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Revista Española de Salud Pública

On-line version ISSN 2173-9110Print version ISSN 1135-5727


ARIZO-LUQUE, Vanessa et al. Effect of employment and domestic load on fetal development and length of gestation in a birth cohort study. Rev. Esp. Salud Publica [online]. 2018, vol.92, e201808050.  Epub Aug 17, 2018. ISSN 2173-9110.


Published studies are not conclusive on the impact of certain occupational exposures in pregnancy, stressing the need to consider the double role, professional and family, of women. The objective of this study is to evaluate the effect of employment and domestic load on the duration of pregnancy and fetal development.


Using Univariate and Multivariate regression models, we studied the association of preterm deliveries (PPT) (<37 weeks), full term newborns with low weight (BPT) (<2500g) and small for their gestational age (PEG) (<10th percentile) in weight, length and head circumference according to work situation (employment/non-employment) and domestic load (low/ medium/high) in 2506 women. The analyses were carried out using SPSS and R.


Women with medium domestic load have lower risk of PPT (OR=0.41, 95%CI:0.21-0.81), PEG in weight (OR=0.47, 95%CI:0.32-0.69), length (OR=0.57, 95%CI:0.39-0.83) and head circumference (OR=0.58, 95% CI:0.40-0.83) and with high load PEG in weight (OR=0.72, 95%CI:0.54-0.98) and head circumference (OR = 0.73, 95% CI:0.54-0.99). When analyzing employment situation and domestic load, women with medium domestic load have less risk of PPT (OR=0.29, 95%CI:0.14-0.58) than the absence of load or high domestic load.


The results show a protective effect of the medium and high domestic load, reducing the probability of preterm birth and small for gestational age babies.

Keywords : Pregnancy outcome; Employment; Housekeeping; Reproductive complications; Infant low birth weight; Infant small for gestational age; Premature birth; Cohort studies; Women’s health services; Domestic work.

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