OBJECTIVE: We aimed to investigate the prevalence of sick leave and self-reported reasons given for sick leave during pregnancy. Furthermore, we aimed to estimate the frequency of long-term sick leave during pregnancy in relation to pre-baseline maternal characteristics and to identify predictors of long-term sick leave.
METHOD: Data from 508 employed pregnant women seeking antenatal care was collected by questionnaires from August 2015 to March 2016. The questionnaires, which were filled in at 20 and 32 weeks of gestation, provided information on maternal characteristics, the number of days spent on sick leave and the associated reasons. Descriptive statistics and logistic regression analysis were applied.
RESULTS: The prevalence of sick leave was 56% of employed pregnant women in the first 32 weeks of gestation and more than one in four reported long-term sick leave (>20 days, continuous or intermittent). Low back pain was the reason most frequently stated. Fewer than one in ten stated that their sick leave was due to work-related conditions. Positive predictors of long-term sick leave were multiparity, pre-pregnancy low back pain and mental disease, while an advanced degree education was a negative predictor.
CONCLUSIONS: The prevalence of sick leave was 56% in the first 32 weeks of gestation and more than one in four women reported long-term sick leave. The majority of reasons for sick leave were pregnancy-related and low back pain was the most frequently given reason.