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When to go on maternity leave

(32 Posts)
kekouan Wed 29-Aug-07 11:25:37

First time I've posted here, although I've been lurking for a while.

I'm due on 21st November, so 28 weeks at the moment. I was wondering when is normal for maternity leave? I was originally planning on going at about 36 weeks (I have a long commute and don't think I'll fit in my car after that!) but I've been getting so unbelieveably tired the last couple of weeks that i don't think I'm going to make it that long.

Is it worth starting mat leave a couple of weeks earlier, so you can enjoy the last few weeks of your pregnancy, or is it better to hold out as long as you can so you have the extra time to enjoy with your baby?

Sorry this is so long...

ImBarryScott Wed 29-Aug-07 11:31:22

I think it would be nice to have some time to adjust mentally to being a mum, as well as taking a break for physical health needs. I worked until I dropped (just a few days in between) and I didn't think about what a big psychological shift is involved between caring for a new baby and working full-time outside of the home. I think a bit more preparation time would have eased those first few weeks for me.

Mumpbump Wed 29-Aug-07 11:31:37

Hi there. Congratulations on your pg. Firstly, I would make sure you get checked out for anaemia. I was diagnosed with it after my 28 week bloods and put on iron/folic acid supplements and it makes a HUGE difference. I was also taking pregnacare so had assumed that I wouldn't get anaemia during pg.

I worked through to 38 weeks last time and am doing the same this time, partly for financial reasons and partly 'cos I'm not very good at being at home with nothing to do. But at around 28 weeks, before being diagnosed with anaemia, I felt exactly the same as you... You should do whatever is right for you. Guess it also depends what your maternity leave package is like...

CatIsSleepy Wed 29-Aug-07 11:32:34

hmm well I can't say I really enjoyed the last few weeks of my pregnancy but I definitely appreciated not having to commute. It just got too much at the end.

I stopped working at about 37 weeks, but a combination of leftover annual leave and easter meant my mat leave proper didn't start til my actual due date.

I think really keep going as long as you can bear and then have as much time with your baby as you can.

Have you had your iron levels checked btw? You might be anaemic, hence the tiredness now.

CatIsSleepy Wed 29-Aug-07 11:33:54

x-post with Mumpbump re anaemia...

you could start taking something now anyway- Floradix is what I took or spatone has been recommended by others.

TigerFeet Wed 29-Aug-07 11:36:23

Agree with the others re tiredness - get your iron levels checked. It may well be worth taking a supplement or making sure you eat loads of iron rich foods anyway, iron levels affect people differently so you may find that you need more iron even though your levels are normal iyswim

To answer your original question - I stopped at 37 weeks and dd was a few days late meaning I had exactly 4 weeks between giving up work and having her. This was about right for me I think, although the last week I found very hard and I really struggled to concentrate, although I rather suspect my last week would have been like this regardless of how far along I was grin

missbumpy Wed 29-Aug-07 11:37:58

I agree with mumpbump. I felt exhausted around 28 weeks and didn't think I'd be able to carry on. Found out I was anaemic and started taking Spatone and now feel loads better and more able to cope with work (I'm now 33 weeks).

Having said that, I am finding it all quite exhausting and I'm really not enjoying getting on the tube every day

I'm stopping work at 36 weeks but I had some annual leave to take so I've booked lots of days off here and there to make the last few weeks a bit more bearable.

bundle Wed 29-Aug-07 11:41:26

I felt great until around 38 weeks and I stopped work. dd's were both born at 42 weeks and I was glad to have the time with them afterwards rather than before iykwim.

callmeovercautious Wed 29-Aug-07 11:43:01

I booked 4 weeks holiday and my mat leave to start on my due date. Worked out nicely because she was on time. Downside is I am due back at work the week she turns one (a week today shock) so am using holiday there too!

You accrue holiday while you are on Mat leave so check with HR what your allowance will be and when you can take it. If you have LO early your Mat Leave will kick in so check with them you won't lose the Holiday days (you shouldn't).

bex44 Wed 29-Aug-07 11:51:38

I think it depends on your job as well to a large degree. I stopped at 33+3, the first couple of weeks were annual leave. I had an hours train and tube commute each way, plus my job means that I am standing up or walking around for much of the day, and most days I leave at 7am and return at 7pm.
I don't think I could have lasted much longer. Certainly immediately I felt much better, ankle swelling disappeared until now (38+1) and I lost my deathly pallor.
If my job had been more sedentary I would definitely have stayed later to maximize pay afterwards, but I decided it just wasn't worth the stress to me and my baby to continue working in a way thats tiring even when not pregnant!
My female boss 15 or so years previously (in a largely male dominated profession) had stopped at a similar time in her pregnancies, and as she's tougher than me, so I decided very early on to follow her example.

Mumpbump Wed 29-Aug-07 11:53:47

Using your annual leave to have a few days off in the last week is a good idea. I did it last time - every Wednesday for the last 4 weeks - and have 3 days to use up this time, but holding off as I feel so much better on the iron tablets...

kekouan Wed 29-Aug-07 11:54:01

Wow, thanks for all the replies

Ahh... wondered if the extreme tiredness might be anaemia, but it's so hard to tell what is normal .. I'll ask the midwife to do a blood test for me (seeing her next week). I'm taking the sanatogen pronatal vitamins, and have been for the whole pregnancy, but it wouldn't hurt to get it checked out. Might start taking an additional supplement in the meantime to see though.

