The new study does not explain why janitorial jobs are more hazardous, but previous research has shown a chemical exposure connection, the story stated.
Dr. Juan Silva, a family and prenatal medicine expert, said: "Mothers that worked as janitors, cleaners or scientists, the study implies that they are at great risk for having children with neural tube defects. Certain chemical exposure would put you at a greater risk for having children with neural tube defects."
The study was based on phone interviews with about 12,500 mothers between 1997 and 2003, many of whom had children with various defects including ear, eye or gastrointestinal problems and cleft abnormalities, the story noted.
According to the story, the mothers were interviewed about the kind of job that they had at the time they became pregnant to the end of their first trimester; experts say this is a critical time for healthy fetal development.
Many feel that the findings are too preliminary to draw concrete conclusions, but it underscores the need for pregnant women janitors to speak with their supervisors about the chemicals they use and how they can protect themselves, the story added.