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A review of the literature regarding the relationship between psychosocial stress, anxiety, and occupation on pregnancy complications reveals several interesting patterns. Specifically, emotional reactions during pregnancy (McDonald 1968; Joffe, 1969; Spielberger & Jacobs, 1976) and stress before pregnancy (Gorsuch, 1974) have been associated with a larger number of pregnancy complications such as miscarriages, prolonged labor, breech births, and premature births. With approximately 63% of women over the age of 16 working (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 1984), public policy changes may be needed to ensure the safety of the fetus. This paper will review the literature and provide suggestions for ameliorating stress for working women who become pregnant. Preventative programs may include disseminating information, granting pregnancy leaves, reducing work loads, and providing supportive work environments.
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Kathleen M. Kalil, Ph.D.
Wayne County Community College,
Detroit, Michigan, and the
University of Michigan-Dearborn