There’s a new study that suggests the longer a pregnant woman has to commute to work each day, the more of a chance that she might face birth complications later on. While many pregnant and non-pregnant mothers can agree that a long commute to work each morning can be stressful, expectant mothers are being urged to be extra careful.
A new study by a team of researchers at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and the University of Wisconsin-Madison found that long commutes that consisted of 50 miles or more were associated with adverse birth outcomes. The study was published in the journal Economics and Human Biology.
Researchers looked at the distance that moms had to drive every morning to and from work. They found that for every 10 miles of their commute, there was a higher chance of a pregnant woman giving birth to a child with low birth weight. The study also found that long commutes were linked to slowed fetal growth (which is also known as intrauterine growth restriction). The data was compared to women who worked and lived only 10 miles away from their workplaces.
While things such as sleep deprivation and constant stress can negatively affect any pregnancy, the combination of stress and a long drive to work increased a woman’s chances of possibly having birth or postnatal complications.
The study also showed that mothers who had long commutes to work were most likely to skip their prenatal appointments with their doctors. This was because of the restricted amount of leisure time or time off they had to go see their doctors.
There are several things that pregnant and working mothers-to-be can do to help ease the stress of their commute. Carpooling with a co-worker can be one way of not having to worry or be behind the wheel for the long drive to the office. Also, many employers are offering added benefits like work-from-home options, especially for those employees who live a considerable distance from home. Pregnant women can consider talking to their supervisors about working half the week in the office and the other week from home.