Work behaviour during pregnancy in rural China in 2009

Subas Neupane, Bright I Nwaru, Zhuochun Wu, Elina Hemminki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


OBJECTIVES: To describe the pattern and determinants of working during pregnancy in rural China.

METHODS: A cross-sectional survey was carried out in 2009 in three provinces (Anhui, Chongqing and Shaanxi) in rural China among 3966 mothers who had recently given birth. Multilevel logistic regression was used to examine the determinants of work behaviour during pregnancy.

RESULTS: Overall, 39% of the women stopped working during early pregnancy, 32% worked the same throughout pregnancy and the rest decreased their work or stopped later in pregnancy. Women from Anhui (53%) and Chongqing (54%) provinces were more likely to stop work in early pregnancy than women from Shaanxi province (20%). Older women [odds ratio (OR) 0.74, 95% confidence interval (CI) 0.56-0.99], those having two or more children (OR 0.55, 95% CI 0.43-0.69) and non-farmers (OR 0.50, 95% CI 0.65-0.99) were less likely to stop working on the first trimester, but those with higher education (high school OR 1.43, 95% CI 1.05-1.94) were more likely to stop working. Stopping work early was not related to household income and adequacy of prenatal care. Women with two or more children, non-farmers and those from Shaanxi province were more likely to continue to work to the same extent during pregnancy. But those with higher household income and middle and high school were less likely to work the same.

CONCLUSIONS: Women's working patterns during pregnancy in rural China were polarized: many women stopped working already in early pregnancy, but others continued to work as before. The key determinant of the working patterns was the province of residence.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)170-5
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Public Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


  • Adult
  • China
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Educational Status
  • Employment
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Income
  • Logistic Models
  • Maternal Age
  • Parity
  • Pregnancy
  • Rural Population
  • Young Adult


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