Why Working Late in Your Pregnancy May be as Harmful as Smoking

*Link to original post here

We’re often told that healthy women with low risk pregnancies are able to work up until delivery.

But should they, really?

A new study from the University of Essex shows that working past the eight month mark may be as harmful to our babies as smoking since they grow more slowly in the womb.

The research tells us that women who continued working until the end of the third trimester were more likely to have lower birth weight babies. We know from previous studies that babies with lower birth weights are more prone to developmental delays and poor health. In addition, they are less likely to be scholastically successful, which could mean lower wages and higher mortality.

The study does point out that pregnant women over the age of 24 were at more risk. And those with less education are at most risk since they are more likely to have physically demanding jobs.

Samples were taken from three major surveys, over the last few decades, dating as far back as the 70s and as recently as 2005, among populations both in the UK and US.

One of the outcomes of the study was the recommendation that women who feel the need, should take a break from work before birth, rather than just after.

These new recommendations are a far cry from what pregnant women have been told in recent years. Women have been encouraged to stay active throughout their pregnancy to prevent gaining excess weight, which can contribute to gestational diabetes. Even light jogging is considered a safe way to keep fit and possibly make labour easier.

Sure, maybe with six support bras cradling your swollen, tender breasts. There’s nothing like carrying around the extra weight of baby, placenta, amniotic fluid and the increased blood mass to motivate you through your last mile. *eye roll*

I remember how cumbersome I felt at six months pregnant with my second child. Every joint ached, and it took all I had in me just to waddle to the kitchen to address baby’s chicken craving. I couldn’t imagine having to sit at an office desk for eight hours or playing Frogger through downtown traffic to make it to an industry event on time, let alone go jogging.

This new information finally offers some rest for the weary. It’s bad enough that women are expected to do it all, but to do it all while nine months pregnant? And we place these expectations on ourselves. We compete with each other the most.

Ladies, it’s OK to put your feet up and modify your daily routine. Yes, women have bore children for millennia, but it doesn’t make the feat any less miraculous, and dare I say, brave.

So take your last month, or three, off work and start nesting. And don’t allow the big belly mamas-to-be doing the downward dog in the park to make you feel inadequate. Better them than you.

 

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