Working while pregnant isn’t healthy for you or the baby

That’s what this study says. It’s okay to say this now that Obama’s economy is driving people out of the workforce. It’s actually kind of amusing to read how they twist and turn around the results.

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  1. Sarah
    Posted March 18, 2014 at 11:26 am | Permalink

    As someone who worked only part time through my first pregnancy and have since been a SAHM expecting number four now, this made a lot of sense until I got to the very end and then it’s just funny. It’s amazing how things that should logically and rationally be easy to understandable so often made into the most unclear gobbledygook imaginable all because no one is supposed to have any kind of absolutes about anything. We can’t even draw anything near an absolute result from research or statistics. Why do they even bother doing the research if we can’t draw any real conclusions from them? *sigh*

    • hab
      Posted March 19, 2014 at 2:59 am | Permalink

      With my mathematician hat on…

      Statisticians look for a correlation between two (or more) sets of data: as one changes, does the other one change as well? And in a positive or negative way?

      Sometimes, two sets of data can be directly linked. Sometimes, there is something more subtle going on.

      For example, let’s say that a team of researchers looked at the number of ice lollies consumed and the incidence of skin cancer. They find that if you eat above a certain number of lollies, you are much more likely to get skin cancer.

      We can’t conclude from those results that eating frozen fruit juice gives you skin cancer. The oft-repeated phrase is “correlation does not imply causation”. But it does show that statistically, a link exists, which might be worth investigating. We could hypothesise that you would eat more lollies if the weather is hotter, and you spend more time in the sun. It could be more subtle: families with a larger disposable income both buy more lollies and take their kids on holiday nearer to the equator. So the results give a springboard, or pointer, for more questions to be asked.

      (I have made up this scenario and know of no such study!)

      In addition, most aspects of life are complicated. We know that maternal and neonatal health can be influenced by a whole range of things – diet, exercise, stress, animals, contact with illness… It’s really hard to sieve out one factor as being the direct cause of another, often there is a combination of factors at work.

      Finally, people vary. Whilst we can look at trends across the population as a whole, this will vary on an individual basis, and on individual cases. It is now generally accepted that smoking is not very good for your health. Often, though, someone will have a story of a redoubtable Great-Uncle Fred who drank a glass of whisky and smoked a cigar every day, and lived to be 100. For whatever reason, Fred was not as affected by the chemicals as many other people. On something like pregnancy, the same woman can have wildly different experiences with different pregnancies – as in the comment below.

  2. Lanon
    Posted March 18, 2014 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    I recognize that a statistical sample of one is meaningless but here is my experience. I miscarried my first pregnancy while working full-time. My second pregnancy I carried to full-term and worked (in an office environment) up until the day before she was born. My third pregnancy I didn’t work at all and he was born 16 weeks prematurely with no advance warning signals. I miscarried my fourth pregnancy and was not working at the time. I worked part-time during my fifth pregnancy (again an office environment – in fact a pediatric clinic) – which was my most difficult pregnancy – spotting early on, placenta previa mid-term, unexplained bleeding at week 28 and breach presentation resulting in caesarean section at week 39 but healthy despite the knot in his cord that would have been very problematic if he had been born vaginally.

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