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Women juggling busy careers and a heavy load of household responsibilities may be at a high risk for developing complications during pregnancy. In fact, demands on pregnant women at home "maybe (even) greater than the demands at work," according to Barbara Luke and colleagues at the University of Michigan Medical School in Ann Arbor, USA. Women who complained of feeling 'very tired or extremely tired at the end of the workday', and who also bore a heavy load of responsibility for taking care of the home, had close to five times the risk for complications during pregnancy, compared with women with lighter workloads. The most common complications included preterm labour or delivery, and pre-eclampsia, a potentially dangerous rise in blood pressure linked to pregnancy. Maternity leave does not always ease the overall workload as such women often assume an even share of household responsibilities, undermining the very reason for cutting back on work hours ( American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology , Vol 181, No 5).
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