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"Women take two months off sick due to tiredness in pregnancy" OR....

(22 Posts)
TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 07-Nov-12 11:43:43

The article talks about this as a fact without any qualification until near the end as to its being a Norwegian study, where Norway has different sick leave rules.
Pregnant women take two months sick leave on average, a study shows, with three quarters needing time off for tiredness.

Researchers are calling for more flexible working arrangements to stop women becoming ill. They say expectant mothers ? who may want to save maternity leave until their child is born ? would take fewer sick days if employers showed them more consideration.

'Women suffering from work-related fatigue such as insomnia are likely to require more time off, especially in late pregnancy,? said Dr Signe Dorheim.
?Further research is needed to look at how treatment of certain conditions and work adjustments can lead to less time being taken off, and a better quality of life for pregnant women.?

Most women needed sick days even if their pregnancy was smooth, the study at Norway?s Stavanger University Hospital found.

Nausea saw 32 per cent take leave while 23 per cent were off with pelvic pain. The 60 per cent of women whose work arrangements had been adjusted had seven fewer sick days on average than people who carried on as before.

Pregnancy absence rates may differ elsewhere as sick pay entitlement in Norway is good, according to the International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, which published the study.

A more measured source:

where we see that:

Researchers gathered information via a questionnaire conducted at week 17 and week 32 from a total of 2,918 women, of which 2,197 (or just over 75%) received sick leave at some point during their pregnancy.


Overall 35% of women sited fatigue and sleep problems as the main reason for taking sick leave, followed closely by pelvic girdle pain (pain caused by limited mobility and functioning of the pelvis joints) and nausea or vomiting, with 32% and 23% of women suffering these symptoms respectively.

i.e. 35% of the 75% cited fatigue and sleep problems (which sound a bit more serious than 'tiredness') as the main reason for taking sick leave. Bit different from the "Women take two months off sick due to tiredness in pregnancy" headline, hmmm?

It really annoyed me that the tone of the Metro article implied that most pregnant women in the UK were taking two months off for being tired when in fact this is about Norway, a country with 100% sick pay for 52 weeks, paid for by the state after day 16.

Additonally there is absolutely nothing in the abstract that implies that eight weeks for tiredness alone was common.

Finally, as a quick sense check, of 2197 women, if 400 have their full pregnancy off sick and 1797 have one week off sick, the mean is 8.1 weeks. The mean might or might not be the average used, but without more information about how the calculations were done, again "Women take two months off sick due to tiredness in pregnancy" is frickin' meaningless.

Sorry it's so long but angry

TunipTheHollowVegemalLantern Wed 07-Nov-12 20:38:14

Well, you know, we are women therefore we must be hated. It's the job of the media.

If women are being signed off for tiredness at all in this country, they must have better GPs than I had. I was severely sleep-deprived at the end of one pg to the extent where I literally could not remember my older dd's name. (An old lady asked me once at a bus stop and I actually couldn't remember, let alone stuff like the day of the week.) It was impossible to do my highly intellectually demanding job. I tried to explain this to the GP but she wrote 'stress' on the sicknote hmm I wasn't fucking stressed, I just hadn't had as much as an hour's sleep in a row for several weeks and this is well known to be more than a bit hard to cope with. I wondered if there was a culture of not accepting lack of sleep as an acceptable excuse so she wrote stress because she knew the employer wouldn't query it.

The attitude in Norway makes me so wistful!

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Wed 07-Nov-12 22:32:16

DH pointed the metro headline out to me and said "well, that's clearly bollocks, isn't it?" luckily he has more than one brain cell but I bet there are people reading it thinking "oh, her in accounts is pregnant, bet that means she'll be having a lazy time on the sick"

Tunip that sounds like a terrifying level of exhaustion, poor you sad.

YoullScreamAboutItOneDay Wed 07-Nov-12 22:39:35

I have worked through two pregnancies. Are you telling me I have missed out on four months of sick leave? Damn it.

What a ridiculous, women hating article.

namechangeguy Thu 08-Nov-12 09:08:32

Norway can afford such reasonable treatment of people because it has a relatively high tax level. People in the UK want lower tax AND comprehensive benefits. It is not possible, so until we get our head out of our arses and allow politicians to be voted in on policies that raise taxes and/or adjust spending as required, you will not be treated like this in the UK.

Oh, and I have just done a quick poll in the office. It is true - we all hate women, every single one of us. Absolutely hate them confused

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 08-Nov-12 09:21:19

NCG the article was described as woman hating, not you and your colleagues.

For me, it's very lazy journalism with a misleading headline and writing style that's prejudicial towards women. Since the Metro is part of the Daily Mail group, no big surprise.

namechangeguy Thu 08-Nov-12 11:22:31

I did get that, Doctrine, but really? Hating? I agree that is is lazy journalism, so typical and so prevalent within UK media at present. However, even if it tries to imply that women are bunking off work for a bit, that is hardly hatred. Kristallnacht and the Holocaust were hatred.

This concept that women are hated is so prevalent within feminism that it reduces the power of the word to something almost meaningless. It's misuse is as lazy as the Metro journalism. However, if anybody truly believes that this is an example of hate speech, they should take the Metro to court, as incitement to hatred based on prejudice is illegal in the UK.

