Self-employed mothers are calling on the Government to tackle inequality in maternity pay after new research revealed many of them suffer mental health issues by being forced to work soon after giving birth.
A study of over 100 self-employed mothers found that three out of five have suffered from anxiety, stress or depression because of trying to run a business so quickly after giving birth.
Most of those questioned by GP on demand app GPDQ said they would have hired support if they had maternity pay.
A third had quit their jobs, with one in five of those remaining unemployed, said the report.
Dr Kristy Lau, an NHS locum one of the founding GPs behind GPDQ, said: “In the UK, self-employed women continue to receive 90% less maternity pay in the first six weeks than their employed equivalents, an injustice that is taking its toll on the health of the mother and her ability to bond with her new child, as 45% have no choice but to continue to work as soon as the day after giving birth.
“When a new mum takes her newborn to the GP for its routine checks, there is no way a GP can see what’s happening day-to-day for that mum.
“It’s only because we see them at home, that we have been able to see how big this problem is and we think that what we have seen is the tip of the iceberg.
“If new self-employed mums can get maternity pay equal to their employed equivalents, it’s at least one way they can get the support they need to enjoy motherhood and avoid potentially life-threatening issues.”