Study Finds That Longer Maternity Leave Lessens Risk for Post-Partum Depression

dagherA study led by Rada K. Dagher, assistant professor of health services administration at the University of Maryland School of Health, finds that the more time women take off from work after giving birth the less likelihood they will experience post-partum depression.

About 13 percent of all woman who give birth suffer from post-partum depression in the first year after having their babies. But women who went back to work sooner than six months after giving birth were found to be at greater risk for post-partum depression.

The Family and Medical Leave Act protects women’s jobs mandating 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave. The United States lags almost all other developed nations in providing leave for women who give birth. The authors warn that the small amount of leave time “may not be sufficient for mothers at risk for or experiencing post-partum depression.” They urge public policy officials to reconsider women’s mental health when taking into account future measures on parental leave.

The article, “Maternity Leave Duration and Postpartum Mental and Physical Health: Implications for Leave Policies,” was published in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law. It may be accessed here.

Filed Under: Research/Study

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