Pregnant women are allowed sick leave (SL) due to obstetrical or occupational risk factors. The aim was to describe reasons for SL during pregnancy. Pregnant women in a Danish county applying for SL were consecutively included in the study during 12 months in 1991-92. Data were obtained by questionnaires mailed to the women and their medical doctors. Of 1483 pregnant women on SL, 994 participated. Approximately 96% were on SL due to obstetrical risk factors. Occupational factors contributed to SL in at least 50% of the cases, mainly when working in a standing or walking position or when lifting. The women were rarely replaced in other jobs before leaving work. On average the women were absent for 83 days before official pregnancy leave started. Although SL during pregnancy is overwhelmingly due to obstetrical risk factors, occupational factors often contribute. Occupational Health and Safety Organizations are rarely involved at the workplace before issuing a sick leave certificate.
Ugeskrift for Laeger, 1999, Vol 161, Issue 36, p. 5009-5013