Would you like to be a member of our research panel? Join here - there's (nearly) always a great incentive offered for your views.

Maternity leave?

(32 Posts)
ExhaustedMamasita Mon 20-May-13 13:49:25

Wondering if someone had any advice on when’s best to start maternity leave – 1/2/3 weeks or a month before baby’s due date?? This is my first baby and hoping I can go on all the way up until end of August with baby due very beginning of September. I work in an office job, 9-6pm, 5 days a week and travel an hour each way via London’s tube network. I’ve told my boss I plan for my last day to be the same week as baby due date but some friends have said I’m crazy to leave it so long. Maybe I should start mat leave earlier? Maybe I will be too big/ too tired to work? The commute daunts me the most to be honest!

What did you do or are planning to do? Your advice/ suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

MrsBri Mon 20-May-13 13:54:19

Do you not have any annual leave you can take beforehand?

I couldn't have worked that long, especially with a 90 minute commute each way, which I was doing.

I had a fainting episode on the train at the beginning of April and ended up working from home from that point until I finished on 3rd May. I've taken just over 4 weeks' leave and my mat leave starts on 4th June when I'll be 37+5.

Good on you if you can work that long though. I envy you your stamina!

janey1234 Mon 20-May-13 13:58:00

I'm finishing at 36 weeks, purely because of the commute on the tube. The work is OK once I'm here (so if I lived around the corner think I would work until 39 weeks!) but it's getting here! One thing that might make you finish earlier is the commute in the heat - you'll be at your biggest when it's hottest. I have to say I've found the tube journey (and hour each way) more unbearable on the thankfully few warm days we've had (am 33 weeks now).

Having said all that I did have a colleague who worked until her due date so it can be done. I just feel like I'm reaching the end now commute-wise.....

Toowittoowoo Mon 20-May-13 14:29:57

In my last PG my employer told me I had to start my maternity leave 2 weeks before the due date. That was fine but I was working from home so I could be quite flexible with my hours.

As far as I know you can start your maternity leave at any point earlier than the date you have given if you need to but you can't carry on working after the date you have given.

In this PG I think I will start maternity leave 3 weeks before as I'm only workinh 3 days a week but driving a fair distance and have nursery drop off etc to deal with. I'm reluctant to say I want to start it earlier as I might feel fine and I'll be wasting valuable time afterwards. It is very tricky!

BentleyBelly Mon 20-May-13 14:47:41

My baby is due on 28th Aug and I have told my employer that my first day of mat leave will be 12th Aug (so will be 37+4 on that day). If I am really struggling before then I will go earlier, I don't know how I will be coping. I work in a lab and can spend quite a bit of the day on my feet so we will see.

islingtongirl Mon 20-May-13 15:03:23

I'm starting about 34/35 weeks, I've got a few weeks holiday to take first hence so early. I considered working nearer my due date but after my friend went into early labour and had various complications, which she blamed partly on being so stressed at work, I thought I may as well stick to my plan. Interestingly the docs at the hospital told my friend they believe the reason they are seeing so many women going weeks overdue and having complications is due to women working right up to their due date, adrenaline etc to keep going and not having enough time to relax and let the natural pregnancy hormones do their work. How much this is true I don't know but it does make sense to me. Ultimately though it is a personal choice and I know a lot also depends on finances. I'm due around the same time as you, 24th aug and may well be September!

Repeatedlydoingthetwist Mon 20-May-13 15:51:00

I'm starting mine on my due date but taking 4 weeks AL beforehand. I originally wanted to last until 3 weeks before but the last couple of weeks have been a real struggle for me so I've brought it forward. I walk to work, and once I'm there I'm sat for most of the day, can walk around when I like etc but for me it's the whole thing of having to get up/dressed, walk there, and then spend all day sitting at a desk, my employers have been great, got a fan, special chair etc but I'm just exhausted!!!

cupcake78 Mon 20-May-13 15:54:10

I'm starting at 37 weeks but have actually only one day this week at work then half term off. I'm 35 weeks. After 30 weeks things become very tiring for most people. Give yourself time before the baby comes and remember it can come at any time from 37 weeks onwards.

