Narrator: 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.