Three out of four expectant mothers miss work for health reasons, a new report claims.
A study published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology quizzed women over an 18-month period who were initially booked in to Norway’s Akershus University Hospital to give birth on how much time they had taken off from their jobs and why.
Almost 3,000 women answered the questions at week 17 and week 32 of their pregnancies. And the study found that just over 75% of pregnant women had needed to use some of their sick leave.
On average pregnant women took eight weeks off sick, and most needed between four and 16 weeks away from the workplace.
And as pregnancy became more advanced, more women found they needed to take time off for health reasons. Of the women who completed questionnaires, 63% had needed to call in sick by the time they were 32 weeks pregnant.
The researchers found more than a third of the women were missing work due to tiredness or problems sleeping. And 32% took sick leave as a result of mobility issues and pain caused by problems with the pelvis.
Almost a quarter of pregnant women had called in sick due to nausea or vomiting.
Co-author Dr Signe Dorheim, from the division of psychiatry at Norway’s Stavanger University Hospital, said the study had found that working conditions had a major impact on how much time off pregnant women needed.
Other contributing factors included the women’s medical history, the conditions they lived in and how wealthy they were.