 37 studies from 21 different countries. The primary focus was to explore the connection between physical job demands and preterm birth, which refers to giving birth before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
Increased Risk Factors
The research revealed that pregnant women engaged in jobs requiring long hours, shift work, physically demanding tasks, or exposure to whole-body vibration, faced a heightened risk of preterm birth. For women with shift work, the risk was 63% higher compared to those with standard working hours. Similarly, women working more than 40 hours per week had a 44% higher risk than those working fewer hours.
No Risk for Some Factors
However, it’s important to note that there was no evidence of increased risk for women who spent long periods standing at work or had jobs involving heavy lifting (defined as lifting more than 5kg at a time or more than 50kg over the course of a day).
What This Means for Parents
The study’s implications go beyond the statistics. Preterm birth has been associated with health complications for children, such as diabetes, hypertension, lung problems, and heart disease in later life. Therefore, understanding the link between work conditions and preterm birth is vital for expectant parents.
Balancing Work and Health
The study emphasizes that work is generally beneficial for health, but it also suggests that employers of pregnant women should consider making modifications to physically demanding jobs to reduce associated risks. It’s equally important for pregnant women in such roles to be aware of these findings and engage in open conversations with their employers about ways to minimize risks.
The Changing Work Landscape
As more women enter the workforce, the number of pregnant women in physically demanding jobs has increased. To address this evolving dynamic, workplace policies and procedures must be adapted to ensure a balance between protecting the health of expectant mothers and promoting workforce participation.
Further Research Needed
One significant call to action is the need for further research, particularly in the context of contemporary jobs. The study found that limited data from Australia was collected several decades ago. As job roles and expectations have evolved over time, having up-to-date information is essential to developing effective workplace policies.
Parents-to-be should take note of this study’s findings, especially if they work shifts or long hours. While work can be beneficial for health, understanding and mitigating potential risks during pregnancy is paramount. Open dialogue with employers and the availability of updated information are critical steps toward ensuring a healthier and safer work environment for expectant mothers.
See also information about this New Work place Portal