Factors related to the continuation of employment during pregnancy among Japanese women

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Abstract

Aim:

To determine the relationship between the working situation (full-time housewife, stopped working during pregnancy, or currently employed) and the lifestyle factors, reasons for stopping work during pregnancy, and effects of working conditions in order to identify the factors that are related to the continuation of employment among pregnant Japanese women.

Methods:

In a cross-sectional study, a questionnaire was administered to pregnant women who visited an obstetrics clinic in a Tokyo suburb for an outpatient medical check-up during July and August 2004.

Results:

The data of 530 healthy pregnant women were analyzed. The pregnant women who stopped working during their pregnancy had lower mental health scores than the full-time housewives and employed pregnant women. In each trimester, the employed pregnant women reported a shorter daytime sleep duration than the pregnant women who stopped working during their pregnancy and the full-time housewives. The reasons for stopping work during pregnancy were categorized as somatic symptoms due to pregnancy, working conditions, and a sense of values or social reasons. The employed women in the third trimester more often reported the availability of, and access to, a rest area in their company, compared to those in the first and second trimesters.

Conclusion:

The lifestyle factors of the pregnant women were different, based on their work situation. In particular, the employed pregnant women had a shorter daytime sleep duration. The pregnant women who stopped working during their pregnancy could have benefited from mental health support. In addition, the reasons for stopping work during pregnancy were different in the three trimesters. A flexible system is needed for working women that adapts to the physical changes that occur during pregnancy.

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