Objective Women in veterinary occupations are routinely exposed to potential reproductive hazards, yet research into their birth outcomes is limited. We conducted a population-based retrospective cohort study of the association between maternal veterinary occupation and adverse birth outcomes.
Methods Using Washington State birth certificate, fetal death certificate and hospital discharge data from 1992 to 2014, we compared birth outcomes of mothers in veterinary professions (n=2662) with those in mothers in dental professions (n=10 653) and other employed mothers (n=8082). Relative risks (RRs) and 95% CIs were estimated using log binomial regression. Outcomes studied were premature birth (<37 weeks), small for gestational age (SGA), malformations and fetal death (death at ≥20 weeks gestation). Subgroup analyses evaluated risk of these outcomes among veterinarians and veterinary support staff separately.
Results While no statistically significant associations were found, we noted a trend for SGA births in all veterinary mothers compared with dental mothers (RR=1.16, 95% CI 0.99 to 1.36) and in veterinarians compared with other employed mothers (RR=1.37, 95% CI 0.96 to 1.96). Positive but non-significant association was found for malformations among children of veterinary support staff.
Conclusions These results support the need for further study of the association between veterinary occupation and adverse birth outcomes.
- birth defects
- small for gestational age
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Contributors JM proposed the initial design for this study, and MV and MSF contributed to its refinement and implementation, under the guidance of AIP and PMR. MV and MSF contributed to the initial draft of this manuscript, while JM completed all later drafts.
Funding This work was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (grant 2T42OH008433-11).
Competing interests None declared.
Ethics approval Because all data were anonymous and deidentified, the Washington State Institutional Review Board considered this research to be exempt from review.
Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.
Data sharing statement No additional unpublished data from this study are available.