A longitudinal analysis of total workload and women's health after childbirth

J Occup Environ Med. 2011 May;53(5):497-505. doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e318217197b.


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.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Breast Feeding / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Health Status
  • Humans
  • Job Satisfaction
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Parturition
  • Postpartum Period
  • Pregnancy
  • Social Support
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Women's Health / economics*
  • Workload / statistics & numerical data*