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Home Industry News Longer maternity leave ‘lowers risk of postpartum depression’

Longer maternity leave ‘lowers risk of postpartum depression’

13th December 2013

A new study from the US has suggested that women could be protected from postpartum depression through a more generous allowance of maternity leave.

Research conducted by the University of Maryland School of Public Health followed a group of more than 800 women in Minnesota, gathering data about depressive symptoms and mental and physical health at six weeks, 12 weeks, six months and 12 months after they gave birth.

At the six-week, 12-week and six-month timeframes, the women who were on maternity leave had significantly lower postpartum depression scores compared to their peers who had returned to work.

Dr Rada Dagher, assistant professor of health services administration at the University of Maryland School of Public Health, said: "Employers should consider providing more generous leaves."

This study is particularly pertinent in the US, which is one of only a handful of countries that does not typically offer paid maternity leave to female workers.

However, it could also be relevant to the UK, given that the Department of Health is currently looking to hire more specialist mental health midwives in order to cope with the problem of postpartum depression.ADNFCR-8000103-ID-801672492-ADNFCR

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