If you are a pregnant woman, there is some very important news you should be aware of that is supported by thorough research. The findings of a recent study have confirmed a link between prolonged standing during one’s pregnancy and stunted fetal growth. As a recently pregnant woman, I am taking all the steps necessary to maximize the likelihood that my child will be fully healthy at birth. This is why I am taking these research findings linking prolonged standing during pregnancy very seriously. Let’s take a look at some of the key details of the study.

The results of the study were published online on June 27 in Occupational & Environmental Medicine by researchers in The Netherlands. The study examined 4,680 pregnant women who were recruited from 2002 through 2006 in The Netherlands. The participants were surveyed so that researchers could better understand the work environment and work conditions they were exposed to while on-the-job. The researchers discovered that 38 percent of the study participants stood for long periods of time and roughly 46 percent had to walk for long periods. Furthermore, 6 percent of women had jobs that involved heavy lifting and 4 percent worked night shifts.

Women who stood for prolonged periods of time while on-the-job had babies whose heads were on average 1 cm smaller than average at birth. Some common job fields that would require pregnant women to be on their feet for extended periods of time include teaching, childcare and sales. The researchers concluded that long prolonged standing during one’s pregnancy may negatively influence intrauterine growth.

The Mayo Clinic has outlined various dangers associated with prolonged standing during the course of your pregnancy. Prolonged standing can cause blood to pool in your legs, which may lead to dizziness and pain. It also puts a great deal of pressure on your back. If you are forced to stand for long periods during your pregnancy, the Mayo Clinic recommends that you put one of your feet up on a footrest or low stool and switch off on regular intervals. You should also wear comfortable shoes that provide good arch support.

If you are pregnant and your job forces you to stay on your feet for extended periods of time, you may consider discussing the matter with your employer so that accommodations can be made. If you are a teacher, for example, you may ask to have a personal assistant to aid you during your pregnancy. You may be able to lecture while sitting and your assistant can hand out and collect papers. Prolonged standing during your pregnancy can harm both you and your precious child. Take steps now to ensure that complications don’t arise.

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Amy Harris is a proud wife and mother-to-be, web content coordinator for BabyChangingStation.com. Amy has taken these research findings very seriously and will avoid prolonged stretches of standing throughout the course of her pregnancy.