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"We always have to be concerned about the patient that we put on bed-rest or take out of work because we never know what their home life is like," he tells WebMD. "They could now be stuck chasing around three children, which may be more strenuous than what their day activity was at work." Randell, in private practice and on staff at Atlanta's Northside Hospital, was not involved in the study.

"The second thing we looked at was the last month of pregnancy that a woman worked," says Frazier. "It turned out that 50% stopped in the seventh month or before." That is significant because the Family and Medical Leave Act only covers 12 weeks of unpaid leave in connection with the birth of a child.

"This might be of interest to policy makers," says Frazier, adding that many women aren't even covered under the FMLA act. "What happens to those women and their jobs? We need to study how it really happens in corporate America."

So what is the bottom line?

"Most women are healthy and sail through their pregnancies; there's no reason why pregnancy should be exclusion from employment," she says. "But there is a significant minority of women who appear to have some kind of pregnancy complication and, as a society, we need to think about what supports are in place to promote healthy pregnancy outcomes."

 

 

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