You don’t need to stroll down the baby book aisle at your local library or even Google “pregnancy concerns” to learn about all the ways you can harm your unborn child. Stress, unhealthy eating, excessive consumption of alcohol and spending too much time in a hot tub are huge no-nos for pregnant women.
Now, women looking to add to their families can tack yet another risk to the ever-growing list: Working after the eighth month of pregnancy.
According to a new study conducted by the University of Essex–which compiled research done in the UK and the US–women who continue to work during the late stages of pregnancy could be causing great harm to their unborn baby. In fact, researchers go so far as to say the effect of women working beyond the eighth month of pregnancy is equivalent to that of smoking while pregnant.
Ponder that for a moment; showing up to your job in order to maintain an income to pay for your yet-to-be born child may cause as much harm to him or her as habitually sucking on cigarettes.
How can that be?
Researchers claim that women, who worked after their eighth month of pregnancy, gave birth to smaller babies than those who stopped working between six and seven months. The study found working moms birthed babies that weighed an average of a half-pound lighter than babies of non-working moms. In addition, researchers found babies whose mothers worked or smoked throughout pregnancy grew more slowly in the womb.
Previous research shows babies with low birth weights are at higher risk for illnesses, reduced mental development, and may suffer from a variety of other problems later in life; however, does that mean all women should stop working once they hit their eighth month of pregnancy?
According to doctors, the effect of working during pregnancy is more pronounced for women with physically demanding jobs, such as those who are forced to be on their feet for seven to eight hours during a single shift.
When did you go on maternity leave? Did your decision to work beyond your eighth month of pregnancy negatively affect your baby?