Firefighter occupational factors and the risk of preterm birth: Results from a survey of women firefighters in the USA

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2 Scopus citations


Objectives Previous research has suggested that women firefighters may have a greater risk of adverse reproductive outcomes compared with non-firefighting women. In this study, we investigated the association between firefighter occupational factors and risk of preterm birth. Methods This cross-sectional analysis of US firefighters surveyed in 2017 compared preterm birth among firefighters to non-firefighters using age-at-pregnancy-standardised prevalence ratios. Generalised estimating equations estimated relative risks and 95% CIs between firefighter occupational factors (career or volunteer, wildland status, shift schedule, fire responses, work restriction) and preterm birth risk. We adjusted for age-at-pregnancy, education, gravidity, BMI, and smoking and considered effect modification by age-at-pregnancy and career versus volunteer status. Results Among 934 women who reported 1356 live births, 12% were preterm (n=161). Preterm birth prevalence among firefighters was 1.41 times greater than non-firefighters (95% CI 1.18 to 1.68). Among wildland and combination wildland/structural firefighters, volunteers had 2.82 times the risk of preterm birth (95% CI 1.19 to 6.67) compared with career firefighters. Firefighters who started restricting their work in the 2nd trimester had a nonsignificant 0.67 times lower risk of preterm birth than those who started in the 3rd trimester or did not restrict work at all (95% CI 0.43 to 1.03). Conclusions Firefighters may have greater risk of preterm birth than non-firefighters, which could be influenced by roles in the fire service and work restrictions taken.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-85
Number of pages9
JournalOccupational and environmental medicine
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 23 2022


  • Firefighters
  • Occupational Health
  • Pregnancy Outcome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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