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Full time workers - when is a good time to finish for maternity leave?

(23 Posts)
CoffeeOne Fri 02-Sep-11 22:29:43

I've started to think about when I'm going to finish work. Most people say I should work as long as I can (so I can have longer off with the baby) however it's difficult to know how I'm going to feel. I mostly work in an office so I won't be doing any physical hard work. The commute isn't brilliant though. I'm only 16 weeks with my first and I have no idea how I'm going to feel! Work are quite keen for me to decide sooner rather than later, and I'd like to give them plenty of notice.

So ladies, when did you finish? Was that a good time? Or do you wish you'd finished earlier or stayed later? Thanks!

supadupapupascupa Fri 02-Sep-11 22:33:09

36 weeks for me and i think that was about right. i did struggle for a couple of weeks before that

CollieandPup Fri 02-Sep-11 22:38:22

I think it really depends on your job and how you're feeling. My original plan was to finish at 38wks but as time has passed I have made that 1 wk earlier at 37wk. I drive an hour each way to work so think I'll find it a struggle near the end as the journey can take it's toll now at 29wks. I know a lot of people have finished earlier but I'm pretty lucky and have a very flexible job so plan to work from home 1 or 2 days a week from about 35 wks.

It was always my thought to wait as late as possibie but I think you have to think of your health, and also a bit if time off before it comes to get ready will be nice...IMO.

RhinestoneCowgirl Fri 02-Sep-11 22:43:06

Four weeks before my due date first time round. I had quite a bit of annual leave saved up so maternity leave only kicked in at around 39 wks.

It was definitely the right decision as July 2006 was a major heatwave! Work was fine, but the travelling (public transport) was just too much.

I had a lovely time wafting about for a month sitting in coffee shops reading (when I wasn't snoozing at home with the fan on). Still think v fondly of that time...

CollieandPup Fri 02-Sep-11 22:44:47

rhinestone that sounds blissful! smile

georgie22 Fri 02-Sep-11 22:50:43

I worked up to 37 weeks with dd (took week of leave so ML started at 38 weeks). I have a 45 minute commute each way to work and then drive as part of my job for much of the day. I coped fairly well with it and am glad I stayed at work as long as I did as I've been able to take 12 months off with our dd. I did get some disapproving comments from my parents but that was out of concern for me and the baby.It was just enough time to catch up with friends etc. before baby arrived; I think any longer than those 3 weeks and I would have been bored!

DuelingFanjo Fri 02-Sep-11 22:53:20

38 weeks but probably could have worked up to 40 and wish I had as I was 11 days overdue. I did enjoy the 'me' time though.

lollystix Fri 02-Sep-11 22:59:53

37 weeks with ds1, 36 weeks with ds2 (so so bored), 38.5 weeks with ds3 and going to 39.5 weeks with ds4 if I can. Worth it for the time the other side - adding your holiday onto your mat leave so back on the payroll quicker

Penelope1980 Sat 03-Sep-11 03:12:40

I meant to work until 37 1/2 weeks as have had an excellent, easy pregnancy. But, alas, my blood pressure went up 2 weeks ago and things started getting very hard so have just left work at 36 1/2 weeks. I think I could have stayed longer if I didn't have as much responsibility as I do at work, but the last week of work it was really hard to use my mind and not make mistakes.

RickGhastley Sat 03-Sep-11 03:27:36

With DS1 I left work at 36 weeks using 2 weeks annual leave and starting MAT leave at 38 weeks.

With this DC (am 18 weeks PG) I have loads of leave to take and am knackered and sick so I'll be using annual leave from 32 weeks and starting MAT leave on my due date. Bliss!

Biscuitsandtea Sat 03-Sep-11 03:33:19

I went on maternity leave at 34 weeks with DS. It seemed like I was finishing v early but I had several things to consider: firstly, I was working 50 miles away. Had had to give up driving to work at about 20 weeks as it was just too tiring (commute was at least an hour if no traffic and often up to 2 hrs on the way in) so was getting the train which still took probably 90 mins each way. The work but was ok but the commute was ruining me.

Secondly, because of working full time I had done nothing in prep for the arrival - so I wanted some time to get everything straight.

Thirdly, I had loads of holiday to use up before the end of the calendar year, so just stuck it all at the start of the ML. I can't work out now how i had SO much leave left but somehow I must have had 4 weeks or so!

In any event, good job I gave up then as waters broke and went into labour at 36+5 so still didn't get as long off as I'd anticipated! I hadn't even started my official ML (although they had to start it from the day after DS was born).

Anyway, sorry that was such a rambling post, but thought my reasoning might give you a few things to consider?

bagelmonkey Sat 03-Sep-11 04:58:10

I planned to work up to 36 1/2 weeks.
In the end I stopped work at 34 weeks for medical reasons and ended up having DD on what would've been my last day at work.

Misty9 Sat 03-Sep-11 05:17:59

I worked up until 36wks in a not very stressful job but one which involved 45mins drive each way. I too had lots of annual leave (4wks) to use up so my actual ML won't start until the due date (Monday!). This felt like a good time to stop as I was getting huge and it was getting harder to sleep and move around easily (I've had mild-moderate SPD as well). I've had 4 weeks off now and haven't got bored yet - but ask me again in 2 weeks when he still hasn't turned up... smile
Also, my mw said she advises 36wks as the time to stop working.

BlueyDragon Sat 03-Sep-11 05:30:50

36 weeks both times and each time using up annual leave before mat leave has to kick in. The commute (90 minutes each way train and walking) took it out of me and I think I was starting to scare colleagues with the size of the bump! I enjoyed having the time to myself before DD, and the time just with DD before DS, but any more would have been too much for me.

FWIW I went through stages both times when I would gladly have started my leave much earlier but it panned out just fine. Mind you, the point I reckon you most need mat leave is the first 3 months of pregnancy so you can spend the day looking grey and trying not to throw up without all your colleagues thinking you're partying too hard. That may only be necessary for me though grin.

Thumbwitch Sat 03-Sep-11 05:37:34

I worked two jobs, part time employed and part time self-employed. The latter was quite physically demanding so I stopped at about 34w. The former was a desk job, but involved a good 30 minute drive and I had pelvic problems, so I stopped that at about 38w. DS was born 2w late, so I was on mat leave for 4w before he was born.

When I worked in a hospital lab, one of my colleagues worked right up to the end - she went on mat leave and had the baby the next day!

Faithless12 Sat 03-Sep-11 05:53:12

34 weeks, ML started 36. I could have worked longer but work started upping my workload midway through the pregnancy and I was getting stress headaches which strangely disappeared at 35 weeks. I did start to get bored though I had an easy pregnancy if that helps.

YBR Sat 03-Sep-11 07:14:06

I have the blessing of being allocated leave in hours so am planning to use it to shorten my working day from 34 weeks and finish at 38 weeks. Has anyone done this? Was it a good idea?

kirrinIsland Sat 03-Sep-11 07:22:50

YBR I did something similar but instead of shortening the day I shortened the week. I took 2 days off a week from about 32 weeks and finished work completely at 39 weeks. DD was born the day next though so I might go for 38 weeks next time!

heather1980 Sat 03-Sep-11 07:25:47

dd i finished at 37 wks, ds1 at 36 weeks and ds2 at 40 wks but i added 4 wks annual leave to that so i finished work at 36 wks really.
i was quite bored when i finished 1st time coz she was late, i did enjoy slobbing out on the sofa but i got a bit of cabin fever towards the end.
if work want to know plan to finish later and then amend it depending on how you feel. iirc you only need to give them 28 days notice to change anyway

CitizenOscar Sat 03-Sep-11 07:32:01

35 weeks, using annual leave which I had to take before end of year.

I was definitely ready to stop work and I was also worried about the baby coming early and me having no time to rest before he arrived (happened to a few people I know). Once I'd had a couple of weeks off, I felt like I could have still been working as I felt quite fresh and a little bored, but as my DH pointed out, that's cos I'd just had 2 weeks off!

It is nice to have as much time with the baby as you can but I know a lot of people who have planned to work as late as possible and have had to rethink when they actually got to 35ish weeks because they got more tired/big/high blood pressure etc than they'd anticipated. For me it was also important to have time to rest before the physical exertions involved in labour and the first few weeks of a new baby. I'd definitely do the same again.

Don't forget to factor in your annual leave to your plans!

Gooseysgirl Sat 03-Sep-11 13:19:24

Hi Coffee.. recognise you from the Feb 2012 club :-)
I'm almost 36 and due DC#1 end of Feb and have decided at the very latest I'm taking leave at 35/36 weeks. My plan is to go back to work for a week or 2 after Christmas break then take the leave. One of my colleagues (also an older first time mum) went at 36 weeks then ended up with CS at 38 weeks and has said to me that if she could do it all again (CS or not) she'd have left sooner. I also (selfishly maybe!!!) want to enjoy my last few weeks of child-free existence without the stresses of work getting to me - don't get me wrong, we can't wait to be parents and are so excited, but it is going to be a huge life change for us and I want to be well-rested and in a positive frame of mind before the main event! Having the extra time with baby at the other side won't make much difference to me because I have to return to work by Sept regardless (long story), DH possibly going to take the Additional Paternity Leave for a few months after I go back instead.

getagoldtoof Sat 03-Sep-11 13:31:00

I'm 37 weeks with my first and planning to work for the next three weeks - I hate not being busy. I have an hour long communte on the underground, but am having a nice easy pregnancy so it hasn't been too bad. I come home from work and am able to study in the evenings, so things aren't too hard! I suppose I am able to do this as my mum brings me a homemade lunch to work every day and my husband cooks me dinner and keeps our home (sort of) tidy. If I didn't have this support, I don't think it would be so easy. Good luck with the rest of your pregnancy!

CoffeeOne Sat 03-Sep-11 14:21:38

Thanks for all your thoughts everyone! I think I'm going to go with the average 36 weeks to finish! I don't get bored easily so I think I'll enjoy the rest and not having to drive smile

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