Routine Housework May Lead To Premature Babies says Research

While some may find this finding surprising, this latest research definitely gives expectant moms a reason to ditch the broom and get a much-needed break from their daily household chores.

Baby in NICU

A new study published in the journal Perinatal Epidemiology, says that boring, and routine household work may lead to the premature birth of babies.

The study conducted by the Erasmus University in Rotterdam asked 12,000 pregnant women about the kind of exercise they did during pregnancy including housework. They were also asked about their jobs, the baby’s weight, and whether they were born early.

Interestingly, it was found that those who did routine, unstimulating work every day, including the same set of household chores, had three times more chances or 25 percent more chances of delivering at least three weeks early. This although was different from exercising which was clearly believed to be good for the mother and did not interfere with her pregnancy or delivery.

Although the reason was not clear, researchers believe that boring routine jobs increase the stress hormones in a woman which also triggers an earlier delivery.

Researcher Hajo Wildschut, said

‘Pregnancy is not a disease. In fact, most women who are pregnant are healthy and most of them are being delivered of perfectly healthy babies. Women who are healthy and do not have pregnancy complications should not restrict their activities in order to achieve a better pregnancy outcome.  They may safely continue their normal daily physical activities, including strenuous activities like jogging, squash and weight training even until late in pregnancy.’

The researchers also had some other interesting findings like those women who worked night shifts usually had babies with high birth weights. This again was thought to be due to an active lifestyle throughout the pregnancy as sedentary lifestyles showed the birth of babies with low birth weight.

While experts might have their own thoughts about the findings, they certainly agree to the positive effects of exercising. Patrick O’Brien, a consultant obstetrician said,  ‘The advice is pretty sensible stuff.  Exercise is good in pregnancy, it keeps you aerobically fit, it keeps your weight under control, it probably reduces the chances of difficulties and it makes it easier to deal with the birth and afterward.’

He also has something to add regarding the link of housework with premature births, ‘I wonder if the corollary is true: if you’re overdue and want to bring on labor, maybe you should get the ironing out!’

Atula, Staff Writer

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About the author


Atula is a writer, traveler and a nature-lover. She is also mom to a boy who seems to have inherited all her creative genes. When Atula is not busy making up stories with her son, she writes for numerous magazines, websites and blogs. She is also working on her site on endangered species called

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