What is it about?
Although there are laws against pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, discrimination still occurs frequently. Further, we know that discrimination can have real consequences for a pregnant employee’s career outcomes, such as a reduced salary and fewer promotions. However, we know much less about how discrimination might affect the health and well-being of the employee and her baby. To examine this research question, we conducted two separate studies examining the workplace experiences and health outcomes of new mothers and their babies.
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Why is it important?
We found that when women perceived pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, this was associated with increased experienced stress which was subsequently associated with elevated levels of postpartum depression. Thus, perceived pregnancy discrimination led to negative health consequences for the mother. Perhaps just as, or even more alarming, the mother’s experienced stress led to lower birth weights, lower gestational ages, and an increased number of doctors’ visits for the babies a few weeks after birth. The findings from this research suggest that employers may want to provide guidance to help pregnant employees reduce their stress through reduced pregnancy discrimination and enhanced work-family support.
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This page is a summary of: Examining the effects of perceived pregnancy discrimination on mother and baby health., Journal of Applied Psychology, May 2021, American Psychological Association (APA),
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