I've got some leave left, and work have told me that I can take it at the end of my maternity leave, so I'll have an extra 3 weeks to tag on the end anyway.. (I'll be on 3 day weeks, so worth more at the end of my mat leave, than it is now).

My commute is actually OK at the moment (about 40 mins each way) but once the schools go back and there are more people on the road it'll be more like an hour each way.. argh!!


Mumpbump Wed 29-Aug-07 12:03:16

Make sure you do get the blood tests - I had a folic acid related form of anaemia so iron supplements alone may not be enough... You apparently need folic acid, iron and vitamin B to make haemoglobin if I remember my internet research correctly!

kekouan Wed 29-Aug-07 12:06:01

Thanks mumpbump.... I'd actually be quite suprised if I was anaemic, because I am taking the supplements (wtih folic acid, B-vits etc) and I eat a lot of red meat, green veg etc. But yes, will definitely get checked out. Got an appointment with the MW next Tuesday...

Anything to make me feel better.. can't believe how drained I am all the time.

RGPargy Wed 29-Aug-07 12:34:04

I'm going on maternity leave at 36 weeks, but i have booked 2 weeks holiday before that, which means that i have a lovely 6 weeks off work before my due date. I cannot bloody wait!!

Sarahjct Wed 29-Aug-07 15:17:48

I'm going at 35 weeks so I'll have the whole of December and (hopefully) at least a week in January. On the one hand it feels like a long time but it means that I can do whatever I need to do before Christmas and then enjoy Christmas without stressing.

kekouan Wed 29-Aug-07 15:44:49

At the moment I think I'll go between 34 1/2 weeks. Would be a good date, and with other leave I wouldn't have to go back to work until November next year (seems so far away!!)

so.. 6 weeks of work left, woohoo! Got the feeling I'll be doing all my xmas shopping online once I'm on mat leave.

Paranoid1stTimer Wed 29-Aug-07 19:41:03

This isn't regarding the maternity leave (I'm only 11 weeks...) but the extreme tiredness.
Maybe it is just the pregnancy but I have vitamin B12 deficiency and it was discovered before I became pregnant. I don't think I could have got up in the morning for the 1st 10 weeks of this pregnancy if I didn't have my B12 supplements to take (on top of the Pregnacare vitamins) but you might wanna ask your doc/midwife what the chances of vit B related anaemia. Think this can involve folic acid too although mine was fine cos I eat spinach and loads of broccoli n stuff....

Just a wee thought - sorry to barge in..

AnnainNZ Wed 29-Aug-07 19:53:14

I finished at 29 wks (10 days ago), was recommended to by my doctor as my job was quite physical (childcare centre, on myh feet a lot, lots of lifting children into cots, high chairs etc)

When she recommended it (at beginning of pg)I thought it was v early to be finishing but I was soooooooo happy to finish. By Thu/Fri each week I was exhausted and falling asleep as soon as I got home.

If I'd had a desk job I would have carried on longer I think. But I am really enjoying hoaving this time to sort the house out/finish baby shopping/watch DVDs/read books/sleep!

I had 3 wks annual leave so am using that before my maternity pay starts.

I am lucky we could afford for me to stop and still pay mortgage etc. The money would have been useful but I figured me having a happier and more relaxed last couple of months of pg was more important than a few hundred quid.


AnnainNZ Wed 29-Aug-07 19:53:48

Lat bit was meant to be - echo what everyone said about get your iron checked etc

Gemy Wed 29-Aug-07 21:47:36

First time I took leave at 36 weeks and this was perfect. This time though,now maternity leave is paid for 9 rather than 6 months, I am taking my leave at the earliest possible time I.E 11 weeks before DD. This is mostly financial though, because during that time I won't have to pay childcare for DD1 and can spend lots of time just her and me before DD2 arrives.

coleyboy Wed 29-Aug-07 22:00:54

I worked until 36 weeks, although the first 3 weeks of ML was actually holiday that I hadn't taken.

I also had a long car journey every day, so was relieved to give up the stress of the commute.

DS was born 9 days after his edd, so I had longer off before he was due than I expected. But I was never bored! I made sure that I had things to do (visit friends, finish off the nursery, wash the baby clothes and linen, made meals to put in the freezer, hair appointments, sit on my arse and watch dvd's with copious amounts of chocolate! etc etc)

I realised I would never have this time to myself again, so I made the most of it.

inzidoodle Wed 29-Aug-07 22:06:37

I think its very indiidual, my friend worked right to 36 weeks, I finished 3 weeks ago (29 weeks) taking 3 weeks holiday so starting official maternity leave as of sunday. If you can afford it and not to worried about when you are returning I highly recommend early leave.

AnnainNZ Thu 30-Aug-07 00:26:52

Btw Kekouan, if you're due 21st Nov, do you know there's a November antenatal thread on here. Or have you been lurking...we're all very nice on there, come and join us

vole3 Thu 30-Aug-07 03:48:47

I started with 2 weeks annual leave at 36 weeks, then mat leave started at 38 weeks.
DS decided to arrive the day after my mat leave started so I am very glad I had the annual leave grin
I'd even shopped that weekend and had started to cook stuff for the freezer, but never got round to doing more than one batch of chilli.......

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