Analysis shows that mothers in particular benefit from longer leave and policies that provide incentives and wage replacements.
Parental leave has been found to prevent deterioration of mental health, especially among mothers, with lasting life-long beneficial effects, according to the results of a review published in . lancet public health.1
Researchers from the Karolinska Institutet’s School of International Public Health and Stockholm University’s School of Public Health Sciences conducted a systematic review to determine the relationship between parental mental health and parental leave on an international scale.1
“Becoming a parent can be stressful for parents. We tend to think about the big hormonal and physical changes that mothers go through, but the transition to parenthood can be stressful for couples.” We also have to think about it,” says Sol P Juarez, associate professor and senior lecturer at the Department of Public Health in Stockholm. The university said in a statement.1
“Usually 10-20% of mothers and up to 10% of fathers are said to be affected. We wanted to systematically examine all published scientific evidence,” said Juarez.1
A review showed that parental leave protects against mental health declines, including burnout, depressive symptoms, mental health in general, access to mental health care, and maternal distress in particular.1
Beneficial effects were associated with more generous parental leave, including longer vacation periods, researchers said.1
We searched five online databases up to 29 August 2022 and included a total of 45 studies in the review.1
“This is the most comprehensive systematic review on this topic to date. We’ve been looking at the relevance in relation to health,” said Amy Heshmati, a doctoral candidate at Stockholm University. in a statement.1
“We also investigated the indirect effects of one parent taking parental leave on the partner’s mental health,” she said.
Researchers say the benefits continued for mothers.
However, the father’s findings were inconclusive.1
Few studies have focused on fathers, but research shows that fathers have improved mental health through parental leave schemes that replace wages or that provide incentives, including rates of acquisition. It’s still being shown, investigators said.1
According to the CDC, postpartum depression occurs after childbirth and is more intense and lasts longer than the typical baby blues many new mothers experience.
Symptoms of postpartum depression include crying more than usual, feeling angry, feeling overly anxious or worried, and withdrawing.2
About 1 in 8 women experience symptoms of postpartum depression, according to a recent study, according to the CDC.
Diagnosis of depression after childbirth is on the rise, seven times higher in 2015 than in 2000.2
Postpartum depression is a treatable condition.
1. Generous parental leave prevents mental health deterioration. EurekAlert. News Release. January 3, 2022. Accessed January 5, 2023. https://www.eurekalert.org/news-releases/975509
2. Depression during and after pregnancy. CDC. Updated 04/29/2022. Accessed 01/05/2023. https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/features/maternal-depression/index.html