Objectives: With an increase in the number of working women in Japan, it is predicted that the number of working pregnant women will also increase. Most previous research on working pregnant women has focused on effects of external factors related to working conditions on negative psychological state in pregnant women. This study attempts to clarify how positive psychological aspects, such as comfort, are influenced by internal as well as external factors. Methods: Two hundred working primigravidas participated in an online survey in May 2015. This survey contained the Prenatal Comfort Scale, a measure of working pregnant women’s feelings of guilt, the Three-Dimensional Commitment Scale, a section asking about the proportion of attention devoted to three different roles (social, mother, and wife), and a section on demographic characteristics. Results: Responses of 198 (mean age=32.4±4.8 years) women were analyzed. Stepwise multivariate analysis revealed that a lower proportion of attention to one’s social role (?=-.295, p=<.001), discussing the division of labor (?=-.172, p=.005), higher normative commitment (?=.179, p=.004), more intense feelings of guilt toward the fetus (?=.189, p=.003), and less emotions related to controlling one’s own behavior (?=-.179, p=.005) were significantly related to higher prenatal comfort (adj.R2=.300). Most external factors such as job type, employment status, working hours, job status, and job duration were not significantly related to prenatal comfort. Conclusions: To ensure that working women have a comfortable pregnancy, health care providers need to assess not only external work-related factors, but also internal characteristics such as feelings of guilt and workplace commitment.
Keywords: Japan, patient comfort, pregnant women, working women.