Delayed maternity leave as harmful as smoking
The risks to your baby if you work after 8 months of pregnancy are significant.
By Scott Dunlop
Article originally in Parent24
Some moms-to-be are proud of the fact that they worked right
up until the last minute while pregnant, while others don’t have the luxury of
going on maternity leave earlier than 8 months. A recent study has shown
significant developmental differences in babies whose moms worked after 8
months pregnancy, according to the Guardian.
Just as bad as smoking?
Babies born to moms who worked until 8 months or beyond were
found to be, on average, 230g lighter than babies whose moms stopped working
between 6 and 8 months. This difference in birth weight is comparable to babies
born to moms who smoked during pregnancy, as smoking causes babies to develop
at a slower rate.
Previous research has also shown that babies with lower
birth weights face higher risks of poor health and slow development, and are
found to experience other problems later in life, too.
Other findings from the study showed that:
- The birth weights of babies born to younger moms (under 24)
were not affected by working until late in pregnancy.
- The older the mom, the more likelihood of the baby encountering
- Stopping work earlier was shown to be beneficial for
women with lower levels of education, the reason given is that it may be linked
to these women having to do more physically demanding work.
Challenges faced by babies born with lower birth weights
include poorer chances of completing schooling successfully, lower wages and
higher mortality rates, giving strong arguments for increased governmental
subsidisation of maternity leave. Compared with previous decades, more women
are choosing (or having) to work later in pregnancy than ever before.
When do you plan on going on maternity leave?