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Ladies - your advice sought on when to start maternity leave - what's your experience?

(23 Posts)
Mirry71 Tue 28-Oct-08 18:23:48

I'm 23 weeks pregnant with first DC, 37 and so far (fingers crossed) not had a bad experience - been a bit tired but escaped worst of morning sickness.
My problem is this: I have not been employed in my current job long enough to qualify for SMP so when I start maternity leave, I will get maternity allowance and nothing else. So, it would be good to carry on working for as long as possible - much as i would like to enjoy time before the birth. I'm lucky that I don't work every day but I do work long hours (10-11 hours)which leaves me v tired. What's been your experience? Have to go and see HR in a couple of weeks to talk about this and don't want to mess them around (although yes I guess it can all change!)

inscotland Tue 28-Oct-08 18:26:00

I thought I'd work up until 37 weeks but ended up finishing at 34 because I was just too tired. After about 3 weeks I was bored silly though!

I think if you have got some holidays to take then leave them and take them at around 33-35 weeks if you are feeling tired and if you can keep going as long as possible.

melmamof3 Tue 28-Oct-08 19:16:00

With both my last 2 pregnancies, I worked til 35 weeks, and was glad I had, as was so tired by then.

I took a few weeks holiday before I started my maternity leave. Is there any way you could do that, obviously if you have any holiday entitlement left.

flowerybeanbag Tue 28-Oct-08 19:18:09

I know loads of people who pushed it as far as they could then wished they'd gone off sooner, or who ended up finishing sooner than they had arranged, like inscotland.

You do now accrue annual leave throughout your entire maternity leave, so you should have plenty that you can use at the beginning and end of your maternity leave.

cyteen Tue 28-Oct-08 19:22:30


I was lucky in that I had lots of annual leave, so I ended up taking 5 weeks' paid holiday before starting my maternity leave at <<tries desperately to remember>> 38 weeks I think. Didn't get bored as I am a lazy bastard and like nothing more than dossing about watching films and reading in bed grin

I had a largely trouble-free pregnancy as well, felt great pretty much all the way through so was surprised by how knackered I was towards the end. It was during the very hot weeks of the summer though.

Mirry71 Tue 28-Oct-08 20:12:35

i think I'll only be due about 2 weeks hols by then - 2.5 max if I take no days off between now and feb So I guess I could finish at 35-6 weeks and not lose too much money. I would love to take a year off though and I think you only get 39 weeks MA..i just dont want to be in a right state by pushing it too far

SpeccieSeccie Tue 28-Oct-08 20:14:40

I finished at 35 weeks and I was really glad to have that time at the end - although, yeah, it was a bit boring but at least boring lying down comfortably and reading magazines. Difficult call to make if you'll need to rush back to work though, as undoubtedly it's nicer to have time with your baby than time with your bump...

RuthT Tue 28-Oct-08 20:55:35

With the first I finished at 38 weeks and the second 36 weeks. I worked 10-12 hour days with number 1 and came to my senses with number 2.

I would say that once you are off your long hours will seem daft and you'll think 'What on earth was all that about, it really doesn't matter at all!'

If you want more time off with your first I would say see if you can make it to 38 weeks but make sure you start to work less hours. Just stop creating work, taking it on etc.

If you are worried about what people think forget it. When you return you'll be hailed with 'Wow, really has it been that long, it was like yesturday'

Qally Wed 29-Oct-08 02:39:31

Planned to leave at 38 weeks - next week! In fact left at 35, as I was completely wiped out and felt dreadful. I'm so glad I did, as I'm still not great but a damn sight better than I was. I'm having a grotty pregnancy though; an easier one and I'd rather have stayed till the 38. I'm in your position re. changing jobs when pregnant, so only entitled to MA, too.

magnummum Wed 29-Oct-08 06:51:39

Planned to stop work at 38 weeks with dd and also took 2 weeks annual leave - glad I did because despite the "It's bound to be late as it's your first" school of thought she was actually 16 days early smile.

Heated Wed 29-Oct-08 06:58:22

I'm a teacher, trouble-free pg, and went to the start of 37 weeks for my 1st and part way through 38 for my 2nd.

kayzisexpecting Wed 29-Oct-08 07:05:16

I worked until 37 weeks with DS and I honestly could have worked until the day before he was born. This time round I was planning to do the same but I got signed off yesterday as I am so tired and I just can't work anymore.

