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Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine:
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e318217197b
Original Articles

A Longitudinal Analysis of Total Workload and Women's Health After Childbirth

McGovern, Patricia PhD, MPH; Dagher, Rada K. PhD, MPH; Rice, Heidi Roeber MD, MPH; Gjerdingen, Dwenda MD; Dowd, Bryan PhD; Ukestad, Laurie K. MS; Lundberg, Ulf PhD

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Abstract

Objectives: To examine the association of women's postpartum health with total workload (TWL), work and personal factors in the year after childbirth.

Methods: Employed women from Minneapolis and St Paul, Minnesota, were recruited while hospitalized for childbirth. Longitudinal analyses, using fixed effects regression models, estimated the associations of TWL, job satisfaction and stress, social support, perceived control, breastfeeding and infant characteristics with women's health at 5 weeks, 11 weeks, 6 months, and 12 months postpartum.

Results: Increased TWL over time was associated with significantly poorer mental health and increased symptoms.

Conclusions: High TWL–including reduced time for rest, recovery, and sleep–is a risk factor for women's mental health and symptoms 12 months after childbirth. Women's postpartum health was positively associated with social support, which may help to decrease the negative effects of excess work.

©2011The American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine

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