Women have always been an essential part of the workforce. But, what will you do if you unexpectedly become pregnant? Even though there’s a maternity leave that you can get in your company, you keep on worrying about your future finances for your family and especially to your unborn child. Maybe you’re a single mother or both of you and your husband have some financial struggles so you need to work hard and earn money.
If you want and need to work despite having your pregnancy, perhaps you ask yourself: Are there any factors in the employment of women which present special dangers during pregnancy?
In this two-part article series, we will discuss the field of working hours and pregnancy, the effect of work on fetal growth and some useful tips on how you will work safely and comfortably while you’re expecting the arrival of your child.
The Field of Working Hours and Pregnancy
There are some indications that work at night may deteriorate female fertility. But, there are systematic reviews published past few years that conclude that long working hours and working night shift are not increasing the risk of preterm birth or fetal growth restriction and if there’s a risk, it is most likely small in the range of a few percent increase. Concerning adverse pregnancy disorders, information on working hours and pregnancy related diseases is contrary to adverse pregnancy outcomes which are very limited.
Cardiac output rises, and the increased flow of blood is directed specifically towards those organs which are primarily involved in exercise, such as the working muscles and the heart, and away from areas which have no immediate priority, such as the skin and splanchnic area. Sympathetic activity causes dilatation of the blood vessels in muscle and constriction in the viscera and the skin.
The average pregnant woman becomes progressively less able to perform physical exercise. She finds the daily round of housework and shopping more tiring and her badly distributed extra weight makes her cumbersome and awkward, particularly when that extra weight must be lifted, as in climbing stairs. For that reason, and also because of a progesterone-induced lassitude, women tend to be less active in late pregnancy.
The Effect of Work on Fetal Growth
There was a study reported by Pomerance et al, who subjected 54 healthy women at 35-37 weeks of pregnancy to exercise on a bicycle ergometer. Only five fetuses showed a subsequent change in heart rate of plus or minus 20 bpm or more, and four of these five subsequently showed fetal distress in labour.
Thus, it is apparent that the uterine circulation is subject to sympathetic vasoconstrictive control and will be reduced in circumstances which divert blood from the splanchnic area. Physical activity, particularly in the upright position and in a hot environment, can be expected to reduce blood flow to the uterus. If the exercise is severe, or if the margin of safety is for any reason reduced, then the fetus may be in danger.
It is evident that some infants show cardiographic signs of distress when the mother habitually works hard in a standing position as there is convincing statistical evidence of reduced fetal growth. That’s why there are many small babies in the developing countries because women exist under the worst possible circumstances for ensuring a free blood flow to the pregnant uterus such as working hard on a daily grind and mostly standing in hot conditions.
Today, we learned about the events happening in the woman’s body while performing her job during her pregnancy and the effect of work on the baby’s growth.
In the last article, we will talk about some useful tips on how you will work safely and comfortably while you’re expecting the arrival of your child.