Paid maternity leave linked to long-term health benefits

Maternity leave also has positive effects on the mental health and the development of newborns.

New York: Paid maternity leave has great mental and physical health benefits for both mother and baby – this also includes the rates of postpartum depression and infant mortality; new research suggests. 

This research published in the journal Harvard Review of Psychiatry showed that paid maternity leaves also increased the likelihood of breastfeeding initiation and time among all mothers who are able to breastfeed and choose to breastfeed. 

The data also shows that paid maternity leave is good for the physical and mental health of mothers and infants. So, now we know it’s not just good for the business, it’s also good for the health of working families,” said researcher Christina Mangurian from the University of California – San Francisco.

For the study, the researchers analyzed the latest national and international studies on the effects of paid maternity leave on the health of mothers and children.

Looking at 26 experimental or quasi-experimental studies, the review highlights the public health benefits of the paid maternity leave in several areas.

The group found that paid maternity leave was linked to significantly lower rates of postpartum depression – a common disorder with serious repercussions for both the mother and the newborn. 

Other reported health benefits include reduced psychological distress, improved moods, and in one study a clearly reduced risk of intimate partner violence. 

Maternity leaves also include positive effects on the children’s mental health and development – it also has a reduced risk of postpartum depression and its inherent adverse effects on maternal-infant bonding.

The duration of maternity leave has also related to the quality of mother-infant interactions, which affects the development of empathy, attachment, and later academic performance in the infant.