Antenatal Maternity Leave and Childbirth in the U.S.

Julia M. Goodman, University of California, Berkeley

Prior studies suggest that taking antenatal maternity leave (ANL) reduces the risk of adverse obstetric outcomes, presumably by allowing pregnant women time to rest before childbirth. The small literature examining this relationship suffers from several important limitations. With data from the First Baby Study, a longitudinal cohort study of nulliparous women giving birth to singletons in Pennsylvania hospitals (N = 3,006), I examine the effects of ANL on maternal health. I use propensity scores to reduce potential selection bias. I conduct subgroup analyses for full-time employed women. In unmatched analyses adjusting for potential confounders, women who stopped working more than one day before delivery had increased likelihood of using epidural analgesia, delivering by c-section, and had longer labor than women who worked until delivery. However, initial propensity score analyses indicate that leave-takers and non-leave-takers differ significantly. I will report results from propensity score matched multivariable regression analyses and subgroup analyses.

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 Presented in Session P7. Health and Mortality of Women, Children and Families