Maternal Occupation and Term Low Birth Weight in a Predominantly Latina Population in Los Angeles, California

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Abstract

Objectives:

Focusing on Latinas, we investigated whether maternal occupations during pregnancy increase term low birth weight (TLBW) (less than 2500 g; 37 weeks or more).

Methods:

In a case–control study (n = 1498) nested within a 2003 birth cohort (n = 58,316) in Los Angeles County, California (65% Latina), we assessed the influence of maternal occupation on TLBW, using Occupational Codes based on the 2000 US Census Occupational Classification System.

Results:

Odds ratios (ORs) for TLBW were increased among women working during pregnancy in “transportation and material moving operations” (adjusted OR = 3.28; 95% confidence interval = 1.00 to 10.73), “food preparation and serving occupations” (adjusted OR = 3.03, 95% confidence interval = 1.21 to 7.62), or “production occupations” (adjusted OR = 2.63, 95% confidence interval = 1.01 to 6.82) compared with “office occupations;” 73% to 93% of women working in these higher-risk jobs were immigrant Latinas.

Conclusions:

Working conditions in various jobs held mainly by first-generation immigrant Latinas increase risks for TLBW and need to be addressed to develop strategies to reduce TLBW.

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