142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Development and First Phase Evaluation of a Maternity Leave Educational Tool for Pregnant, Working Women in California

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Sylvia Guendelman, PhD, LCSW , School of Public Health, University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Elaine Kurtovich, MPH , Health Research for Action, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Linda Neuhauser, DrPH , Health Research for Action, School of Public Health, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA
Dana Edelman, MPH, CHES , March of Dimes, California Chapter, San Francisco, CA
Maura Georges, MPH, MSW , March of Dimes, California Chapter, San Francisco, CA
Peyton Mason-Marti, MPH , March of Dimes, California Chapter, San Francisco, CA
Background:Despite evidence of the health benefits of maternity leave for both mother and infant, many American women fail to take adequate advantage of this option.

Methods: We developed a short, evidence-based maternity leave educational resource for pregnant women (“the tool”) in California using participatory design and health literacy principles. With funding from the March of Dimes, California Chapter, we tested the short-term efficacy of the tool with a randomized controlled trial among pregnant working women (N=146).

Results: Among participants exposed to the tool, 65% reported that they learned something new, and 38% said the tool motivated them to seek more information. Nearly half (49%) said it helped to plan their maternity leave. Among women who delivered at term, a greater proportion who read the tool took some antenatal leave (86%) and among those who took leave 74% took more than a week compared with 64% of controls. Among participants who had returned to work by the time they were surveyed  (n=36), mean postnatal leave taken was 2.5 weeks longer for participants who read the tool vs. control participants (14.7 vs.12.2 weeks).

Conclusions. The first-phase evaluation of this tool shows that it successfully informed women about maternity leave options, clarified complex regulations, encouraged women to seek further information and helped plan maternity leave prior to delivery. Although, in this small sample the intervention did not yield a statistically significant increase in uptake of maternity leave, future evaluation of the tool when mediated by a health provider or employer is warranted.

Learning Areas:

Implementation of health education strategies, interventions and programs

Learning Objectives:
Describe the impact of providing a brief educational tool summarizing maternity leave laws, programs and health benefits to pregnant working women. Discuss the usefulness of educational tools to support women's decisions to effectively balance work and family, thus promoting the health of mother and baby. Describe the health benefits of taking antenatal and postnatal leave for mother and baby. Identify the steps in evaluating a geographically specific educational tool for pregnant women about maternity leave laws and programs for paid leave. Discuss successful strategies for using participatory design to develop a culturally competent resource tool.

Keyword(s): Evaluation, Maternal and Child Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I helped design the study, interpret the findings, and write the paper. My work as a researcher and Principal Investigator focuses on the health benefits of maternity leave, and this translational study is an extension of this work.
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.