Prepartum Work, Job Characteristics, and Risk of Cesarean Delivery
Background: Reducing the rate of cesarean deliveries in the United States is a high priority among public health officials and members of the medical community. Many factors known to contribute to an individual woman's risk of having a cesarean rather than a vaginal delivery are not readily altered by public policy intervention. In this study we explored the effects on type of delivery of prepartum work practices, a category of factors that has a potential to affect the likelihood of cesarean delivery and to be amenable to change. Methods: Data are from U.S. Food and Drug Administration's Infant Feeding Practices Study, using questions on mail surveys administered prenatally and at 1 month postpartum. The sample comprised 1194 women who worked during pregnancy. The outcome measure is type of delivery. Predictor variables are characteristics of prepartum work: how far into their pregnancy the women work, number of hours worked, and occupation. Results: For most women, maintaining employment through the third trimester, working long hours, and working in certain occupations are not independently associated with the odds of having a cesarean delivery. However, we found marginally significant evidence that those women who worked more than 40 hours a week in a sales job were more likely to have cesarean deliveries than women who worked in other occupations. Conversely, women working part-time in sales jobs were less likely to have a cesarean delivery. Conclusion: This study provides evidence that prenatal work does not substantially increase the probability of having a cesarean delivery in most occupational categories. (BIRTH 29:1 March 2002)
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Document Type: Research Article
Shirley Hung is from Cable News Network, Washington, DC.
Donna Morrison and Leslie Whittington are from the Georgetown Public Policy Institute, Georgetown University, Washington, DC.
Sarah Fein is from Division of Market Studies, Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, College Park, Maryland.
Publication date: 2002-03-01