Objectives: This study explored the relationships of employment status, type of unemployment and number of weekly working hours, with a wide range of pregnancy outcomes. Methods: Information on employment characteristics and pregnancy outcomes was available for 6111 pregnant women enrolled in a population-based cohort study in the Netherlands. Results: After adjustment for confounders, there were no statistically significant differences in risks of pregnancy complications between employed and unemployed women. Among unemployed women, women receiving disability benefit had an increased risk of preterm ruptured membranes (OR 3.16, 95% CI 1.49 to 6.70), elective caesarean section (OR 2.98, 95% CI 1.21 to 7.34) and preterm birth (OR 2.64, 95% CI 1.32 to 5.28) compared to housewives. Offspring of students and women receiving disability benefit had a significantly lower mean birth weight than offspring of housewives (difference: -93, 95% CI -174 to -12; and -97, 95% CI -190 to -5, respectively). In employed women, long working hours (≥40 h/week) were associated with a decrease of 45 g in offspring's mean birth weight (adjusted analysis; 95% CI -89 to -1) compared with 1-24 h/weekly working hours. Conclusions: We found no indications that paid employment during pregnancy effects the health of the mother and child. However, among unemployed and employed women, women receiving disability benefit, students and women with long working hours during pregnancy were at risk for some adverse pregnancy outcomes. More research is needed to replicate these results and explain these findings. Meanwhile, prenatal care providers should be made aware of the risks associated with specific types of unemployment and long working hours.

Apgar score, Netherlands, adult, alcohol consumption, article, cesarean section, disability, employment status, ethnicity, female, fetus echography, gestational age, human, induced abortion, low birth weight, maternal care, meconium aspiration, mellitus, placental delivery, population based case control study, preeclampsia, pregnancy complication, pregnancy diabetes, pregnancy outcome, premature fetus membrane rupture, premature labor, prenatal care, priority journal, questionnaire, risk assessment, sample size, small for date infant, smoking, spontaneous, spontaneous abortion, twin pregnancy, unemployment insurance, vaginal delivery, work schedule
dx.doi.org/10.1136/oem.2009.046300, hdl.handle.net/1765/20329
Occupational and Environmental Medicine: an international peer-reviewed journal in all aspects of occupational & environmental medicine
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Jansen, P.W, Tiemeier, H.W, Verhulst, F.C, Burdorf, A, Jaddoe, V.W.V, Hofman, A, … Raat, H. (2010). Employment status and the risk of pregnancy complications: The Generation R Study. Occupational and Environmental Medicine: an international peer-reviewed journal in all aspects of occupational & environmental medicine, 67(6), 387–394. doi:10.1136/oem.2009.046300