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February 2004 Issue

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Pregnancy and Falling

Published February 2004

A recent study led by Kari Dunning, PhD, assistant professor in the UC Department of Environmental Health and the College of Allied Health Sciences/Department of Rehabilitation Sciences, found that one in four pregnant women experience falls during pregnancy. The study was published in the December issue of theAmerican Journal of Industrial Medicineand is the first of its kind to report on the high prevalence of falls during pregnancy.

The article, titled “Falls in workers during pregnancy: Risk factors, job hazards, and high risk occupations”, looks at the incidence of falls in employed pregnant women.

Of the 2,847 pregnant women surveyed, 757 of them, or 26.6 percent, experienced falls during pregnancy. More than six percent of the falls were experienced at work. The majority of these work-related falls were a result of slippery floors, hurrying, or carrying objects.

“Research is needed to study the effects of intervention to prevent falls and injury during pregnancy,” Dr. Dunning said.

Workplace interventions that should be used include reducing slippery floors for food service workers, removing clutter for nurses, and encouraging supportive footwear for women who work in sales, management, and other professional jobs. Another area for further research is to see if counseling pregnant women on safety and balance issues would help reduce falls.

This study represents a unique collaboration between the Hamilton County Health Department and the Cincinnati Health Department. Future collaborations may include work on an intervention program for local businesses.

Dr. Dunning presented the results of her study at =an international conference in Barcelona, Spain.

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