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Opinions on when to take maternity leave?!

(40 Posts)
Lj8893 Thu 09-May-13 17:03:26

Hi all,

I work in retail and am on my feet all day and up and down stairs. I'm only 15 weeks and already got a bump so I anticipate being huge later on!!

I'm not planning on returning to work after my maternity leave so not too worried about not havin enough time after the birth with the baby, however I don't want to go on maternity leave too early as I will get bored quickly!! But will enjoy having some time to myself before the madness starts!

When seems sensible to begin my maternity leave?

RJM17 Thu 09-May-13 17:07:55

Hey LJ
I am the same and can't decide!! I work in a school so on the go with little ones all day (currently in the pre-school) so I am unsure when to finish. I am only 13 weeks and have quite a defined bump already so expecting to look like a weeble by the end lol.
I am due November so thinking of finishing mid October to give me about 3-4 weeks before baby comes as I have been told there is a good chance I will go early so could only end up with two weeks x

TinkyPeet Thu 09-May-13 17:19:21

I'm absolutely huge so I have left now (30 weeks)
I work in a bar so I'm on my feet, up n down to cellar, high and low shelves, all the cleaning, sometimes vacuuming etc so it's just too much for me now x

Lj8893 Thu 09-May-13 17:19:48

I'm thinking about giving myself 6 weeks before my due date which should give me plenty of time to relax and get everything ready and not have to panic.

Being on my feet all day is already killing me and that's only at 15 weeks so i don't really want to work too late in pregnancy! I'm already waddling apparently according to dp!

megarobotdiscoparty Thu 09-May-13 17:28:39

I finished at 36 weeks - that was a desk job. I probably would have stayed longer if I'd enjoyed the work more, but it was not an especially nice place and I was looking for an excuse to get out!

Turned out I found work a struggle from about 34 weeks - horrific tiredness being one factor (turned out I had low iron), but I was also surprised by how much my brain stopped working blush. I'm normally pretty good at tough deadlines and multitasking, but my powers started to fail as soon as I hit 30 weeks. I was verging on useless by the time I left....

I have had 3 weeks of mat leave so far and not a single sign of being bored! In fact I'm starting to wonder how I ever fit a job into my day (and how on earth I'm going to fit a baby in)

I think it's so different for everyone though, I have friends who would be tearing their hair out by now. Don't discount the mental tiredness as well as the physical though - I imagine the two things together would be tough.

DorsetLass Thu 09-May-13 17:32:14

I have quite a physical job and managed to 32 weeks both times - and was more than glad to stop. No two arrived four weeks early so dry glad I had finished early! The time you have at home before no 1 arrives is really special - if you can afford it take as long as you can and enjoy the calm before the storm (lovely storm that is!)

Lj8893 Thu 09-May-13 17:35:56

Dorsetlass (I'm a dorset lass too!!) and megarobot I think you have both made me think that perhaps i should leave at 32 weeks rather than 34.

Thankyou smile

eltsihT Thu 09-May-13 17:54:49

I just finished work at 39wks. Not returning to the same job. i am a teacher and wanted to see pupils up to exam leave. however i stopped at 35 wks with my first, had planned to work to 38wks, but stopped early as i found it too hard going.

Remember you can give work a date you are stopping, but can stop before then without a problem. Just not after that date.

FoofFighter Thu 09-May-13 17:56:47

I have just been made redundant hmm but up until yesterday the plan was for 32 weeks, I do a very physical job and was already struggling at 26w.

ButteryJam Thu 09-May-13 21:37:28

I left at 32 weeks, and very glad I did.

YBR Thu 09-May-13 21:39:50

With DD1 I planned to go to 38 weeks by cutting down my daily hours using annual leave. She had other plans and was born at 36 weeks.
For DC2 I'm planning to take Mat leave from 36 weeks, and use annual leave to work shorter hours the last 3 weeks.
Office-based job and with annual leave allocated in hours (so I can shorten each day by 2 hours if I want).

MortifiedAdams Thu 09-May-13 21:44:11

If you arent planning on going back, go as soon as you are entitled. I took two weeks before EDD (desk job no commute), amd she arrived two days late. I was hoping she would be later!

Now.planning no.2 and I wont ever truly.have that time again as I have toddler dd around.

Steffanoid Thu 09-May-13 21:46:13

I finished at 33 weeks, I work in a busy call centre with shouty customers I worked out when I wanted to go back and added my leave at the beginning, im glad I did cause I have painful pgp and a little boy who has decided to 'grow exponentially' to use dps wordshmm

HadALittleFaithBaby Fri 10-May-13 03:23:46

I worked til 35+3, I'm a nurse. At the end I wish is finished sooner! I found it impossible to bend to put patients' shoes and socks on! I'd go off at 34 weeks if I had another.

