HomeRemote Work91% of new mothers have problems returning to work

91% of new mothers have problems returning to work

As workplaces change, more and more companies are realizing how important it is to offer strong benefits, especially when it comes to family planning and fertility. Carrot, a top benefits provider, recently did a survey showing a complicated picture: even though benefits have improved, 91% of new mothers still have problems returning to work. The poll also shows how big racial differences are in how ready women are for pregnancy and how their experiences are during and after giving birth.to

The demand for family-building support

Family-building and pregnancy benefits are some of the perks that millennial employees want the most. These benefits affect both the hiring process and the retention of millennial employees. In response, employers are putting more money into these perks because they know they can help them get and keep good employees. Companies in many fields, from manufacturing to banking, are using platforms like Carrot to improve the benefits they offer. This is part of a larger trend to put maternal health first.

Preparedness and racial disparities in pregnancy

The survey, which included a diverse demographic of nearly 1,300 women, reveals concerning racial disparities in maternal care:

  • Only about 50% of the women felt prepared for pregnancy, with higher preparedness reported by white and Asian respondents.
  • Over a quarter of Black and Hispanic women felt unprepared for pregnancy.
  • Postpartum preparedness was notably lower, with only 38% feeling ready. This figure drops to 28% among Hispanic women.

These findings highlight the ongoing challenges marginalized groups face, exacerbated by systemic issues within healthcare.

The impact of workplace flexibility

A significant 65% of survey participants reported that inflexible work environments hindered their ability to attend prenatal appointments. The lack of flexibility also affected their mental health and financial capacity to manage care costs. Racial background played a role in these experiences, with Black and Hispanic women facing greater difficulties related to costs and support systems. Moreover, two-thirds of the respondents experienced mental health challenges, with disparities evident in the likelihood of seeking help.

Barriers to returning to work

Despite the desire to return to work expressed by more than half of the women surveyed, nearly all faced considerable challenges:

  • High childcare costs and concerns about career advancement were prominent.
  • Less than half felt their needs were adequately accommodated upon returning, with Black and Hispanic women experiencing greater difficulties.

Effective benefits and their impact

Flexible work arrangements stood out as a highly valued benefit for those returning to the workplace. Other supportive measures, such as counseling and lactation spaces, were also beneficial.

An overwhelming 84% of respondents believed that enhanced benefits from the prenatal stage through the return to work would influence their decision to stay with their employer.

Notably, nine out of ten Carrot members returned to work post-pregnancy, underscoring the effectiveness of comprehensive benefit programs in facilitating this transition.


The survey underscores the need for continued investment in maternal healthcare benefits and more inclusive support systems that address the unique challenges faced by women of different racial backgrounds. As Carrot’s cofounder Asima Ahmad points out, the personal experiences of healthcare professionals and patients alike echo the survey’s findings, advocating for enhanced support that can make a significant difference in the lives of working parents. This holistic approach not only benefits the employees but also serves the employers by fostering a more engaged, productive, and loyal workforce.