A study from Monash University suggests that employers should consider adjusting working conditions for pregnant women to reduce the risk of preterm birth. The research found that physically demanding jobs, long working hours, shift work, and exposure to whole-body vibrations are associated with an increased risk of preterm birth.
Specifically, the study indicates a 63% higher risk for women in shiftwork and a 44% higher risk for those working more than 40 hours a week. The study also linked high physical exertion and whole-body vibration to preterm birth but did not find increased risk for women who stand for long periods or lift heavy objects.
Preterm birth is considered a serious pregnancy complication with potential long-term health issues for children.
The study suggests reducing exposure to heavy physical workloads, long hours, shift work, and whole-body vibrations could help prevent preterm birth. Employers and regulatory authorities are encouraged to create policies and practices that reduce these hazards for pregnant women.
The study also calls for further research to address knowledge gaps regarding the impact of occupational risks on preterm birth.