U.S. federal policies do not provide a universal social safety net of economic support for women during pregnancy or the immediate postpartum period but assume that employment and/or marriage will protect families from poverty. Yet even mothers with considerable human and marital capital may experience disruptions in employment, earnings, and family socioeconomic status postbirth. We use the National Survey of Families and Households to examine the economic resources that mothers with children ages 2 and younger receive postbirth, including employment, spouses, extended family and social network support, and public assistance. Results show that many new mothers receive resources postbirth. Marriage or postbirth employment does not protect new mothers and their families from poverty, but education, race, and the receipt of economic supports from social networks do.
Nichols, L., Elman, C., & Feltey, K. M. (2006). The Economic Resource Receipt of New Mothers. Journal of Family Issues, 27(9), 1305–1330.