Recent research may have found a connection between dad’s ability to stay home, following the birth of a baby, and mom’s physical and mental health.

The study, which was released by the National Bureau of Economic Research, looked at the effects of parental leave reform in Sweden. In 2012 Swedish law changed, giving dads the option of taking up to 30 days of paid leave following a baby’s birth.

photo: Kelly Sikkema via Unsplash

So what did the researchers find? Not surprisingly, letting dad stay home (and still get paid!) after a baby’s birth reduced the risks of maternal health issues and helped to improve mental health.

Study researchers noted that mothers were 11 percent less likely to get an antibiotic prescription and 26 percent less likely to need an anti-anxiety prescription in the first half-year following childbirth. That is, when dad was given the flexibility to stay home. And as it turns out, dad didn’t actually need all 30 days to make an impact. The researchers found that the average dad only took a few days of paid leave—but still had a positive impact on mom!

—Erica Loop

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