Apr 11, 2019
Pregnant women with long work commutes may are more likely to experience a slow fetal growth rate and to deliver a low birth weight baby. Health economists at Lehigh University drew this conclusion from New Jersey birth records and information about the lengths of the associated maternal commutes.
Each 10 miles of commuting distance over a 50 mile threshold increased the probability of intrauterine growth restriction by 43% and the probability of a low birth weight infant by 14%. The increased risk was calculated using control mothers with a 10 mile or less commute. So women commuting 80 miles a day would have a 42% higher risk of giving birth to a low birth weight infant.
The researchers found that the adverse affects on the fetus occur due to commute-induced chronic maternal stress and, of even more importance, less prenatal care due to limited time. Many of the women with long commutes had delayed prenatal care or none at all.
This information suggests that pregnant women with long commutes should consider telecommuting during their pregnancies and looking for work closer to home. Once the baby arrives, time with family will become even more precious. If you are in the car on a long commute, you are also paying even more for child care.
Yang Wang, Muzhe Yang. Long Commutes to Work during Pregnancy and Infant Health at Birth. Economics & Human Biology, 2019; DOI: 10.1016/j.ehb.2019.03.006
#Commuting #lowbirthweight #intrauterinegrowth #stress #prenatalcare