A study of women in India revealed that 63% of pregnant women living in rural areas continue to work until they deliver the baby. While the policies and working laws regarding pregnant women are not comparable to those in North America, it’s still crazy that this is a norm for some communities in India. No mom should have to worry about overworking themselves while they’re pregnant.
Many forget that carrying a child is a job in of itself. Other than being careful about what you eat, drink, and expose yourself to, there’s the constant fatigue that just sets in because your body is working so hard. Being pregnant strains the body a lot, so it’s hard to imagine continuing to work at full force towards the end of the pregnancy. There’s a reason why women need maternity leave, and we should be giving them the time they need to recover.
The study surveyed 702 pregnant women in rural areas in India. 63% of them reported that they continue to work until the day they deliver a baby. 49% of these women described the entire ordeal as incredibly taxing, as they felt exhausted during pregnancy due to lack of food and rest. Evidently, having to work and provide for the family all throughout the pregnancy will strain the body so much. This resulted in many women developing post-pregnancy conditions which they couldn’t afford to treat.
A third of the survey’s respondents confessed their need to borrow money or sell their assets to fund post-pregnancy visits to the doctor. Many had swollen feet, impaired vision, or were experiencing frequent convulsions. Unfortunately, there were those who had to deal with these conditions without going to a doctor—increasing their risk of developing long-term conditions or dying. It’s difficult to prioritize their own health when resources are so scarce and there’s a newborn who needs to be tended to.
The study revealed an unfortunate reality that many women still live. Those who live in poverty-stricken areas will have a harder time having a safe and comfortable pregnancy, especially if they need to work to provide for their families. Maternity leave should be a universal right, but the world hasn’t evolved that much yet.