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Six weeks after birth: women's health & awareness of family & medical leave benefits.

McGovern-P; Kenney-S; Dagher-R; Ukestad-L; McCaffrey-D
Proceedings of After Birth: Policies for Healthy Women, Families, and Workplaces, October 1, 2004, Minneapolis, Minnesota. Minneapolis, MN; University of Minnesota, 2004 Oct; :1-10
This study examined factors affecting women's health six weeks after birth. A substudy was also conducted to identify the extent to which new mothers are aware of their family and medical leave policies by comparing women's reports of their leave benefits to their employers' reports. The study employed a prospective design where women were enrolled at the time of childbirth from three Minnesota hospitals, and information was collected from in-person interviews and medical charts. Women were subsequently interviewed by telephone at approximately six weeks after childbirth. After obtaining women's consent, a random subsample of women's employers was also interviewed by telephone to collect information on the employers' family and medical leave policies. Study findings revealed that at six weeks after birth, 716 women were employed and completed an interview. Women reported an average of six different postpartum symptoms, most commonly breast symptoms, fatigue and sexual symptoms. Delivery type was the factor with the greatest effect on women's health; women with cesarean (vs. vaginal) deliveries had significantly poorer physical health. Given that cesarean deliveries are at a record high in the US, study findings highlight the need for health care providers to discuss with women the effects of delivery type on health and daily role function and prescribe the type of family and medical leave which optimizes well-being and successful return to work. Substudy findings on women's awareness of leave benefits revealed less than 10% of women correctly knew the duration of paid and unpaid leave benefits available to them in association with childbirth. Research is needed to identify how women can best learn about their available leave benefits.
Employee-health; Demographic-characteristics; Women; Mental-health; Fatigue; Epidemiology; Statistical-analysis; Physiological-measurements; Psychological-stress; Psychological-fatigue; Sociological-factors
Publication Date
Document Type
Conference/Symposia Proceedings
Funding Type
Fiscal Year
Identifying No.
Grant-Number-R18-OH-003605; Grant-Number-T42-OH-008434
Priority Area
Work Environment and Workforce: Organization of Work
Source Name
Proceedings of After Birth: Policies for Healthy Women, Families, and Workplaces, October 1, 2004, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Performing Organization
University of Minnesota Twin Cities
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division