Women are working later into their pregnancies and taking shorter maternity leaves, according to a report by the US Census Bureau Monday. The report (see PDF) analyzed data on maternity leave and employment patterns of pregnant women since the 1960s. It found that 67.2 percent of women in 2000 worked during their pregnancies, as compared to 44.4 percent in 1961. Additionally, fewer women quit their jobs after giving birth than in the 1960s.
The study finds many of the changes are due to changes in age and higher education levels of women having children. Of the women who worked during pregnancy, 80 percent were over the age of 30 and 83.5 percent had a bachelor’s degree or higher. The study attributes the increase in pregnant working women to families needing to have two incomes and better child care systems. However, the study finds that 42.5 percent of women still have to go on unpaid leave after giving birth, in comparison with the 34 percent who go on paid leave.