Emmaw9 Fri 10-May-13 11:32:05

I work in retail too, was originally going to leave at 37 weeks but due to a long wait to move house (we moved when I was 33 weeks) I left at 35.
Glad I did, he came at 37 weeks!
Definetly did me well to keep going and carry on working.
Retail is hard but you need to do what's best for yourself and baby

upanddown83 Sat 11-May-13 11:11:56

I'm an auxiliary nurse and I finished at 33wks took 3weeks hols then started my maternity leave and am so glad I did! I was doing 12/13hr shifts and was so tired sore and grumpy I was happy to leave I'm 38+6 at min and although some days are longer than others I've had plenty if rest time to sort out baby's room and clothing and make lists of things dp needs to do! wink

Gonnabmummy Sat 11-May-13 12:33:18

I work in an extremely busy hotel and we work 45 hours a week I'm only 24+3 and very busy days eg Saturdays are already killing me we do 9/10 hours a day and you can't sit for any of it, half an hour break and that's it. This last 5 week I'm reducing hours to 25 then taking all hol leave 28 days which equates to around 6 weeks off with days off. So my mat won't start till 35/36 week I'm huge already so think that has big impact you need to do whats best for you and baby smile

Lj8893 Sat 11-May-13 12:53:28

I think I've decided to leave at 32 weeks which should give me 8 weeks before baby is here, which sounds long but I'm already looking around thinking I have soooooo much to do but no time to do it ready for baby so 8 weeks will give me lots of time to do all that and still give myself lots of r&r.
Being on my feet all day is already starting to do me in, my legs and feet are so sore by the end of the day and takes about an hour to stop aching when I get home so I dread to think what that will be like the bigger I get.

Saku Sat 11-May-13 12:57:49

I agree with megarobotdiscoparty.. mine is also desk work.. I am 34 weeks with first DS.. and struggle to concentrate properly.. I also used to be up to date with timelines.. but now it seems small tasks become a big deal.. I have not felt brixton hicks till now.. confused .. dont know it is normal or not.. I am also planning to take leave on 36 week.. fingers crossed hmm

lucybrad Sat 11-May-13 15:46:08

I totally agree. If I had a standing or running about day job then I would quit as early as possible, I cant imagine what me feet and legs would be like working on my feet. Luckily I am desk based so am going off at 34 weeks.

Snowflakepie Sat 11-May-13 18:07:16

With DD I left at 25 weeks, taking 4 weeks holiday then mat leave from 29 weeks. I also was in retail, with no breaks to speak of, no way to reduce hours due to my role and no option to sit down. It was horrendous. I knew I would return to a different role part time after so like you wasn't worried about after. It was a wonderful few months but I love crafting, planning, reading so kept happily busy. This time I finished at 32 weeks, but I only work 2 days a week on a different environment with more options for resting. 6 weeks hols mean leave starts at 38 weeks. If someone would take my toddler away I might actually get a break lol!

My legs swelled something rotten even with support tights and I was left with varicose veins that have become worse again this time, but there's little that can be done about it. Don't let that happen if you possibly can! Retail is a bitch when pg, I would plan early and take all your leave too. Enjoy it!

Twinklestarstwinklestars Sat 11-May-13 18:10:06

I'm 30 weeks and a childminder, was planning to work until 37 weeks but am struggling to keep my eyes open most days lately so think I may finish at the end if may now, I have my own kids too so it's not like I'll get to rest but at least I can ask someone else to have them for an hour if I need to sleep!

ILiveInAPineappleCoveredInSnow Sat 11-May-13 18:19:13

I am planning on working up to October half term, when I will be 38 weeks, then having my section when I am 39 weeks which is the week the kids will go back to school! Hope I can manage that long!

gloti Sat 11-May-13 18:52:00

I'm worrying now that I might be being a bit unrealistic!
I have a desk based job with half hour train commute and flexibility .fo work from home once a week.
I am due 2nd Aug and was planning to work till mid July when I'll be around 38 weeks! Is this a bit tight? x

Portofino Sat 11-May-13 18:58:22

I had an office job and struggled a lot after about 32 weeks, mainly because I was so u comfortable I couldn't sleep.

Excited85 Sat 11-May-13 19:16:28

Gloti, I'm the same office based with an hour drive to work and was planning to leave at 38 weeks as have 2 weeks holiday I can use, then start mat leave at 40 weeks (only get SMP) so would rather use after baby here... Also worrying now that working to 38 weeks might be unrealistic?

bluecarrot Sat 11-May-13 19:23:29

I had planned to leave two weeks before due date but mum persuaded me to leave earlier (I had severe back pain, but other than commute, I was just sitting in an office all day, so I didnt see the problem)

Glad I listened as I went into labour 2 weeks early and I needed the 2 previous weeks to rest and buy the last minute things (I purchased the car seat approx 2 hours before waters broke)

Id say just see how you feel closer to the time tbh.

pegster Sat 11-May-13 19:35:44

It's really difficult to know how you'll be feeling. I have an active job and on my feet a lot with long days (vet). With DS I worked comfortably til 37w then took remaining weeks holiday so started ML at 38w, was actually home alone for 5w as finally induced at 40+12!
This time planning an ELCS at 39w & only working 22h a week so think in theory I could do 37w again but actually it might be nice to have longer than those 2w off with DS before another one turns up?

Giggle78 Sat 11-May-13 20:05:12

I went at 36 weeks with ds1. I remember at the time thinking that I should have gone at 33 weeks as it was from that point on that I found everything got harder.

