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Commuting and pregnancy- how long before birth did you start maternity leave?

(50 Posts)
GYo Tue 07-Oct-08 08:37:48

I am due in march and have a 1.5 to 2hr commute into London each day consisting of 10min drive, 45min train ride on v crowded train), 5min tube ride and 10 min walk.

I am trying to work out how much time off I will need before the birth. Ie when will i find the commute too hard to continue?
I know everyone is different but I'd like to get an idea of other experiences. I am looking at 4 weeks at the moment

To be honest the commute has been quite hellish since I got pregnant anyway due to tiredness/nausea etc and a long day in the office is tough. I try and work at home 1 or 2 days a week for my sanity.

MillieMummy Tue 07-Oct-08 08:40:42

I lasted until 6 weeks before DD was born, at the time had a 20 min tube journey plus 10 min walk eithe end. With DS I lasted until 12 weeks before he was born - it was summer so found tube way too hot.

If I were you I would try and extend the number of days you work at home, and negotiate shorter days - be prepared to want to give up work earlier than 4 weeks though.

hatwoman Tue 07-Oct-08 08:43:09

I finished work 2 weeks before my due date - turned out to be 3 weeks before dd came. but I took to pregnancy quite well and the commuting didn't bother me. having said that I think the worst bit might be early pg - when you feel sick and tired and no-one offers you a seat becuase you haven't got a huge and obvious bump.

MrsMattie Tue 07-Oct-08 08:44:31

It really is quite different for everyone.

It's also early days for you, and you may have a period around the second trimester when you feel more sprightly than you do now (although you may feel tired throughout the whole pregnancy!).

I had an hour on the tube each way to work, plus periods of standing at work, and to be honest, by about 30 weeks I'd had enough. I went on maternity leave at 34 weeks - but then went almost 3 weeks overdue, so it was a long old time on maternity leave before the baby had even arrived!.

MissisBoot Tue 07-Oct-08 08:45:19

I finished work when I was 36 weeks - 1 hour commute and 10 mins on the central line! I also worked from home every now and again which was a life saver.

Our train company also upgraded you to first class in your last trimester which was great as you could actually fit in the seat, not always a guarantee of a seat into London, but normally on the way back most train companies do offer this.

GYo Tue 07-Oct-08 08:49:48

Your train company is great! mine offer this if there arent any seats free in Standard Class. I do wonder if they expect an 7/8mth pregnant woman to wander up and down train carriage looking for a cheap seat before sitting down!

Which is yours? mine is SW trains.

Nbg Tue 07-Oct-08 08:53:43

When I was having my dd (first baby) I had to communte for an hour and a half. I had to walk for 15 mins to the station and then get 2 trains there and the same coming home.

I had morning sickness and had quite a bit of time off because of it. Then I started passing out on the trains because I was stood an awful lot, then I started to get alot of back pain and it was just becoming a complete nightmare.

In the end I ended up on labour ward at 25 weeks to be monitored, they thought I was in early labour but thankfully it wasn't.

That was enough for me and the Dr signed me off for 3 weeks and at 28 weeks I took my maternity leave.
I'm so pleased I did. It was a long wait till the birth but the thoughts of doing that commute was just awful.

MissisBoot Tue 07-Oct-08 08:54:03

Mine is National Express - I think you should just go and plonk yourself down in first class - no one is seriously going to make you trek through the train to make sure there are spare seats first - I had to email them and they sent me a special letter to show the ticket inspector!

2cats2many Tue 07-Oct-08 08:58:05

1st baby I started ML 2.5 weeks before my due date. The last week was VERY hard and I wished I'd given myself another week off. 2nd time round I left work 4 weeks before my due date.

umberella Tue 07-Oct-08 09:04:37

I took AL/TOIL from seven months og, and started ML at 8 months.

My commute involved getting up at 5.30 to drive almost 80 miles away (was normally in the car for between three and four hrs per day). It was fine at first but became v uncomfortable the bigger I got, and I was also completely knackered.

umberella Tue 07-Oct-08 09:05:01

og?! -pg, obv!

littlelapin Tue 07-Oct-08 09:10:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

tinkisgoingtohaveagirl Tue 07-Oct-08 09:16:50

with dd i left 32 weeks i was commuting
45 mins on first train then changing over to another train which took 15 mins then walking 15 mins.
found it too much with crowded trains and all walking got so tired.
my 8 weeks maternity flew past

HolidaysQueen Tue 07-Oct-08 09:22:14

I had a 30min drive or 40 min tube ride. I used annual holiday on Fridays from 12 weeks before so I only worked a 4 day week in my third trimester and then finished completely 6 weeks before. I may have been able to go another 2 weeks but I was really glad to have that time at home - resting, preparing, reading, watching telly, cooking nice meals, having daily walks or swims etc. I felt really relaxed when the baby arrived and I wasn't at all bored by all that time off

I found the commute the worst bit of being pregnant - what if I don't get a seat, what if the train is delayed or the roads are jammed etc. Being in the office was a breeze in comparison. If you can work from home occasionally or use annual holiday like I did to work shorter weeks then I would recommend it.

