In today’s society women are able to show that can do it all, from motherhood to running Fortune 500 companies. However, a new study is cautioning new mothers to fight the urge to return back to work too soon.
Researchers at the Queensland University of Technology found that after 4 months of giving birth 50% of women in their study were still excessively sleepy. 33 healthy new mothers were followed as they had their sleep patterns recorded in during weeks 6, 12, and 18 in 15 minute increments after giving birth.
Although the total average sleep time for the new Australian mothers was about 7 hours and 20 minutes, the mothers woke up about 2 times during the night to tend to their new babies, demonstrating just how important sleep quality truly is. Since the number of times each new mother woke up in the middle of the night was consistent at 18 weeks after birth, many of them felt the effects with daytime sleepiness.
The study is aiming to bring attention to the 18 weeks of government paid parental leave that is given to new moms in Australia and asking women to really assess how they feel before getting back to work. Is 18 weeks enough time?
“It is important when developing regulations for parental leave entitlements that policy makers take into account the high prevalence of excessive daytime sleepiness experienced by new mothers,” says Dr. Ashleigh Filtness, the lead of the study, “With the birth of every baby the new mother must adjust to the demands of parenting and one aspect of that is to remain functional while experiencing potentially severe sleep disruption.”
If you are a new mom, don’t be afraid to bring up sleep with your doctor, especially if you find that you are impaired during the day. What do you think of these findings from across the sea? When is the right time to for mothers to return to work?