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Published June 30, 2012, 11:30 PM

Hot Topics: Standing at work all day while pregnant linked to smaller babies

Standing for long periods of time or working more than 40 hours a week while pregnant may affect the baby’s development, Dutch researchers report.

By: Source: HealthDay.com, INFORUM

Standing for long periods of time or working more than 40 hours a week while pregnant may affect the baby’s development, Dutch researchers report.

In the new study, women who had jobs in sales, child care and teaching, which required spending many hours on their feet, had infants with heads about 3 percent smaller than women who worked in other jobs during their pregnancies, the researchers found.

Whether this makes a difference in the long-term development of the child isn’t known, said lead researcher Alex Burdorf, from the department of public health at Erasmus University Medical Center in Rotterdam.

“We are not sure about that,” he said. “But there are clear indications that a smaller head may negatively affect cognitive (brain) development.”

Exactly how it might play a part in any one child’s development isn’t predictable, “but at a group level a smaller head is seen as a negative start,” Burdorf said.

The only women who need to be concerned are those who stand all day and “whose doctor has indications that weight gain or fetal growth is less than expected,” he added.

The study established an association, and not a cause-and-effect link, between working conditions and baby size.

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