Sick leave among employed pregnant women

Published: 12-10-2017| Version 1 | DOI: 10.17632/hxg2cbcj9b.1
Mette Backhausen


This data was obtained from a cohort study conducted with a primary focus of low back pain in a population of pregnant women seeking antenatal care at Zealand University Hospital, Denmark during the period from August 2015 to March 2016. The hospital is one of four in Region Zealand providing obstetric services and it serves as primary birth facility with 2700 deliveries annually and covers the central part of Zealand. As part of the standard antenatal care in Denmark, all women are offered an ultrasound scan at 20 weeks of gestation to screen for fetal malformations. In connection with this scan women were approached and participants received two links by email to self-administered electronic questionnaires, the first link after the ultrasound scan at 20 weeks of gestation and the second at 32 weeks of gestation, to be completed at a convenient time within five days. Variables The main outcome was sick leave measured by five items, similar items were previously used among pregnant women. Initially, any sick leave was indicated with a Yes/No answer; it was then specified in four domains whether the sick leave was pregnancy-related, not pregnancy-related, related to the working environment or related to other reasons, using Yes/No answers; multiple answers were allowed. The specific reasons were stated in an open answer within each of the four domains. Finally, the total number of days spent on sick leave was stated for the first 20 weeks of gestation and for the period from the first questionnaire up to 32 weeks of gestation. The specific reasons for sick leave were then categorized. Long-term sick leave (either continuous or intermittent) was defined as days above the median number of days of sick leave in the study population, which was 20 days. Subsequently the days were categorized into no sick leave/short-term sick leave (0-20 days) and long-term sick leave (> 20 days). Maternity leave in Denmark is based on a collective agreement, which allows women to start maternity leave between 32 and 36 completed weeks of gestation; this means that measuring sick leave after 32 weeks would not be relevant for the entire population. Other variables provided in the first questionnaire were maternal characteristics (age, pre-pregnancy weight and height), level of education (Compulsory = 9 years mandatory schooling, Skilled worker = 9 years of mandatory schooling and 3 as a trainee, 1-4 years higher education ≥ 12 years and an advanced degree >15 years), obstetric history (parity and mode of conception), medical history (chronic physical and mental disorders chosen from a predefined list; hypertension, diabetes, lung, heart, metabolic or kidney disease, epilepsy, arthritis, mental disorder or other disease, including pre-pregnancy low back pain)