Depressing Study Claims Women Who Work A Lot Have Underweight Babies

We’ve added another thing to the list to make you feel guilty about working all the time.  According to a new study, pregnant women who spend a lot of time on their feet — and work more than 40 hours a week — may give birth to smaller babies.

Women who work in childcare, teaching and sales were found to have babies whose heads were an average of 1 centimeter smaller than average at birth. Working one during pregnancy also had an effect on the baby’s birth weight.

The study also found that women who worked more than 40 hours a week had slightly smaller babies than those who worked less than 25 hours a week. But there were no differences in rates of preterm delivery, low birth weight, or babies being born too small for their gestational age. Whether or not these differences affect a baby’s long-term development is not known.

Women are increasingly tending to work during pregnancy. Among those with a first birth between 2006 and 2008, the portion who worked during pregnancy reached 66%, compared with 44% for those with a first birth between 1961 and 1965. Among women who worked during pregnancy, about 82% of those with a first birth between 2006 and 2008 worked until one month or less before their child’s birth, compared with 73% for those with a first birth between 1991 and 1995. Those rates are up from about 35% for a first birth between 1961 and 1965. “Our nation remains mired in a conversation about whether mothers should work, but the reality is that most already do,” said Heather Boushey, an economist at the Center for American Progress, a progressive think tank.

Thanks for giving pregnant women something else to worry about!

Photo: Anna Maloverjan/

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