Why new mums shouldn’t rush back to work

NZ Herald 5 August 2014
Many new mothers suffer from extreme tiredness even four months after giving birth, prompting experts to warn they should not hurry back to work.

An Australian study found half of new mothers were still ‘excessively sleepy’ 18 weeks into motherhood.

The findings have ‘significant implications’ for decisions-makers about the length of maternity leave, the researchers said.

Dr Ashleigh Filtness, of Queensland University of Technology, studied the sleep patterns and tiredness in women after giving birth.

She found that despite new mothers recording stable night sleep times at 18 weeks, they continued to report being excessively tired.

The study, published in the journal PLOS ONE, followed 33 healthy new Australian mums who recorded their sleep patterns after giving birth in 15 minute increments during weeks six, 12 and 18.

Dr Filtness said: “Sleep disruption strongly influences daytime function, with sleepiness recognised as a risk-factor for people performing critical and dangerous tasks.”