Lj8893 Mon 20-May-13 16:03:38

I'm leaving at 32 weeks but I work in retail so am on my feet all day and up and down steep stairs. If I worked in an office I would leave alot later, but I personally would still want some time to myself before the baby is here.

Like at least a couple weeks calm before the storm!

ExhaustedMamasita Mon 20-May-13 16:34:05

Thanks ladies – wow! Think I need to have a good rethink of my mat leave dates. For some silly reason, I hadn’t considered how exhausted I’d be late into my pregnancy, never mind the daily commute – foolish!

Meringue33 Mon 20-May-13 16:41:04

I had my first baby at 37+2!

So glad I had some annual leave to take so had finished up three weeks beforehand. As it was it was tiring, handing over properly was a big job.

And then all the preparations - the nursery wasn't ready because I foolishly thought with my first I'd probably go a few weeks overdue and had plenty of time. We spent most of DP's paternity leave doing silly things like going to Ikea when we should have been enjoying our newborn.

Definitely suggest finishing up early - you can enjoy August snoozing in the shade, swimming at lido, doing yoga and deep breathing exercises. Oh and get that hospital bag packed!

FortyFacedFuckers Mon 20-May-13 16:51:06

I worked until 39 weeks as I wanted it to keep as much time as I could for the other side and I was convinced DS would be late.

With DD1 I went on mat leave 4 weeks before my due date, and she was nearly 2 weeks late, so I spent 6 weeks being bored out of my mind!

This time round I am hoping to start my mat leave on my due date, but will have 2-3 weeks annual leave booked off before that. I currently have a 60-90 minute commute each way on buses, including nursery pick up/drop off, so I didn't want to risk pushing it too close to my date. On the plus side, I work walking distance from my maternity ward, so if I do go into labour at work I'll be fine. grin

If my commute were shorter, I'd probably try pushing it even closer, I'd rather have the time at the other end. All that said, I am part time, so I would probably feel differently if I didn't have days off.

Snowflakepie Mon 20-May-13 18:20:41

Things get much harder after 30 weeks, from my experience. Depending on your job, how crowded your travel is, and how flexible your work can be, I wouldn't plan anything vital at work beyond 36 weeks at most. I'm now 36 weeks with DC2 and just the 10 minute walk to preschool and home again is hard, baby has dropped into my pelvis so I can't stand for long and waddle rather than walk. I get out of breath very easily. I am hot and grumpy much of the time and my feet and ankles are seriously swollen, not anything serious just the way it goes in late pg. I haven't gained a lot of weight and was a size 10 pre-pg so it's not that either. Please be sensible, a healthy pregnancy means you will be able to enjoy your baby from day 1 rather than pushing it too far and then the extra time you might have had after just gets sucked into recovery. Unless you are in a financial situation that leaves you with no option, I would try to use annual leave at the very least, around this time. If you can reduce hours or work from home that gives more options.

Interesting about the possible link to going overdue btw. I know so many people who were dealing with something stressful and then as soon as the stress was removed, had their baby. Hormones are funny things.

YBR Mon 20-May-13 18:50:30

OP - do you have any Leave to take? Last time I worked shorter days towards the end and/or took Fridays off to shorten the working week.
I think 9-6 plus your commute is going to be tough for you. Depending on your job and your boss you might be able to set up a combination of working from home and shorter hours.
Keep in mind that you can always stop work earlier if need be.

MrsRoss26 Mon 20-May-13 19:22:09

I'm taking 3 weeks annual leave before my mat leave starts, but with that I'll be stopping work at 35wks. I'm at 30+5 and I'm knackered already! Increasingly struggling at wotk, and I've had an 'easy' pregnancy. Don't under estimate how tired you may get, and as others have said, leave enough time to prep for baby and relax smile

ENSMUM Mon 20-May-13 19:26:05

I finished work 4 weeks before die date with both DC, using up annual leave before officially starting mat leave. felt about right, although I didn't go over due with either and imagine if I did I would have been getting pretty fed up!

Would not like to be doing that commute so close to D Day!

