Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1998;24(3):206-212    pdf


Work pace control and pregnancy health in a population-based sample of employed women in Norway

by Wergeland E, Strand K

Objectives This study explored the possible effects of power to control one's own work pace on pregnancy health.

Methods Questionnaires were sent to all parturients in Norway between 16 October and 26 November 1989 for completion prior to discharge from the hospital; 87.2% responded. The study population comprised 3321 respondents with singleton pregnancies and paid work beyond the 3rd month of pregnancy. Power to control work pace was measured as self-reported influence on breaks and work pace and absence of external pacing. Pregnancy health was defined by the prevalence of preeclampsia, disabling posterior pelvic pain, low-back pain, and birthweight of <2500 g for the offspring.

Results Pregnancy health improved with increasing power to control work pace, both in manual and nonmanual work. The risk decreased with increasing control for all 4 outcomes, but the impact on birthweight was restricted to nullipara. After adjustment for age, parity, education, smoking, and manual work, the decreasing trend remained significant for preeclampsia and low birthweight of the first born. In a comparison with women with the highest level of control, the adjusted odds ratios for women with no control were 1.6 [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 0.9-3.1] for preeclampsia, 1.6 (95% CI 1.0-2.4) for disabling posterior pelvic pain, 1.3 (95% CI 1.0-1.8) for low-back pain, and 2.5 (95% CI 0.9-6.8) for low birthweight (nullipara).

Conclusion Women with power to control their own work pace had better pregnancy health than women without such power. The results suggest increased individual control over work pace as a prime target for job adjustment during pregnancy.

The following article refers to this text: 2007;33(4):304-317