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Howard G. Smith, M.D. is a former radio medical editor and talk show host in the Boston Metro area.  His "Medical Minute" of health and wellness news and commentary was a regular weekday feature on WBZ-AM, WRKO-AM, and WMRE-AM.   His popular two-way talk show, Dr. Howard Smith OnCall, was regularly heard Sunday morning and middays on WBZ.

More recently, Dr. Smith has adopted the 21st century technology of audio and video podcasting as conduits for the short health and wellness reports, HEALTH NEWS YOU SHOULD USE.  Many of these have video versions, and they may be found on his YouTube page:

Trained at Harvard Medical School and a long-time faculty member at Boston Children’s Hospital, he practiced Pediatric Otolaryngology for 40 years in Boston, Southern California, and in central Connecticut.

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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