Work Reentry After Childbirth: Predictors of Self-Rated Health in Month One Among a Sample of University Faculty and Staff

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Background: Childbirth represents a significant transition for women, with physical and psychological sequelae. Reentry to the workplace during the postpartum period is understudied, with implications for maternal well-being and job-related outcomes. This study's aim was to examine selected pregnancy, childbirth, and return-to-work correlates of overall self-rated health within the first month of work reentry after maternity leave. Methods: Between December 2016 and January 2017, we surveyed women employed at a large, public Midwestern university who had given birth in the past five years (N = 249) to examine self-rated overall health in the first month of work reentry. Using ordinal logistic regression, we examined whether physical or psychological health problems during pregnancy, childbirth complications, length of maternity leave, and depression and anxiety at work reentry were related to overall health. Results: Women who experienced depression (odds ratio [OR] = 0.096 [95% confidence interval {CI} = 0.019 to 0.483, p = 0.004]) and anxiety (OR = 0.164, [95% CI = 0.042 to 0.635, p = 0.009]) nearly every day reported worse health at work reentry than those with no symptoms. Controlling for demographics and mental health, women who experienced medical problems during pregnancy (OR = 0.540 [95% CI = 0.311 to .935, p = 0.028]) were more likely to report poor health, while taking a longer maternity leave (OR = 14.552 [95% CI = 4.934 to 42.918, p < 0.001]) was associated with reporting better health at work reentry. Conclusion: Women who experience medical complications during pregnancy, return to the workplace too soon after birth, and experience mental health symptoms are vulnerable physically as they return to work.




Falletta, L., Abbruzzese, S., Fischbein, R., Shura, R., Eng, A., & Alemagno, S. (2020). Work Reentry After Childbirth: Predictors of Self-Rated Health in Month One Among a Sample of University Faculty and Staff. Safety and Health at Work, 11(1), 19–25.

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