Fertility patterns according to occupational grouping in Norway, 1989

K Strand, E Wergeland, T Bjerkedal
Scandinavian Journal of Social Medicine 1996, 24 (1): 50-4
In the early 1990s, most pregnant women in Norway were in gainful employment. This led to increased interest in the possible consequences for reproductive health, and a growing concern for the need to accommodate the pregnancy. We have therefore investigated how accurately general fertility rates predict the number of pregnancies in the workforce. Fertility rates (FR) among employed women and standardized fertility ratios (SFR) in occupational groups were estimated on the basis of information from the Labour Market Statistics and the national survey "Pregnancy and Work", Norway, 1989. The fertility rate among employed women was 17% higher than the general fertility rate. Two occupational groups had significantly different SFRs: technical/professional workers (SFR 118) and transport/communication workers (SFR 82). In addition, differences were found for parity-specific SFRs in administrative/executive work (SFR nullipara 80, SFR para 125) and service work (SFR nullipara 114, SFR para 80). We suggest that work status and occupation should be included among the variables registered in the Medical Birth Registry of Norway, in order to facilitate routine presentations of fertility rates and pregnancy outcomes for women in paid work. The results further indicate that work-specific conditions influence first-birth fertility. This should be explored in demographic studies of the relation between women's fertility and participation in paid work.

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