I didn't take my own advice and am going at 37 weeks this time. Both this time and last time have coincided with my students GCSE and A-level exams. If I make it to 37 weeks them I will see them up to their exam.

However sat here at 35 weeks after last nights performance of four hours of braxton hicks I wish I had finished already.

jammiedonut Sat 11-May-13 20:06:58

I was very optimistic that I'd last til at least 38 weeks . . . boy did I underestimate just how tired and uncomfortable I'd feel by now. Am now 34 weeks and have had to take 1 week off sick and move my maternity leave forward by a week as I was in tears working my last shifts (I'm a very active restaurant manager, still 50 hours a week) and just couldn't cope anymore. My sister worked up til 36 weeks and expected a nice 4 weeks to relax, baby arrived 3 weeks 6 days early! You never can tell, just play it by ear - if you're not coping your body will soon make it known! If you can afford to go early, do so, and enjoy some time to yourself. If you're finding work too difficult legally they are meant to make appropriate adjustments to your working conditions to enable you to work. Of course, my company did and I still pushed myself too hard. . .

IJustWoreMyTrenchcoat Sat 11-May-13 21:01:37

I have put my maternity leave date as my due date, but I am planning on taking 2-3 weeks annual leave before then. First baby so I have no idea how hard it will get towards the end though. My job is quite stressful and full on, but I am getting much better at taking it easy when I need to and not caring about what my manager and supervisors think.

I was meant to be getting made redundant as of Septmber this year, but my pregnancy got in the way of that grin. Knowing when I get back from my year's leave I will have to go through the at-risk process then possibly lose my job I am keen to work as late as possible to keep some money coming in for longer.

Don't know how realistic this is though.

Lj8893 Sat 11-May-13 21:02:32

Thanks all, its been very eye opening to hear everyone's different experiences, thoughts, advice etc.

My work are brilliant, and are so accommodating so I don't have a problem in that aspect. Just that I can't sit down, (I can sneak the odd sit down on the display furniture when there's no customers!!) and my risk assessments have stopped me doing anything too strenuous which is good smile

Sunnysummer Sat 11-May-13 21:08:38

Agree that early is better, if you don't need the cash and aren't going back! I was feeling pretty good even in the 3rd tri, so organised leave for 38 weeks, and planned to spend 2 weeks nesting at home and on cozy date nights with DH...

Of course, DS arrived unexpectedly at 38+1, and now he's a couple of weeks old and I keep looking mournfully at my cupboards and wondering when they'll ever be tidied, and movie ads and wondering when I'll next get to the cinema wink

Simian0 Sat 11-May-13 22:07:53

I worked up until 39 weeks. I had a 1.5hr cross-London commute (each way) and a half mile walk to the station at both ends. I work in an office but am mostly running to and from meetings all day.

I have to say total naivety kept me working that long. As it was my first (born 13 days ago now), I had NO idea how tired I'd feel. I'd say that however much you think now that you'll be fine, plan to definitely have finished up by 38 weeks. You really don't want to be running any risks late in the day for one thing, and considering it'll be dead of winter by the time you're full term you won't want to be dragging yourself out of bed in the dark/cold so treat yourself to plenty of time on the sofa wrapped in a duvet.

Good luck!

SweepTheHalls Sat 11-May-13 23:08:13

49 weeks with no. 1 and 38 weeks with no.2. Both went overdue so I was glad as I think I would have gone mad waiting at home any longer!

SweepTheHalls Sat 11-May-13 23:09:17

bloody phone! 39 weeks!

mikkii Sat 11-May-13 23:23:55

I'm office based. I worked until 38 weeks with DS admitted for induction at 39.5 weeks. I felt fine, but as soon as I stopped working my feet swelled and the brain went.

With DD1 I was hospitalised at 33.5 weeks and baby born at 37.5 but worked from the hospital as I was going nuts. The midwife suggested it after I had a meltdown one evening.

With DD2, I was first admitted at 24 weeks, then 26, 31, 3 times at 33 weeks then kept in, again worked from home/ hospital until DD2 born at 36+1.

I' not really qualified to advise!

FoofFighter Sun 12-May-13 11:49:46

LJ please please bear in mind your employer is legally bound to make adjustments for you to continue working without distress/pain/etc, this can include providing you with a chair!! To not do so they could be breaking the law, have they done a risk assessment on you and have you seen it?

Lj8893 Sun 12-May-13 14:15:34

My work are brilliant, and my manager did my risk assessment with me, in fact she pretty much got me to state everything and she had some input and she filled in the forms.

I can sit down when I need to (there is display furniture) but working in retail, most of what I do involves being on my feet. I can only really sit down when there's no customers or nothing to do. Those that work in retail will understand this.
Thankfully any jobs that I am able to do sitting down are being thrown my way which is great smile

Bunnychan Sun 12-May-13 14:35:33

I've just finished at 38+1:I'm a teacher with a 40 minute drive to work. I've had a good/textbook pregnancy so far. I found this last week a struggle but I'm glad I made it to the end. I think 37 weeks would have been better as I spent the last week worrying about going into labour at work. X

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