Like Smoking, Working Up Until Due Date May Slow Fetal Growth

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services advises prospective moms not to smoke during pregnancy. The habit passes nicotine and other cancer-inducing compounds to the womb. It may also affect a growing baby by preventing it from receiving nourishment and increasing the risks of miscarriage, preterm birth and infant death. However, this habit isn't the only thing that can cause pregnancy complications.

According to a study published in the Journal of Labor Economics, pregnant women who work up until their due date may put their infant at risk of low birth weight, when compared to those who took maternity leave in the third trimester, as reported by the Press Association. Researchers from the University of Essex revealed that not taking time off may be just as risky as smoking during pregnancy.

The economists carrying out the study analyzed health data collected from approximately 1,300 children born to mothers who were part of the British Household Panel Survey, as well as information on the children of more than 17,000 women who participated in the Millennium Cohort Study and 12,166 from the National Survey of Family Growth, as reported by the news source. 

The collected data was similar among all groups of women and suggested that working up until the start of labor can negatively impact pregnancy, potentially encouraging babies to grow more slowly in the womb, at a rate comparable to when mothers smoked during their gestation. Mothers who consider skipping maternity leave should discuss the possibility of complications with their physician.

Do you know any mother who worked the full term of her pregnancy? Did she give birth to an underweight baby? Do you think prospective moms should take maternity leave regardless of whether they feel fine during the final months of their pregnancy? Leave your answers in the comments section!