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 08-Nov-12 11:33:03

NCG, i do see your point, what word would you suggest?

moonbells Thu 08-Nov-12 11:35:30

I did have about 6 weeks off, thanks to being sick every time I tried to move. Hyperemesis is crap. Doesn't really help you drive to work and do your job especially when you're stuck in hospital on a drip and having to have your wee volume measured. Very undignified.

In the UK they don't give you the most effective drug for HE - still afraid of Thalidomide, even though the effective drug is used a lot in the US and no side effects have been noted. So we have to suffer the sickness instead. And then get bad-mouthed by this kind of study for daring to be ill!

Makes me angry.

namechangeguy Thu 08-Nov-12 11:43:41

Doctrine, I don't know if there is a single word, as it depends on circumstances. In this instance, 'wrong' would do grin. It is also a very misleading article.

The general state of journalism in the UK makes me very angry. A free press is one of the most precious commodities that a state can have, and yet so much of our media is happy to peddle half-truths, twisted facts and utter drivel. X factor, Nadine Dorries topless on a beach, soap opera actors and actresses. It is pretty depressing.

Einsty Thu 08-Nov-12 12:09:29

NCG, maybe it is sloppy journalism, maybe it is under-resourced journalism, but when poor reporting is such that it encourages the undermining of women for false reasons then I think it is fair to call it women hating. It is increasingly prevalent. Why should we meekly accept it? Oh, and I say that as a former journalist

Einsty Thu 08-Nov-12 12:13:15

Slight x-post there... In any case, I am thoroughly tired of this insidious shite - and encourage everyone to name when they see it...

namechangeguy Thu 08-Nov-12 12:15:11

Fair enough, Einsty. We have different understanding of the word 'hate'.

YoullScreamAboutItOneDay Thu 08-Nov-12 12:35:50

My intention when I said hating was what Einsty said. I don't think wrong quite conveys it in this situation. Yes, it is wrong . But it is more than that. It is about a style of journalism which implies women are flaky and unreliable. Especially in the workplace. And those articles are part of the reason you hear small employers anonymously saying that they don't employ women.

I feel that, if not hatred, it is certainly an anti women agenda. Interestingly, the language used today on reports regarding (mostly male) reservists was rather different.

Cherrypieplum Thu 08-Nov-12 12:36:50

I was relatively lucky but worked through insomnia, sickness and pelvic pain. I was in work on the Friday and had the baby in the Sunday. Obviously missed out on my two months of lounging!!

The problem is the people who take the piss. For every person who genuinely needs the time, there are others who run to their gp for a sick note for the slightest twinge.

TunipTheHollowVegemalLantern Thu 08-Nov-12 12:52:01

People often don't appreciate how severe someone else's apparently minor problem is, though, and think they're milking it when they're really not. I don't know anyone who didn't do their level best to keep going and not let colleagues down when pregnant, but I know several people who were bitched about by people who made all kinds of unkind assumptions. You may well be correct that there are a few people out there who take the piss but I absolutely don't believe that there are anything like as many women who do that as the ones who do their best. Not where I worked, anyway.

TunipTheHollowVegemalLantern Thu 08-Nov-12 12:58:06

Can you tell I'm a little bit oversensitive about this? wink

TheDoctrineOfSnatch Thu 08-Nov-12 13:41:59

Tunip, exactly.

I think this kind of article is pernicious (just as I think articles about other subjects e.g. benefit fraud can be). It's similar to the percentage of newspaper reports of false rape claims being considerably more than the police's estimates for the percentage of false claims (someone put some numbers on a thread once). It creates a misleading impression, not perhaps one article on its own but the constant 'theme' of such articles.

Anniegetyourgun Thu 08-Nov-12 13:46:02

I think it's fair to say that if a woman is inclined to use pregnancy as an excuse to swing the lead, she'd already have been showing signs of excessive delicacy before becoming pregnant. If she's always been a hard working, reliable employee, she's not just suddenly going to turn flaky. If she's uncharacteristically taking a lot of sick leave the employer can be pretty certain she is actually having a bad time of it.

AbigailAdams Thu 08-Nov-12 14:58:33

I am with Tunip. It is more misogynistic bullshit.

notcitrus Thu 08-Nov-12 16:08:32

It"s wilfully misleading. There's never articles which praise women for how often they work through pain that any doctor would sign them off for.

I'm one of 'those women', signed off for 6 months in the end with what was basically tiredness, but I was too exhausted to sit up at a computer for 5 minutes, let alone comprehend complex stuff, decode a voice on the phone, or anything else. The second half of 2011 didn't happen as far as I remember.

I'll be going back to work shortly and know my good reputation will have been superseded by one of 'always off sick'...

avenueone Thu 08-Nov-12 20:52:05

What gets me is that pregnancy and child birth plus the first few months plus are seen by the outside world as just something women should just get on with. The realities of what some women have to go through is such a massive issue for me. Being labelled as `tiered' or `stressed' makes my blood boil whether in Norway or the UK.
More education needs to be put out there about just what some women have to go through. And whilst some pregnancies may be problem free, those women that do suffer from SPD, sleep problems and/or sickness, fatigue etc. should not to be viewed as lesser mortals.
I didn't suffer any sickness but went from someone requiring very little sleep to someone that could not stay awake. It was a nightmare (in the first 16 weeks) and even with a DS who is now 7 some of the younger girls who I work with have no idea what lies ahead and still is required as a mother and imo this fact that women should just get on with it attitude still drives me mad. When I talk realistically they think I am scare mongering.

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