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

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


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.


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.


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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