Is Miscarriage or still births related to job loss? Yes, a new study published in Human Reproduction has uncovered this relation. The study looks at the potential link between job loss and an elevated risk of miscarriage or stillbirth. While the findings point to an association, the study refrains from making claims about causation.
Led by Dr. Selin Köksal from the Institute for Social and Economic Research at the University of Essex, UK, the research focused on the impact of job loss on pregnancy outcomes. The study analyzed data from the “Understanding Society” survey, encompassing 40,000 households in the UK from 2009 to 2022. Among the 8,142 pregnancies with complete information on conception dates and outcomes, 11.6% resulted in miscarriage, and 0.5% were stillbirths.
ASSOCIATION WITH JOB LOSS
Among the pregnancies affected by job loss (136 women), 23.5% resulted in miscarriage, and 0.7% ended in stillbirth. In contrast, among the pregnancies unaffected by job loss (8,006 women), 10.4% experienced miscarriages, and 0.5% had stillbirths.
Dr. Alessandro Di Nallo, co-author of the study, noted potential reasons for these associations, including stress, reduced access to prenatal care, and changes in lifestyle. Stress, in particular, triggers physiological responses that release hormones known to increase the risk of miscarriage or premature delivery. Furthermore, a reduction in income following job loss could hinder access to prenatal care, potentially leading to late or undetected high-risk pregnancies.
Dr. Köksal emphasized that the study’s findings could have important policy implications. To address this potential socioeconomic factor behind pregnancy losses, policymakers might consider extending job loss protection to workers whose partners are pregnant. Additionally, increased economic support for individuals and their partners who lose their jobs could help mitigate the psychosocial hardships associated with job loss.
NEED FOR AWARENESS
The study underscores the need for awareness of women’s legal rights and protection in the workplace during pregnancy, as well as psychological support during pregnancy through the public health system, irrespective of job status. While this research highlights an intriguing association, further investigation is needed to establish causation and explore whether these findings hold true for different socioeconomic groups.