206652 Total Workload and Women's Postpartum Health

Monday, November 9, 2009: 11:15 AM

Patricia M. McGovern, PhD, MPH , Division of Environmental Health Sciences, School of Public Health, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
Rada Dagher, PhD, MPH , Department of Health Services Research, Management and Policy, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL
Heidi Roeber Rice, MD, MPH , Occupational and Environmental Medicine, HealthPartners, St. Paul, MN
Research Objective: to examine the association of women's postpartum health with total workload, personal and work-related factors.

Study Design: A prospective cohort design was used, and women were recruited while hospitalized for childbirth. Data were abstracted from hospital records and collected in-person. Telephone interviews were conducted at 5 weeks (N=716), 11 weeks (N=661), 6 months (N=625), and 12 months (N=575), after delivery. Physical and mental health was measured using the SF -12; childbirth-related symptoms were assessed. Longitudinal analyses, using fixed effects models, estimated the associations of total workload, job satisfaction and stress, social support, perceived control, breastfeeding, and infant characteristics with women's health over the first year postpartum.

Population Studied: Employed Minnesota women, 18 years and older, who delivered a healthy singleton infant in 2001 (N= 817, 71% response rate).

Results: Women's health improved with time; total average daily workload ranged from 14.4 hours (6.8 hours of paid work; 7.1% working at 5 weeks postpartum) to 15.1 hours (7.8 hours of paid work; 97% working at 12 months postpartum). Longitudinal analyses revealed a significantly increased total workload over time was associated with poorer mental health and increased symptoms. Increased perceived control and social support were significantly associated with better mental health and fewer symptoms.

Conclusions: Study findings suggest a need to investigate the role of paid leave policies or flexible work arrangements to provide the resources needed to keep total postpartum workloads manageable, and facilitate mothers' recovery from childbirth and successful integration of family and work commitments.

Learning Objectives:
Session participants will be able to describe total workload and the potential impact of total workload on health and quality of life for new mothers.

Keywords: Women's Health, Maternal Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the principal investigator of the grant that funded the research and have over 15 years of conducting research and publishing on maternal postpartum health issues.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.