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by: , in conjunction with RAISIN,

Lots of women professionals, when they become pregnant, try to work extra hours in an effort to make sure everything's in order when they go on maternity leave - and that could be a serious mistake, according to a new study.

Researchers at the University of California at Davis School of Medicine say that women lawyers who work more than 45 hours a week have a threefold high risk of miscarriage than those women who work 35 hours a week. The survey of 584 women who graduated from the university's law school shows that 48% report feeling stress - a high predictor of miscarriage - much, most or all of the time, with 63% of the women who work 45 hours or more a week expressing that feeling.

"Women traditionally have had to juggle the responsibilities of both work and home, putting in extra hours to meet the

demands," says Marc Schenker, the chairman of the university's Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine. "While women have managed to raise families and to make tremendous progress in nearly all fields of work, our study shows that there are negative health effects of working long hours on the job rather than at home."

One of the problems seen by the research team is the fact that, for a career such as the law, the most important developmental period is also the peak time for delivering a child. "So many women are postponing childbirth until their late 30s and early 40s because the current male model of professional training and career development does not accommodate women's role as childbearers," says Martha West, a professor at the UC-Davis law school.

The research, which was supported by a grant from the March of Dimes, appears in the June issue of the Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.

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