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Study Shows Paternity Leave Can Help Improve Mothers’ Health

Research has shown that fathers who take paternity leave while their partners are on maternity leave significantly improve new mothers’ health. Usually, fathers and mothers take turns going on leave in order to minimize the amount of time they have to take time off of work. With this study, couples should consider going on leave at the same time.

While it’s still not a common practice across the world, paternity leave has become more and more normalized. Their presence in the first few months of their child’s life is critical to the bond of the entire family. They’re able to learn how to care for a child and help their partner through the experience. Some of the weight and stress of constantly looking after a baby is lifted from the shoulders of the mom.

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In an analysis of a Swedish law from 2012 that gives fathers the option to take up to 30 days off of work, researchers found a 26% decrease in prescriptions for anti-anxiety medications for new moms. They also observed a 14% reduction in hospitalizations and a decline of 11% of antibiotic prescriptions. These numbers were found with couples who were on leave at the same time, or when the father took days off sometime during her maternity leave.

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Researchers also found that the timing of the paternity leave is crucial to the health of the mother. They suggest that the best time for dads to take time off is the first few months of the child’s life. With the assistance of the father at home, new moms could rest and heal from childbirth. Not only does the physical help contribute positively to postpartum health, but the presence of the partner also has an impact on a mom’s mental well-being. Taking care of a baby is both mentally and physically tasking on a woman, so with the help of the father, they’re able to do their job better.

With studies like these, it’s becoming clear that paid paternity leave should be made more widely available to new parents. Having a child is a job on its own, so balancing between work and family life is difficult. If more fathers go on paternity leave during that crucial time, then more moms will be of good health and ready to be the best mom they can be.

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