Working While Pregnant Is as Bad for Your Baby as Smoking

Pregnant waitressYou'd never dare go anywhere near a cigarette while pregnant, right? But you may be doing something just as harmful without knowing it. A recent study found that your job may be just as bad for your baby's health as smoking.

Researchers in the U.K. found that simply showing up for work in the eighth month of pregnancy and beyond was as detrimental to a baby's health as smoking. According to The Guardian, they found the babies of mothers who kept working had babies who weighed half a pound less at birth than those of mothers who stopped working between six and eight months. And as we know, babies with lower birth rates are at risk for a plethora of problems down the line.

Time to clock out?

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Maybe so. The effect likely has to do with the type of job you have though. More physically demanding jobs, like being a waitress on your feet all day, would probably be more taxing than a desk job, and interestingly enough, the effect wasn't shown on women under 24. But I think overall it's an important reminder that rest is just as important as all of the other things we do (and don't do) for our baby.

Of course, plenty of moms need to bring home the bacon, and there's no option to put our feet up for the final month. If you do have a choice, it's certainly something to consider, but if not, it should serve as a reminder perhaps to try and get rest and relaxation as much as possible when you're not working. And like all of the other things we're supposed to do and not supposed to do to protect our unborn babies, it should be taken with a grain of salt, and not be a cause for panic if you're working the late shift tonight.

Still, it's important information to have. Most women I know try to work up until the end of the pregnancy so as to save that time off for after the baby is born. This study, however, may indicate a need for employers to be more flexible with their leave policies.

Of course, there are plenty of other needs most employers should look at when it comes to maternity policies as well, so I guess this should be added to the heap. It's really too bad how difficult it can be for women to work and bring children into the world, and I hope studies like this continue to show the importance of giving women the flexibility and support they need to give their babies the best possible start.

Did you work/are you planning to work up until you give birth? Will this study change your plans?

 

Image via FaceMePLS/Flickr

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