San Francisco Is the First American City with Full Maternity Leave

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Our Saturday green news brings you the latest on health, parenting and cool baby and kid products:

Pregnancy, Caesarean section, maternity leave

Photo courtesy of Thomas van Ardenne via Flickr

  • San Francisco is the first American city with full maternity leave: Although fully paid maternity leave (or paternity) is a standard in many European and other developed countries, the United States has been lacking behind. This has a negative impact not only on new mothers but on their children as well. The good new is, that San Francisco has broken this bad standard and has become the first American city to mandate that employers now offer fully paid maternity leave. Many activists hope this progressive new law will lay foundation for other policies across the country. California is one of only five US states that offer some form of an official paid maternity leave program. Starting in 2017, San Francisco’s law will complement state law, mandating that employers with 50 or more workers provide the remaining 45% of employees’ wages for a six-week leave. The law will in phases extend to businesses with 20 or more employees. Read more about other states.
  • Longer labor might have its health benefits: According to a new study from Thomas Jefferson University recently published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, longer labor times may benefit both mom and baby by lowering the risk of a Caesarean section. The research involved 78 first-time moms in an effort to challenge current American laboring standards with high rate of C-sections (approx. 30%). Researchers randomly separated women into two groups, where group A was allowed for at least one extra hour of active labor and group B strictly followed current labor guidelines. In both groups, 100 % of the participants received epidurals and 50 % were medically induced. The results showed that out of women in the first group who were allowed longer labor, only 19.5 % underwent a C-section compared to 43 % in the second group. The researchers also noted that there were no negative outcomes for either mom or baby when mom was allowed to labor one additional hour. As Dr. Alexis C. Gimovsky, lead author of the study, explained: “A majority of women are highly motivated to have a vaginal delivery. Changing the guidelines may help many women achieve that goal.” Recent research has found that C-section may increase baby’s risk of autism.
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