Maternity Leave Improves Infant Health

Maternity leave improves infant health:  A recent Atlantic Monthly article features research by Broom Associates Maya Rossin-Slater and Jenna Stearns, showing that policies that make it easier for pregnant women to take time off work or scale back their duties improve their babies’ health.  Rossin-Slater’s analysis of the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, which allows women up to 12 weeks of unpaid maternity leave without fear of losing their jobs, shows that the Act reduced the preterm birthrate and raised birth weights. 

Jenna Stearns, a Broom Graduate Associate, found similar results for the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, which led five states to start offering temporary-disability pay to pregnant women.