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Occupational Hazard Exposures and Depressive Symptoms of Pregnant Workers

Yeh, Sherri, S., MD; Lee, Chien-Nan, MD, MSc; Wu, Ying-Hsuan, MSc; Tu, Nai-Chi, BS; Guo, Yue-Leon, MD, PhD; Chen, Pau-Chung, MD, PhD; Chen, Chi-Hsien, MD, PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: March 2018 - Volume 60 - Issue 3 - p e134–e138
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001255
Original Articles

Objectives: The aim of this study was to explore the prevalence of exposure to occupational hazards and depressive mood with associated underlying risk factors among pregnant workers.

Methods: Women at 12 weeks of gestation (n = 172) were recruited during regular prenatal screening. Data were obtained via questionnaires that explored job details and Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale.

Results: The most commonly encountered hazard was prolonged standing. The majority of women reported that the workplace provided no information on the safety or rights of pregnant women, but those exposed to at least four hazards had more access to such services (P < 0.05). Thirteen percent may have suffered from depressive symptomatology. Higher-level work-related burnout, lower job control, and reduced workplace support were significantly associated with possible antenatal depressive symptoms.

Conclusion: Pregnant workers are exposed to substantial levels of occupational hazards and may experience depressive symptoms; thus, their work conditions require monitoring and improvement.

Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, and Centers for Occupational Disease and Injury Service, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei City, Taiwan (Dr Yeh, Ms Wu, Ms Tu, Drs Guo, Chen, and Chen); Department of Gynecology and Obstetrics, National Taiwan University Hospital, Taipei City, Taiwan (Dr Lee); Institute of Occupational Medicine and Industrial Hygiene, National Taiwan University College of Public Health, Taipei City, Taiwan (Drs Guo and PC Chen); and National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Health Research Institute, Taipei City, Taiwan (Dr Guo).

Address correspondence to: Chi-Hsien Chen, MD, PhD, Department of Environmental and Occupational Medicine, National Taiwan University Hospital, No. 7, Chung-Shan S. Rd., Zhongzheng Dist., Taipei City 10002, Taiwan (

This research project was supported by National Taiwan University Hospital and Occupational Safety & Health Administration, Ministry of Labor, Taiwan.

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study. The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the National Taiwan University Hospital.

The authors have no conflicts of interest.

Copyright © 2018 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine