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How many weeks before due date should I leave work?

(27 Posts)
buttercup123 Mon 13-Sep-10 11:17:39

Does anyone have any idea of a good time to leave work, before due date? I was thinking about two weeks, but is that leaving it too late? I imagine I will have quite a lot to do before the wee one comes along (this is my first), so maybe I should be making it 3 weeks, in case it is one week early?

TotorosOcarina Mon 13-Sep-10 11:19:08

Working uo 38 weeks would be very difficult!

Is this yur first baby?

What kind of work do you do?

buttercup123 Mon 13-Sep-10 11:53:39

Yes, this is my first (so have NO idea what to expect...).

I'm a lawyer, so pretty much desk bound. I'm cycling to work at the minute, but imagine I'm going to need to start catching the (rather busy) train instead soon.

Librashavinganotherbiscuit Mon 13-Sep-10 11:57:37

It's difficult to tell as there is no general way people react to pregnancy, you might bloom, blossom and sail your way thru it enabling you to work up to birth if you wanted or you could become a hormonal, nauseous wreck who is counting down the minutes until they get their body back.

I was desk bound with a 90minute commute and managed until 38 weeks, with the benefit of hindsight I probably could have started ML at 35 weeks just to have some proper ME time before the baby arrives. Depends how much money is the issue.

PaulineCampbellJones Mon 13-Sep-10 12:05:41

I worked up to 39 weeks and found it very tough.
Even though you are desk bound think about the following:
You won't be sleeping well.
As it's your first baby you will be nervous and probably hormonal. And some babies arrive early!
How will you cope dealing with clients and attention to detail especially as most people make no allowances for you.
Will the train commute be stressful, especially as people don't often give up seats!
Also you will need to relax before the baby arrives!

tablefor3 Mon 13-Sep-10 12:11:46

I'm a solicitor. I had planned to work to 38 weeks with DC1, but in the end left at 37 weeks. I had a very (very) easy preganancy, short (for London) commute, but I was just fed up of being in work by the end and they were dragging their feet over sorting out my handover.

This time i am leaving at 36 weeks in order to have some time for myself and because second time round is a bit more tiring.

I don't think that you need to commit too early, and it is (usually) perfectly possible to change it.

Good luck

CuppaTeaJanice Mon 13-Sep-10 12:16:02

Don't do what I did and work on your due date.

First labours can be very, very long (35 hours in my case) and as you don't know exactly what day baby is going to arrive, it's best to play it safe and be well rested before the drama starts!!

Good luck!

xMrsSx Mon 13-Sep-10 12:19:17

I am planning to work til 38 weeks but have quite a physical job (NHS) so I am slowly cutting my hours down using a/l over the last few weeks. Am 34+3 now and managing ok, but getting VERY tired!! I have tried to get most stuff done to the house/for the baby already cos I think by the time I actually stop work I'll just want to lie on the sofa eating jaffa cakes!! blushgrin

maxpower Mon 13-Sep-10 12:19:29

I worked up to 39 weeks and had no probs whatsoever. First babies are often overdue as well. In the end, I was off for 3 weeks before DD arrived and they were some of the most boring of my life....!

I think it basically comes down to how you feel.

buttercup123 Mon 13-Sep-10 12:22:24

Thanks all, all really good advice. I might have to play it by ear, but it is pretty important to me that I have a few weeks of me time before it all happens. I keep on getting horror stories of babies coming 3 weeks early...

If my productivity at work is anything to go by, it might be best for all concerned if I leave around 37 weeks!

louisesh Mon 13-Sep-10 12:28:17

I, too, work for the NHS in a clinical setting.Its my first child .I m now 37+3 weeks. finished work at 36 weeks, currently on 2 weeks AL then mat leave starts at 38 weeks.I felt tired but fine and even pondered on continuing work for another couple of weeks.However, since finishing i have been very busy "nesting" and generally doing all the stuff you don t get time to do when you re working!!!!!!

Its nice to have time to yourself and chill.Ive been trying to read and sleep lots!!!!!

You re the best judge of whats best for you....grin

kellestar Mon 13-Sep-10 13:07:28

I am 27+1 and planning on starting my maternity leave at 34 weeks. I have plenty of AL and have worked some weekends that I am taking as ToiL so don't have to eat into my actual maternity leave. If you'd asked me at 14 weeks, I'd have said I'd work up to 38 weeks, but after advice from friends in the office, the ME time is really good, especially to get you into a routine of no work and taking time for rest and preparation. One friend in the office took her maternity leave at 36 weeks and went into labour the next day and was really gutted as she'd been so busy handing over to the new person she had no rest and preparation and was exhausted.

Everyone is different, and if you've got AL to take before you take ML then save as much as you can.

I can't wait to be off work, so many little bitty things at home to do, I'd like to see some friends who've had babies and just chill out.

GiraffeYoga Mon 13-Sep-10 13:16:10

It depends on how things go for you. Can you flex your start date by using vacation allowance? Then you can decide closer to the time depending on how you feel? Assuming you have a supportive line mgr.

I was doing desk job but had bad SPD (started feeling that at 15 wks) and really struggled commuting 2hrs each way to London (included tube journey and 10min walk). So at about 6months I started doing 3days working at home and 2 in office.

I found it really hard in the end as sitting still in a desk chair was agonising, as was walking about.... hmm

I finished at 35wks (used holiday) and my DD was 1 wk late so it was a long time to wait. But it was UTTER UTTER BLISS. I was able to watch flms, have baths in the day, visit friends, go to hairdresser in the week etc etc. I've never ever not worked and had thar kind of me time again. Once baby is here you wont get that kind of thing for a while.

Enjoy being you for a few weeks before the baby comes if you can afford it.

PinkElephant73 Mon 13-Sep-10 13:22:25

I am due early Feb and am leaving work at about 33 weeks, which seems ridiculously early, but it coincides with the DCs school Xmas holidays and there seems little point in going back for a week after Xmas as I would want to leave by 36 weeks anyway.

I am really looking forward to it! Will be busy with Xmas stuff for the first couple of weeks and then I will have lots of time to potter around the house and go out for lunch etc with friends. The DCs also can't wait for me to leave work so I can pick them up from school etc.

Igglybuff Mon 13-Sep-10 13:26:18

I worked until 36 weeks and I have a desk job. By the time I got to 33 weeks I had had enough! The last three weeks I spent preparing for handover.

As DS was 8 days late I had such a lovely time watching rubbish telly, taking day naps and bumming around. Although by the due date I was ready and every day he was late, I got pretty frustrated!

Deliaskis Mon 13-Sep-10 13:27:41

Just on the flip side, my friend who has a 5 month old, worked to 38 weeks, stopped, and then went stir crazy for 4 weeks as baby was 2 weeks late. She was literally climbing the walls waiting for the baby to decide to make a move, and says she wishes she had just been a bit more flexible and carried on maybe even if on flexible hours agreement until her due date. She was tired and fed up by the time she stopped work, but was no less tired and fed up being at home IYSWIM, so figured she might as well have distracted herself with work.

Obviously lots of people here saying the opposite, but thought you might like to hear the other side too.

I'm currently thinking about the same dilemma so am reading with interest!


KFW Mon 13-Sep-10 13:33:26

Hi buttercup.

I am a lawyer as well, in the city. I am just over 34 weeks at the moment and am planning on working to 38 weeks. All seems to be OK so far, but I had a horrible time a couple of weeks ago where I was working stupid hours and it really, really took it out of me.

Mostly, my colleagues have been amazing and have not piled on the pressure. I'll let you know if I change my mind, but it seems OK from where I am at the moment.

It is also my first baby, so I may be being unrealistic as to how much worse I am going to feel in a couple of weeks' time. The way I see it is that if it gets too much, you can always stop earlier than you intend, but you may as well aim for maximum baby time on mat leave. (Totally agree with hoping for some "me" time too smile )

Good luck with whatever you decide.

And congratulations!

naturalbaby Mon 13-Sep-10 13:41:35

i can't remember how many weeks but with al i had over a month off - bliss!! i had a more active job and felt fine but thoroughly enjoyed so much time to myself. it was the last time i was ever really on my own (even now with a babysitter doesn't come close) so i made the most of every day : nesting/cleaning and tidying, swim/gym, lots of dvd box sets, cooking up loads of meals for the freezer, and to top it off a thorough wash and polish the car - think that's what started labour cause it happened 2nd time as well.

Vistana Mon 13-Sep-10 14:45:23


I planned to work till 38 weeks but last week I had a cold which sounds really pathetic but it has taken it out of me and so today I asked my boss to let me do reduced hours and finish this week.
I will be 37 weeks at the end of the week so hopefully won't go stir crazy if baby is late!
Though I actually wish I'd taken off from the beginning of the month (34/35weeks) as I feel like I've not seen enough of my friends and doing things like eating out and going for facials and treatments. Plus I have decided to organise all my photos into albums and I want to try to knit some baby blankets (we'll see how long it takes before I throw it out the window) and suddenly 3 and a bit weeks to my due date isn't long enough!

Is there anything you'd like to do before you have your baby?
Do you have much baby shopping etc to do?
You may want to see how flexiable your boss is able to be if you did suggest 38 weeks as your plan but if you feel unable or just don't want to work that late then is it possible and easy for you to leave at 36weeks instead?

buttercup123 Mon 13-Sep-10 15:36:18

Well this is definitely motivating me to take more time off, perhaps leaving at 36 weeks. I do love the idea of pottering around and getting stuff done. (And "stuff" I mean baths, dvd box sets and catching up with friends...) I will have a bit of AL saved up, so might keep that and use for the extra couple of weeks, so I don't eat into ML too much.

I totally understand the risk of getting bored if baby is late, but I somehow think that won't be a problem I'll suffer from...

I'm only 13 weeks, but I have suddenly become very excited about the idea of having this time off! (Oh, and about having a baby as well of course...)

JaynieB Mon 13-Sep-10 15:40:12

I finished at 38 weeks and DD was nearly 2 weeks late - it was lovely to have a few weeks off before she arrived. I was lucky to still be quite comfortable so DP and I had some time together and went out for lunch and stuff.

BabyRoosMum Mon 13-Sep-10 21:19:48

I am leaving work on Friday and will be 37 weeks on Saturday. I feel fine but have stopped driving in...luckily dp works in the same building so I am being driven there and back everyday. Would not relish using any kind of public transport at this stage, especially at rush hour!

The best advice I have is to make the most out of the energy boost you will get around half way (with me it was between 20 and about 28 weeks) felt fab and got all nursery etc done and finished so have been able to spend evenings and weekends sat on my bum, which has really helped me get through the working weeks!

This is also my first so wasn't sure what to expect...I too had a cold a couple of weeks ago and started to dread being at work but once it went, felt sort of "revived"

Don't mean to be sexist but I have a male boss and have found him to be really understaning as he hasn't wanted to do anything "wrong" so have been able to get away with quite a bit. Wouldn't usually take advantage but, well, why not!!

Good luck, and do whatever is best for you

nagoo Mon 13-Sep-10 21:24:54

Last time gave up at 34 weeks due to the commute.

This time leaving at 36 weeks, I have no commute and nice colleagues helping me! I've given my leaving date as 1 week before DD and have got leave to use prior to that.

1Catherine1 Mon 13-Sep-10 21:35:43

Personally I want to leave it as late as possible since I detest being home alone. My DP works long hours and as a teacher I'm spoilt with how much time I get to spend at home. At the end of each holidays it is unusual if I'm not looking forward to getting back to work. That said I'm not finding pregnancy at all easy and if it only gets worse I'll probably end up out the door of work a month before I've planned.

pinkgirlythoughts Tue 14-Sep-10 09:01:55

Catherine, can I ask, as a teacher, what's your opinion on taking maternity leave from the end of the Easter holidays when you teach a SATs year group? I'm due around the 17th of May (haven't had it confirmed by doc yet), and don't want to spend the whole school year getting my other babies ready for the SATs only to not actually be there when they sit them! Also not sure how my Head would feel about it all.
What would you recommend? Leave school at 35 weeks and hope they'll be okay? Or keep working until, potentially, 39 weeks, and be there to support my class?

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