Expecting mums may harm their unborn baby by moving house during early pregnancy, research finds


MUMS-to-be could be putting their unborn child at risk by moving house while expecting, research suggests.

A major study reveals tots born to women who had switched home during the first three months of pregnancy had worse outcomes.

Getty – Contributor

Expecting mums may put their baby’s health in danger by moving house in the first three months of pregnant[/caption]

Experts found they were 37 per cent more likely to have a low birthweight.

And their chances of being delivered premature were 42 per cent higher than babies born to mums who stayed put.

Both early arrival and being too small puts newborns at increased risk of complications and poorer health in later life.

Lead researcher Julia Bond, from Washington University, said the stress of the move, physical strain and interruption to healthcare may be to blame for worse outcomes.


She said: “Our results yield important insights regarding moving during pregnancy.

“Regardless of whether the negative impact of moving is driven by the stress from the move itself, stressful situations leading to a move, or disruption of care because of the move, asking patients about plans to move and using that as an opportunity to counsel patients on stress mitigating techniques and care continuity may be beneficial.”

The study, in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health, compared 30,000 U.S. kids born to house switchers to 120,000 to whose parents had remained in the same home.

Women who moved in pregnancy were likely to be younger, less well educated, and lived in poorer areas.

They were also more likely to be unmarried and to have smoked while expecting.

Getty – Contributor

Experts found babies born to mothers who moved were 37 per cent more likely to have a low birthweight[/caption]

But the team behind the study took all these factors into account and still found a raised risk of premature delivery and low birthweight.

Birte Harlev-Lam, Executive Director for Professional Leadership at the Royal College of Midwives, said: “There is some evidence that stress in early pregnancy can have a negative impact on the

woman and her pregnancy.

“We would advise pregnant women who are moving house to avoid any heavy lifting and to take regular rests and to discuss it with their midwife who will offer support and advice.”

Dr Nadja Reissland, from Durham University, said: “The message to take from this study… that stress in the first trimester can result in a small increase in risk of negative outcomes in terms of gestation, birthweight, and to some extent growth, is to reduce or avoid stressful scenarios when it is within your control to do so.

“However, women should not worry too much if they have to move house as the increased risk of harm to their unborn child is very small.”

Dr Virginia Beckett, from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “Moving house may disrupt a woman’s access to her GP or midwife, and the physical and mental stress may also contribute to these poorer outcomes, but more research is needed to determine the exact underlying causes and the effect on a woman and her baby.

“A significant number of women move house during pregnancy. It is recommended that women try to avoid doing too much, and, if they can, avoid stressful situations.

“It’s also important to ensure registration with a local GP and a midwife.”


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