Maternity Leave Satisfaction Among Physicians Compared with Nonphysician Professionals.

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Journal of women's health (2002)


Objective: The objective of this study was to compare maternity leave satisfaction between physicians and nonphysicians. Currently, paid maternal leave is not guaranteed in the United States, resulting in palpable dissatisfaction among parents. Previous studies have shown associations between length of paid leave and career satisfaction and maternal happiness. Materials and Methods: A Qualtrics® electronic survey was distributed to female professionals through email and social media from April 2019 to March 2020. Inclusion criterion was ≥1 child by birth or adoption, or active pregnancy. Continuous and categorical data were analyzed using two-sample t-test and chi-square, respectively. Results: Of 808 respondents, 77% were physicians. Mean age at birth/adoption of first child was higher in physicians versus nonphysicians (32.1 years vs. 29.7 years; p < 0.001). Physicians took shorter maternity leave than nonphysicians (10.9 weeks vs. 12.0 weeks, p = 0.017) with half of that time paid by employers (5.4 weeks vs. 5.9 weeks, p = 0.2). Dissatisfaction was high among physicians (85.1%) and nonphysicians (92.4%) that correlates with maternity leave compensation dissatisfaction (49% vs. 71.3%, p < 0.001). Thirty-four percent of physicians versus 41% of nonphysicians stated that their health was negatively impacted by maternity leave length. Physicians and nonphysicians reported similar incidences of depression, and breastfeeding, delivery, and other postpartum complications. When queried, 38.8% of physicians and 57% of nonphysicians said they would desire >16 weeks of paid maternity leave (p < 0.001). Conclusions: In conclusion, dissatisfaction among professional women on maternity leave duration and compensation is high in the United States. Given health implications for both mother and child, this should invite further discussion and changes.





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