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Manual handling of burdens as a predictor of birth outcome - a Finnish Birth Register study

Kwegyir-Afful, E; Lamminpää, R; Selander, T; Gissler, M; Vehviläinen-Julkunen, K; Heinonen, S; Sallmen, M; Räsänen, K


R Lamminpää

T Selander

M Gissler

K Vehviläinen-Julkunen

S Heinonen

M Sallmen

K Räsänen


Background: Negative effects of manual handling of burdens on pregnancy outcomes are not elucidated in Finland. This study examines the association between perinatal outcomes and occupational exposure to manual handling of burdens.

Methods: The study cohort was identified from the Finnish Medical Birth Register (MBR, 1997–2014) and information on exposure from the Finnish job-exposure matrix (FINJEM) 1997–2009. The cohort included all singleton births of mothers who were classified as ‘service and care workers’ representing the exposure group (n=74 286) and ‘clerks’ as the reference (n=13 873). Study outcomes were preterm birth (PTB) (<37 weeks), low birthweight (LBW) (<2500 g), small for gestational age (<2.5th percentile), perinatal death (stillbirth or early neonatal death within first seven days) and eclampsia. We used logistic regression analysis to calculate odds ratio (OR) and adjusted for maternal age, marital status, BMI, parity and smoking during pregnancy.

Results: The risks of PTB [OR 1.16, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.06–1.27], LBW (OR 1.12, 95% CI 1.01–1.25) and perinatal death (OR 1.51, 95% CI 1.09–2.09) were significantly higher among the high exposure group than in the reference group. All adverse outcomes were statistically insignificant among primiparous women except perinatal death (OR=1.95, 95% CI 1.13–3.39).

Conclusions: The study indicates that the risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes might be more common among women that are highly exposed to occupational manual handling of burdens. The results should be interpreted with caution due to the use of occupational level exposure. Further studies with information on individual level exposure and start of maternity leave are recommended.


Kwegyir-Afful, E., Lamminpää, R., Selander, T., Gissler, M., Vehviläinen-Julkunen, K., Heinonen, S., …Räsänen, K. (2018). Manual handling of burdens as a predictor of birth outcome - a Finnish Birth Register study. European Journal of Public Health, 28(6), 1122-1126.

Journal Article Type Article
Online Publication Date May 10, 2018
Publication Date May 10, 2018
Deposit Date Apr 26, 2019
Journal The European Journal of Public Health
Print ISSN 1101-1262
Electronic ISSN 1464-360X
Publisher Oxford University Press
Volume 28
Issue 6
Pages 1122-1126
Publisher URL
Additional Information Funders : Jenny & Antti Wihuri Foundation