Pregnant women moving houses in first trimester are 42% more likely to have a premature baby
Pregnant women who move house during their first trimester are 42 per cent more likely to have a premature baby, research suggests.
A study of more than 140,000 women also found relocating in the early months of pregnancy raises the risk of a low-birth weight by 37 per cent.
Moving house can be stressful, noted the scientists at the University of Washington, Seattle.
Past research suggests feeling frazzled early on in pregnancy causes more harm to an unborn baby than when its mother struggles to cope later on.
The physical strain of moving, along with disruptions to healthcare when arriving in a new area, may also be to blame, the researchers wrote.
‘Major life transitions’, such as having children, often prompt people to move house, the researchers wrote in the British Medical Journal.
Studies have shown between 11 and 25 per cent of women relocate while pregnant.
Frequently moving house as a child has been linked to poor health, however, less was known about whether it leads to pregnancy complications.
The results further revealed moving house raised the risk of having a small baby by nine per cent.
However, this was not statistically significant after other factors were taken into account.
‘The negative impact of moving [could be] driven by the stress from the move itself, stressful situations leading to a move or disruption of care because of the move’, the researchers wrote.
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 researchers stress they did not look at the reason for the move, or whether the women entered a more or less affluent area, both of which could influence pregnancy health.