Home Health Parents News Now More Moms Shortening Maternity Leaves More Moms Shortening Maternity Leaves By Holly Lebowitz Rossi September 30, 2013 Advertisement Save Pin FB More Tweet Email Send Text Message Print shutterstock_129564326 30550 About two-thirds of U.S. women are employed during pregnancy and about 70 percent of them report taking some time off, according to most recent figures from the National Center for Health Statistics. The average maternity leave in the U.S. is about 10 weeks, but about half of new moms took at least five weeks, with about a quarter taking nine weeks or more, figures showed. But a closer look shows that 16 percent of new moms took only one to four weeks away from work after the birth of a child -- and 33 percent took no formal time off at all, returning to job duty almost immediately. That means more women are coping with pregnancy-weary bodies, the demands of a newborn and the demands of a boss -- all before the "Welcome, Baby" flowers have wilted on the bedside table. Research has shown that shorter leaves can interfere with recommended breastfeeding duration and may contribute to higher rates of depression among new moms. Image: Working mom, via Shutterstock By Holly Lebowitz Rossi Save Pin FB More Tweet Email Send Text Message Print Comments Add a Comment Be the first to comment! No comments yet. Advertisement Close this dialog window Add a comment More Moms Shortening Maternity Leaves Add your comment... Cancel Submit Success! Thanks for adding your feedback.