Sick leave during pregnancy: a longitudinal study of rates and risk factors in a Norwegian population
Article first published online: 7 NOV 2012
© 2012 The Authors BJOG An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology © 2012 RCOG
BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics & Gynaecology
Volume 120, Issue 5, pages 521–530, April 2013
How to Cite
Sick leave during pregnancy: a longitudinal study of rates and risk factors in a Norwegian population. BJOG 2013;120:521–530., , .
- Issue published online: 11 MAR 2013
- Article first published online: 7 NOV 2012
- Manuscript Accepted: 16 SEP 2012
- risk factors;
- sick leave
To describe the prevalence of, reasons given for, and factors associated with sick leave during pregnancy.
Longitudinal, population-based descriptive study.
Akershus University Hospital, Norway.
All women scheduled to give birth at the hospital (November 2008 to April 2010).
Consenting women were handed a questionnaire at the routine ultrasound check at 17 weeks of gestation. Women returning this questionnaire received a second questionnaire at 32 weeks of gestation. Multiple logistic regression analyses were performed to examine associations with somatic, psychiatric and social factors.
Main outcome measures
Rates and duration of sick leave.
By 32 weeks of gestation, 63.2% of the 2918 women included were on sick leave, and 75.3% had been on sick leave at some point during their pregnancy. Pelvic girdle pain and fatigue/sleep problems were the main reasons given for sick leave. Being on sick leave in all trimesters was strongly associated with hyperemesis, exercising less than weekly, chronic pain before or during pregnancy, infertility treatment (all P < 0.001); younger maternal age, conflicts in the workplace (both P < 0.01); multiparity, previous depression, insomnia and lower education (all P < 0.05). Sick leave was associated with elective caesarean section and higher infant birthweight (P < 0.01). Adjustment of the work situation was associated with 1 week shorter duration of sick leave.
Most women receive sick leave during pregnancy, but sick leave might not be caused by pregnancy alone. Previous medical and psychiatric history, work conditions and socio-economic factors need to be addressed to understand sick leave during pregnancy.