Alanna1 Mon 20-May-13 19:37:01

I'm self employed so had a strong incentive to keep going for as long as I could. By 38 weeks I had had enough.

craftycottontail Mon 20-May-13 20:13:34

I've had the most trouble free pregnancy ever and have felt pretty fit throughout, but I was glad to leave work at 37 weeks. I did wind down considerably before that too, e.g. not going out for a walk at lunch time as it would wear me out.

I saved up 3 weeks holiday (annual leave) to take from 36 weeks so I could be more flexible. I was feeling okay so ended up staying on an extra week, which leaves me a week's holiday to tag onto the end of my leave. I started maternity leave a week before my due date (tomorrow).

I've spent 2 weeks to myself doing loads of jobs around the house/garden, enjoying some peace and me time (going to town on bus for browse around the shops etc), but this week I'm pretty knackered and can't cope with an hour of strolling round shops! I've had a bit of cabin fever and have had to get DH to drop me off at local shops on his way to work just to get out of the house, as that means I only have to walk back 20 minutes - with a stop on a bench half way!

My GP said rather sweetly that I shouldn't work past 36 weeks as I'd need that time with my DH to enjoy our last few weeks together - don't think that was a medical opinion, just her being nice! But it's true, I've so enjoyed the last few weeks just being able to spend some time together before we become a family.

Stepawayfromthesweeties Mon 20-May-13 20:23:21

I'm in a similar position to you op, I work in an office 9.00am-5.00pm and have 1hr commute which is a mixture of car journey, train and walk. I had planned to work until 38 weeks, but as I got to 34 weeks started to struggle. I've got pgp and even the smallest walk feels like it takes forever and I feel like I'm dragging myself around. Plus this baby is a big un, so feeling I've I'm carrying a bowling ball in my uterus smile. I'm 37 weeks now and finishing tomorrow and I'm so ready for it, already looking forward to having a lie in on Wednesday

iamci Mon 20-May-13 21:57:13

I'm still working (due Friday). tired by the end of the day but otherwise feel fine. so busy trying to get everything sorted at work keep almost forgetting I'm pregnant! wanted to work up to due date so that I could have more time off after birth. hoping little one is slightly late - haven't got round to 'nesting' yet and house is a tip!

CitizenOscar Mon 20-May-13 22:46:44

Pros and cons either way but I do think people underestimate how tiring late pregnancy can be. Maternity leave isn't just about time with baby, it's also making sure you're ok and healthy during late pregnancy.

I'm about to stop at 34 weeks, using annual leave for 3 weeks or so. If I didn't have a family holiday booked next week I'd probably have worked a week or two longer but no more than that. I am looking forward to resting, spending time with DH and DS1, getting stuff prepared, and sleeping!

In my job it's also really important to have a planned and managed handover etc so I would prefer to plan an earlyish leave date and manage everything properly, than a late one and have to leave in a hurry or without finishing properly (like a colleague who was sent home looking peaky & promptly gave birth that night).

But there's not really a right/wrong answer.

PurplePoppySeed Mon 20-May-13 23:17:23

I'm in the sane situation, 60-90min commute into London, which includes driving to station, train to Waterloo and tube to client site, if I'm in the office it's about 5 mins walk from Waterloo with no tube. I'm due mid sept have said I will finish on the 6th but will be using holiday to wind down to short weeks from mid Aug and have asked to be off client from then too so it would be easy to leave earlier without feeling I'm letting anyone down. Still not sure if it'll work but we'll see!

Christelle2207 Tue 21-May-13 08:16:38

if you have bad commute you may well struggle. i'm 29 weeks now and struggling to see how i can get to 38- back pain and pgp really set in these last few weeks!i can work from home if i need to though.
having said that my boss actually said better to carry on as long as possible (as we only get stat pay) and just get signed off if not coping! may well do that! as yiu get bigger even if you' re doing well you will look forward to having some me time before baby comes- which could be early remember!

Christelle2207 Tue 21-May-13 08:22:07

btw i used to do a tube commute- i am hot pretty much all of the time and the idea of doing tube every day till near the end -in august- i definitely could not do.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now