(cross-posted to LAcrone)
This post ended up going in directions I had not originally planned :-)
So the preliminary results of a Dutch study say:
Women in stressful jobs who become pregnant should virtually halve their time at work right from the start of their pregnancy, according to Amsterdam specialist Gouke Bonsel.
Bonsel, a professor of social health at the well known AMC hospital in the city, says women should work no more than 24 hours a week, if their occupation is stressful.
Preliminary results from a recent study had shown surprisingly strong results, he said.
'We were astonished and we thought long and hard about publishing the results, but it is perfectly clear.
'Women who work 32 hours or more in a stressful position have noticeably lighter children, with all the consequences,' Bonsel says.
The study, a major long-term investigation into pregnancy, found an average weight decline in newborns by 150 grams, the same as that caused by smoking during pregnancy,
There are some instances where pregnant women need special consideration, but I don't think this counts as one of them. I believe that many of us, male or female, pregnant or not, abuse our health by allowing ourselves to be put under chronic stressful conditions and accepting it as normal. For us, the consequences may not manifest themselves for a long time. Pregnancy just happens to be a time when the results of this neglect are more immediate and easier to recognize.
The right response to this data would be to conclude that overstressing people is bad. The wrong response would be to decide that pregnant employees are a hassle because they can't take the heat.
These stressed-out pregnant moms and their low-birthweight babies are trying to tell us something about our lifestyle. You can call them our canaries or you can call them our prophets.
All that hippy-dippy ecofeminist talk about the uterus being a cauldron of wisdom -- this is an example of what that means (at least what it means to me). For instance, some say that the emotional changes women may get premenstrually are not indications that the women are losing their grip. Rather it's that they are genuinely confronting feelings that they (and the rest of us) are usually in denial about. We can either listen and learn or we can push it away -- Don't pay any attention to her. She's got PMS.
PMS, menstrual problems, menopausal storms and more. I think our wombs are sending us a lot of messages about the toxic (both physically and emotionally) environment we live in. And a lot of treatments for those problems seem to be aimed at getting those uteruses to just SHUT UP, without looking at what the underlying messages might be. Your hormones are making you unpredictable and unproductive? Try these hormones in a bottle. They'll regulate you nicely. And if that doesn't do the trick, maybe we'll just take that uterus out. OK? Now, back to work.
Don't get me wrong. There are indeed some instances where women have female problems because their reproductive systems are just plain broken. But often, we're too quick to conclude that it's the woman's body that's at fault and needs to be either fixed, pitied, or ignored.
Similar ideas explored here, but not female-related.