New York – A study, published in the journal Harvard Review of Psychiatry, shows paid maternity leave has long-term health benefits such as increasing likelihood of breast feeding initiation and duration among mothers who choose to breast feed. Researcher Christina Mangurian from the University of California – San Francisco, said: “Available data now also shows that paid maternity leave is good for the physical and mental health of mothers and their children. So, now we know it’s not just good for business, it’s also good for the health of working families.” Researchers analyzed national and international data on the effects of paid maternity leave on health of mothers and children. Focusing on 26 experimental or quasi-experimental studies, it showed benefits in several areas. It was observed paid maternity leave was linked to significantly lower rates of postpartum maternal depression, a common disorder with serious repercussions for both the mother and child, reduced psychological distress, improved mood, and sharp reduction in risk of intimate partner violence. Maternity leave also had positive effects on infant mental health and development including reducing the risk of postpartum depression and its inherent adverse effects on maternal-infant bonding. The duration of maternity leave has also been linked to the quality of mother-child interactions, which affects the development of attachment, empathy, and later academic performance in the child.