Three-quarters of pregnant women take sick leave, citing tiredness and sleep problems as the main reasons
The majority of pregnant women take at least two months sick leave from work, according to a new study.
Norwegian research has revealed three quarters of pregnant women take sick leave overall - citing tiredness and sleep problems as the main reasons to miss work.
But the researchers, from the Stavanger University Hospital, Norway, say employers can help reduce this absence through flexible work adjustments.
They gathered information through a questionnaire conducted at weeks 17 and 32 of pregnancy from 3,000 hospital patients, of which just over 75 per cent received sick leave at some point during their pregnancy.
Results showed the factors associated with sick leave varied according to trimester, with more women requiring time off as their pregnancy progressed.By week 32, 63 per cent of women were taking sick leave.
The researchers also found 35 per cent of women listed fatigue and sleep problems as the main reason for taking sick leave, followed by pelvic girdle pain - limited mobility and functioning of the pelvis joints - and nausea or vomiting - 32 per cent and 23 per cent respectively.
While only 2 per cent cited anxiety or depression as a reason for their sick leave, these women recorded the longest average of sick leave taken, the researchers said.
The research, published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, also found 60 per cent of women made adjustments to their working situation.
These women reported taking seven fewer days sick leave than those who went without job adjustments.
But women who had flexible working arrangements took less time off
Lead researcher Dr Signe Dorheim said: 'We found that a large number of pregnant women take time off work as sick leave.
'The factors associated with sick leave varied according to the trimester of pregnancy but some of these factors are not necessarily caused by pregnancy alone.
'Women who suffer from work-related fatigue, such as insomnia, are likely to require more time off, especially during late pregnancy.
'Further research is needed to look at how treatment of certain conditions and work adjustments can lead to less time being taken off work and ultimately a better quality of life for pregnant women.'
John Thorp, BJOG Deputy-Editor-in-Chief, added: 'This study was conducted in Norway, where sick leave entitlements allow workers to receive very good compensation for time taken due to illness, so this may impact the findings.
'However, the factors that affect pregnant women in the workplace are universal and this study shows a clear link between working conditions and the duration of sick leave, which highlights the potential benefits for employers to have a support system in place.
'Pregnancy is a normal physiological state, however, it can affect women in different ways. If a woman is concerned she should talk to her employer, GP or midwife for support.'
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2228829/Pregnant-women-months-sick-leave-work-says-controversial-study.html#ixzz2BZNzLx3r
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