More than three quarters of pregnant women take an average of eight weeks sick leave from their work, according to a new study published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology.
Researchers questioned more than 3,000 pregnant women who were scheduled to give birth at the Akershus University Hospital in Norway over a period of 18 months. The participants were asked about sick leave during 17 and 32 weeks of their pregnancies and the reasons for the sick leave.
The researchers found that around 2,197 women took an average of eight weeks of sick leave with the reasons varying according to the trimester of the pregnancy and more women taking sick leave in the later period.
"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. While medical history and socioeconomic conditions can influence the occurrence and length of time taken off as sick leave, women's working situations during pregnancy were significant contributors to our findings", lead researcher Dr Signe Dorheim, from Stavanger University Hospital, said.