Planning to work right up until your due date? You might as well light up a cigarette, a new study suggests. The study finds that babies born to women who worked into the ninth month of pregnancy were an average of half a pound lighter than those born to moms who stopped working after anywhere from six to eight months. The same effect is seen in babies of moms who smoke, the Daily Mail reports.
Previous studies have shown that low birth weight is associated with developmental problems later in life. (It should be noted that the low birth weight was only seen when mothers over the age of 24 worked into the ninth month—babies born to younger mothers fared better.) A study author says flexible maternity leave should be considered: "As this study suggests," he says, "the possible benefits of taking leave flexibly before the birth could be quite high." (It turns out dad's job can cause problems, too...)