As a woman who is now two months into her pregnancy, I am taking all the key steps to maximize the likelihood that my firstborn will be healthy at birth approximately eight months from now. This includes seeing my doctor on a regular basis, eating a healthy, balanced diet, taking appropriate vitamin supplements and engaging in light exercise as approved by my physician. I have never smoked or drank alcohol in my life, both of which are habits that pregnant women should eliminate during their pregnancy. I must admit that, as a freelance writer, I do need a cup of coffee to get in the zone with my writing. However, I’ve significantly cut down on my caffeine intake over the last two months since the stimulant has been linked to a higher risk of miscarriage and having low-birth-weight-babies.
My husband has been absolutely phenomenal over the past two months. He has spoiled me and made sure that I follow my diet and exercise regimen. I’ve had the poor guy run all over town to satisfy my late night cravings, which have included spicy nachos and rocky road ice cream. He even shared a very important study with me pertaining to prolonged standing during one’s pregnancy and stunted fetal growth. I want to share the findings with you because if you happen to be a pregnant woman or know other pregnant women, this study is very important and relevant to you.
The study, featured online in Occupational and Environmental Medicine and conducted by researchers in The Netherlands, examined 4,680 pregnant women who were recruited from 2002 and 2006. The researchers surveyed these women to gain a better understanding of their work conditions. They discovered that 38 percent of the women were required to stand for long periods of time, approximately 46 percent were required to walk for long periods and 6 percent held jobs that involved lifting heavy objects.
The study revealed that pregnant women who stand for long stretches of time and those who work for more than 25 hour per week during their pregnancy may be at a greater risk for stunted fetal growth. These women were likely to have babies whose heads were an average 1 centimeter smaller than the average at birth.
I am very fortunate that I am currently working as a freelance writer from home, which provides me flexibility in creating my own work schedule and does not require long periods of standing. However, pregnant women who work in the fields of teaching, childcare and sales, are at a great risker risk of stunted fetal growth because their jobs do require long periods of standing. These women should make some arrangements with their employers so they can avoid having to be on their feet all day long. The Mayo Clinic has stated that pregnant women who must stand on their feet during work should put one of their feet up on a footrest, low stool or box. They should switch on regular intervals and also wear comfortable shoes that provide god arch support.
If you are a pregnant woman or know other pregnant women, I urge you to take the findings of the study seriously and share them when you can.
Lindsey Bush is a freelance writer for Baby Changing Station.com. Lindsey and her husband cannot wait to introduce their firstborn to the world.