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Do Nurses Have Worse Pregnancy Outcomes Than Non-Nurses?

Authors

  • Hui-Ju Yang NA, MS,

    nurse anesthetist, PhD candidate
    1. Department of Anesthesiology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
    2. Department of Nursing, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan
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  • Feng-Yu Kao MS,

    PhD candidate
    1. Institute of Public Health, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan
    2. National Health Insurance Administration, Taipei, Taiwan
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  • Yiing-Jeng Chou MD, PhD,

    Professor
    1. Institute of Public Health, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan
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  • Nicole Huang PhD,

    Professor
    1. Institute of Hospital and Health Care Administration, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan
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  • Kuang-Yi Chang MD, PhD,

    Attending Physician
    1. Department of Anesthesiology, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan
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  • Li-Yin Chien ScD

    Professor, Corresponding author
    1. Institute of Clinical and Community Health Nursing, National Yang-Ming University, Taipei, Taiwan
    • Address correspondence to Li-Yin Chien, RN, ScD, MPH, Institute of Clinical and Community Health Nursing, National Yang-Ming University, 155 Li-Nong Street, Sec. 2, Bei-Tou, Taipei 11221, Taiwan.

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Abstract

Background

Nurses encounter multiple occupational exposures at work which may harm their reproductive health. The purpose of the study was to compare pregnancy complications and outcomes including cesarean deliveries, tocolysis, miscarriage, and preterm labor between female nurses and comparable women who were not nurses in Taiwan.

Methods

This nationwide population-based study was performed using the National Health Insurance Research Database from 1997 to 2008. We identified 3,656 pregnancies among 2,326 nurses and 111,889 pregnancies among 74,919 non-nurses. A generalized estimating equation was used to compare risks between the two groups.

Results

The rates of tocolysis (28.6 vs 22.3%), miscarriage (6.0 vs 5.3%), and preterm labor (8.1 vs 4.4%) were significantly higher among nurses than non-nurses. After adjustment for background differences, nurses had significantly higher risks for cesarean section (adjusted OR 1.12 [95% confidence interval (CI) 1.03–1.22]), tocolysis (OR 1.18 [95% CI 1.09–1.29]), and preterm labor (OR 1.46 [95% CI 1.28–1.67]) than non-nurses.

Conclusions

Nurses are at higher risk for cesarean section, tocolysis, and preterm labor than non-nurses. Occupational exposure related to these adverse pregnancy outcomes should be examined. Strategies to decrease the risks should be developed to improve reproductive health among nurses.

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