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The Restorative Benefits of Taking Maternity Leave before Delivery

This is Science Today. In the United States, the federal government has a medical leave act that offers job-protected, unpaid leave for up to three months. Yet, a study conducted by the University of California, Berkeley's School of Public Health suggests that's a small window of opportunity for full-time working women to take enough maternity leave prior to delivery.

Guendelman:             Most women prefer to think about banking leave for after the baby is born because they feel they need to give more attention to the baby at that time.

Narrator:        Maternal and child health expert Sylvia Guendelman says her study found that taking time off before delivery reduces the risk of Caesarean sections. 

Guendelman:             We think that perhaps the mechanism by which this works is through restoration - through more rest and relaxation to prepare for delivery, which might be helping women to be in better physical and perhaps less stressful conditioning for delivery that might reduce C-sections and other complications.

Narrator:        For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.