Standing for long periods during pregnancy may curb fetal growth

June 27, 2012

Standing for long periods during pregnancy may curb the growth of the developing fetus, suggests research published online in Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

Previous research has indicated that long working hours may increase the risk of birth defects, , and low birthweight.

The researchers assessed the rates of 4680 mums to be from onwards between 2002 and 2006.

Midway through their pregnancy, the women were quizzed about their work conditions and the physical demands of their jobs, including whether these included lifting, long periods of standing or walking, night shifts and long working hours.

Around four out of 10 (38.5%) of the women spent a long time on their feet and 45.5% had to walk for long periods. Heavy lifting was part of the job for just 6%, while around 4% worked .

The development of their babies was regularly measured throughout pregnancy, using ultrasound, and then again at birth.

The results showed that physically demanding work and long working hours were not consistently associated with restrictions on overall size or birthweight, or with premature birth.

And working up to 34 or 36 weeks of pregnancy had no adverse impact on .

But women who spent long periods on their feet during their pregnancy, in jobs such as sales, childcare, and teaching, had babies whose heads were an average of 1 cm (3%) smaller than average at birth, implying a slower growth rate.

Around half the women (47.5%) worked between 25 and 39 hours a week, while around one in four (23%) worked more than 40 hours a week.

And those who worked more than 40 hours a week had smaller babies than those who worked under 25 hours a week.

Babies born to these women had a that was 1 cm smaller and a weight that was between 148 and 198 g smaller, on average, than babies born to women working under 25 hours a week. These differences were apparent from the third trimester (last three months of pregnancy) onwards.

The authors comment that generally women who are in work have fewer pregnancy complications, birth defects, and stillbirths than women who are unemployed, but that certain aspects of work may not be without risk.

Explore further: Drinking during pregnancy increases risk of premature birth

Related Stories

Drinking during pregnancy increases risk of premature birth

April 11, 2011
Drinking alcohol during pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage, premature birth, and low birth weight. But there are conflicting reports about how much alcohol, if any, it is safe for a pregnant woman ...

To avoid early labor and delivery, weight and diet changes not the answer

February 10, 2012
One of the strongest known risk factors for spontaneous or unexpected preterm birth – any birth that occurs before the 37th week of pregnancy, most often without a known cause – is already having had one. For women ...

Study finds prior preterm delivery indicates subsequent baby will be small even if carried to term

February 9, 2012
In a study to be presented today at the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine's annual meeting, The Pregnancy Meeting, in Dallas, Texas, researchers will report findings that indicate that women who deliver their first baby ...

Recommended for you

First time mums with an epidural who lie down more likely to have a normal birth

October 18, 2017
Adopting a lying down position rather than being upright in the later stages of labour for first-time mothers who have had a low dose epidural leads to a higher chance of them delivering their baby without any medical intervention, ...

Mice delivered by C-section gain more weight than those delivered naturally

October 11, 2017
Mice born by Caesarian section gained on average 33 percent more weight in the 15 weeks after weaning than mice born vaginally, with females gaining 70 percent more weight.

Study shows epidurals don't slow labor

October 10, 2017
Epidural analgesia - a mix of anesthetics and narcotics delivered by catheter placed close to the nerves of the spine - is the most effective method of labor pain relief. In widespread use since the 1970s, epidurals have ...

Progesterone does not prevent preterm birth or complications, says study

October 3, 2017
An increasingly popular hormonal "treatment" for pregnant women with a history of preterm birth does not work, a major new international study shows.

Study questions practice of placenta eating by new moms

September 29, 2017
(HealthDay)—You may have heard that some new mothers choose to eat their own placenta after childbirth. But there's no indication the trendy practice offers any health benefits, and some evidence it could prove dangerous, ...

Hope for couples suffering IVF miscarriage

September 20, 2017
Women who miscarry during their first full round of IVF are more likely to have a baby after further treatment than women who don't get pregnant at all.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.