MegBusset Tue 07-Oct-08 09:24:10

I had an hour's commute by train and tube, plus a stressful job with long hours. It was grim, even though DH would drive me to the station. I went on ML at 32 weeks -- was bliss!

GYo Tue 07-Oct-08 09:32:21

Umbrella thanks- I think my plan is to take annual leave before starting mat leave too. Was thinking of starting mat leave on same week as due date with holiday before that so i can get as long as possible off with the baby before going back to work (will have to go back unfortuntely) but think I might want to think about this again after reading these posts

I will have 4 or 5wks holiday to take, so i could start Mat leave 2wks before due date and get 6 or 7 wks off.

Wow that effectively means only working til end Jan. That seems like around the corner!

flippineck Tue 07-Oct-08 09:40:49

Before DD, I worked in London - 15 min walk, 40 min train, 30 min tube (or 45 bus), 5 min walk, and from about 20 weeks I worked one or two days at home, depending on what needing doing that week. I started my mat leave 2 weeks before due date, but took 3 weeks annual leave before that. It was great, and DD arrive a day after her due date so still had nearly all of my mat leave after she was born.

This time hopefully I'll do the same, although I'm part time now not full time so work might be less enthusiastic about the working at home bit.

N1kk1 Tue 07-Oct-08 09:45:12

I'm 27 weeks today and the commute is becoming harder each day at the moment. This morning the train was unusually more packed than other days but I was lucky that someone offered me a seat straight away. Even sat down I got all panicky and started to feel faint before we reached London Bridge cos I was so hot and claustrophobic!

Usual journey in is 20 minute walk - 35 minutes train - 15/20 minute walk (Used to be less of a walk but obviously I'm moving a fair bit slower now!)
I think I'm going to ask if I can do at least a day from home each week in the run up to me leaving.

Am planning on leaving about 4 weeks before my due date, but it's not set in stone and I'll see how I feel when the time comes.

GYo Tue 07-Oct-08 10:54:07

Thanks guys- comments are really helpful. I am already feeling claustrophobic on the train if I get stuck in a middle seat or by the window....

Will definately consider pulling the date forward.

For anyone who is interested I have a great excel sheet that calculates dates for maternity leave (found it online)

let me know if you want me to email it.

countrylover Tue 07-Oct-08 13:43:11

I left at 36 weeks first time round. I had a one hour commute each way - a walk, a train, two changes of tubes and a walk.

The last four weeks were hell - it was the summer of 2005 which was absolutely roasting. I nearly fainted on the tube several times. Added to that it was the summer of the London bombings so the panic levels in me when on public transport were going through the roof.

This time round I don't care how much the bloody congestion charge/NCP car park is going to cost me. I'm driving in for the last month!

GYo Tue 07-Oct-08 17:50:13

Sounds like a good idea countrylover. if it wasnt such a long drive I might consider it but would be a very early start for me!

Romney Wed 08-Oct-08 02:48:26

I had a 1 hour 40 commute and left at 3.5 weeks before due date. It was general tiredness that did me in, and a slight worry that the hospital was 3 hours away from work if things started early.

Of course, now I'm 2 weeks late and have had loads more time off than I planned - its great!

Sallypuss Wed 08-Oct-08 07:54:23

I went on mat leave last week at 37+1 - 3 hours commute each day driving and the tube. My advice would be don't be shy and ask for a seat particularly when you've got an obvious bump. It's different for everyone but I coped just fine.

DungunGirl Wed 08-Oct-08 13:15:27


With DS, I had a 1 hour plus commute into London too.

I had 5 min drive, 5 min train to main station, 30 min train to London, 15 min tube and 5 min walk.

I started my leave when I was 36 weeks, so basically a month before I was due and I was so glad I did as in the last 2-3 weeks I got huge! I was busting at the seams and was walking/waddling really slow by the week before.

This time round I am planning to take time off from week 37 I reckon. My commute is slightly harder now....

5 min drive, 5 min train to main station, 30 min train to London, 15 min tube, 10 min bus and 5 min walk!!!!

But I think I can manage..if not I'll just talk to my boss nearer the time!

GYo Wed 08-Oct-08 13:50:44

thanks everyone. Im now plumping for 5wks before, so at week 34/35. Kinda of going with assumption first baby will be late (not that it will help with generally being huge etc!0 Will adjust it if I need to closer to the time.

Only thing is that I will be committing to complete bits of work before I go so i want to ensure that I can do that!

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