Women's Health

Working Moms Say They Are Healthier

Working full time seems to boost both mental and physical health for women who are mothers, compared with women who stay at home or work part time.

Women who go back to work soon after having children have more energy and are less likely to be depressed at age 40, according to a recent study.

Photo of woman in an office, smiling

"Work is good for your health, both mentally and physically," says study author Adrianne Frech, Ph.D., at the University of Akron. "It gives women a sense of purpose, self-efficacy, control and autonomy."

Dr. Frech and researchers from Penn State University in Pennsylvania looked at data on 2,540 women who became mothers between 1978 and 1995. They divided the women into several categories: those who worked full time; those who stayed at home or worked part time; and those who dropped in and out of the work force, often not by choice.

Factors affecting health

The study took a number of factors into account that could influence health, such as pre-pregnancy employment, race and ethnicity, marital status, prior health conditions, and the women's age when they had their first child.

Women's choices early in their career had an impact on their health as they grew older, Dr. Frech says.

"If women can make good choices before their first pregnancy, they likely will be better off health-wise later," she says. "Examples of good choices could be delaying your first birth until you're married and done with your education, or not waiting a long time before returning to the workforce."

Many reasons

Full-time work may benefit mothers for a number of reasons. Full-time workers usually make more money, have more opportunities for promotion, increased job security and more employment benefits than women who work part time. Stay-at-home moms may be financially dependent and at higher risk of social isolation than working mothers.

The study results were presented at the annual meeting of the American Sociological Association.

Always talk with your health care provider to find out more information.

Online Resources

(Our Organization is not responsible for the content of Internet sites.)

American Academy of Pediatrics - Working Mothers

American Academy of Pediatrics - Working Parents

October 2012

Lowering Your Job Stress

When you're juggling responsibilities at work and home, it's important to organize your workday to keep stress under control. Here are some tips:

  • Do your hardest job first. Tackle the thing you have been putting off the most, then the rest of the day will be a breeze because you have already finished your hardest job. In addition, you'll be less stressed because it won't be on your mind.

  • Don't interrupt yourself. Finish the task you're doing, and then take your break. If you take a break during the task, you'll interrupt your concentration.

  • Set up a good filing system. Filing is tedious, and most people would rather spend their time doing something more interesting. A good filing system, however, will free up your time and lower your stress.

  • Set up a tickler system. This is a reminder system for you to take action. Many people do this by the month and day. You can also do it by the task - such as phone calls to make or emails to write.

  • Capture your thoughts. Carry a notepad or use your smartphone to write down or record your ideas when you think of them. Often you'll think of something creative about a project when you're not working on it.

  • Prep for tomorrow. During the last 10 minutes of each day, create your to-do list for the next day. Then you'll know exactly what you're going to do when you get to work. This will make you more productive as soon as you get there in the morning. Then, clean off your desk.

Always talk with your health care provider to find out more information.

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