It really depends how you feel but around 36 weeks is a good time. I also agree with taking your holidays when you want maternity leave to start. It gets them out of the way and you get longer off.

mrsgboring Wed 29-Oct-08 08:19:29

I worked till 38 the first time and 36 the second. The advantage of stopping at 36 weeks is that it's a more reliable date to give your work colleagues - if you are off sick for any pregnancy related reason after 36 weeks, your mat leave automatically starts, which hasn't happened to me but would probably be a pain to put right with HR, especially if you were planning to take odd bits of holiday after 36 weeks which you might lose.

Another thing to consider, if you need to drive to get to/do your job, how long will you be able to fit behind the wheel? It depends a bit on your driving style, car and leg length, that, so it's hard to judge - look and see how much space you've got left now! (And investigate public transport options or taxis if you want to carry on after driving gets hard)

I used annual leave before I went on mat leave - had odd bits of time here and there, to make the weeks shorter. Sometimes I took the day off if I had to go up to the hospital, (consultant care) just to make the day easier. It also habituated my colleagues quite well to the fact I wouldn't be there soon, which they seemed to find hard to take on board grin

dinny Wed 29-Oct-08 08:26:24

I'm stopping at 29 weeks this time

first time I worked till 35 weeks and had dd the next day!
second time I worked till 32 weeks

dismemberingdora Wed 29-Oct-08 08:33:36

I worked until 38 weeks with dd had one week off and then had her. But was bored at home. this time around,I'm hoping to max the time after the birth by working up to 38 weeks again, but we'll see! good luck hon!

BloodshotEyeballsintheScarySky Wed 29-Oct-08 08:38:49

I left at 34 weeks. I was just too tired and the commute every day was long. Added to that, I began to lose interest in the job and felt it was getting in the way of me thinking about what I wanted to be thinking about, if that makes sense. I was much happier when I left although it was leading up to Christmas last year so I had other things to occupy me.

kraftwerkkittie Wed 29-Oct-08 09:39:36

I worked until 37 weeks. I did find it pretty tough towards the end, but I had a word with my boss and organised a couple of working-from-home days which made a huge difference (is that possible with you, mirry?).

I live in London so the 1h10min commute each way was what really sent me over the edge in terms of tiredness, but my work was very sympathetic and did understand the need for me to take it a bit easier towards. By the time maternity leave finally came I just couldn't wait for it, but I did want to push it as late as possible so that I'd have as much time as poss with the baby

LullyMummaOfOne Wed 29-Oct-08 09:53:15

I planned to finishe work at 36 weeks but due to having bad problems with my back and having to walk with crutches i ended at 34 weeks. Althoug this the 2 extra weeks were used as holiday i had wanted to use at the end.

Good luck with your pregnancy

CatIsSleepy Wed 29-Oct-08 09:58:50

i worked until 37 weeks with dd, planning something similar this time though will depend how much holiday I have.

Would like to take longer off before the birth...but the pressure is on at work and I feel guilty (though am trying to talk myself out of the guilt trip as I know a week or so probably won't make that much difference...)

actually first time round when I went on leave I was amazed I'd managed to carry on for so long! that should tell me somehting I guess...grin

tinierclanger Wed 29-Oct-08 10:08:20

I stopped at 36 weeks, but that included 2 weeks holiday. No way could have carried on longer, and was pretty useless at work the last week! Might be easier if you're a bit younger though (I'm late 30s). wink

You will really need the rest and to get some sleep banked and potter about cooking for the freezer etc. I knew someone who finished at 38 weeks and delivered the next day, and she was gutted she hadn't had at least a week to prepare!

Ebb Wed 29-Oct-08 10:25:04

I'm a nanny and worked until I was 36weeks. I was tired by then - working 8am - 6pm - but it was more the fact that I found it difficult lugging the 5month old baby in her car seat with a huge bump and also bending to bath her etc. If I'd had an office job I possibly would have worked for as long as possible. Ended up having DS at 38wks so glad I had a little rest before hand.

CookieMonster2 Wed 29-Oct-08 10:41:12

First time round I finished at around 35 weeks and then just slept until the baby was born. I really needed that time off, I was becoming totally useless at work. We now get a whole years holiday entitlement and this time I intend to take a years maternity leave so I will take the 25 ish days holiday before the baby is born. I won't feel in the least guilty about it as I know how much I needed that time off before.

Mirry71 Wed 29-Oct-08 14:25:02

This is really interesting - seems most people are going about 36 weeks. I don't have that bad a commute - and work 9.30 to 8ish so tend to miss rush hour on the tube/buses. I do have to go into the office though for my job.
Am lucky cos only work 3 days a week but already the days are beginning to wipe me out....
Keep on having little fantasy that work will somehow magic SMP out of nowhere - but then wake up!

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