Risk of infection and adverse outcomes among pregnant working women in selected occupational groups: A study in the Danish National Birth Cohort

Maria Morales-Suárez-Varela, Linda Kaerlev, Jin Liang Zhu, Agustín Llopis-González, Natalia Gimeno-Clemente, Ellen A Nohr, Jens P Bonde, Jorn Olsen
Environmental Health 2010, 9: 70

BACKGROUND: Exposure to infectious pathogens is a frequent occupational hazard for women who work with patients, children, animals or animal products. The purpose of the present study is to investigate if women working in occupations where exposure to infections agents is common have a high risk of infections and adverse pregnancy outcomes.

METHODS: We used data from the Danish National Birth Cohort, a population-based cohort study and studied the risk of Infection and adverse outcomes in pregnant women working with patients, with children, with food products or with animals. The regression analysis were adjusted for the following covariates: maternal age, parity, history of miscarriage, socio-occupational status, pre-pregnancy body mass index, smoking habit, alcohol consumption.

RESULTS: Pregnant women who worked with patients or children or food products had an excess risk of sick leave during pregnancy for more than three days. Most of negative reproductive outcomes were not increased in these occupations but the prevalence of congenital anomalies (CAs) was slightly higher in children of women who worked with patients. The prevalence of small for gestational age infants was higher among women who worked with food products. There was no association between occupation infections during pregnancy and the risk of reproductive failures in the exposed groups. However, the prevalence of CAs was slightly higher among children of women who suffered some infection during pregnancy but the numbers were small.

CONCLUSION: Despite preventive strategies, working in specific jobs during pregnancy may impose a higher risk of infections, and working in some of these occupations may impose a slightly higher risk of CAs in their offspring. Most other reproductive failures were not increased in these occupations.

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