My feed

to access all these features

Get updates on how your baby develops, your body changes, and what you can expect during each week of your pregnancy by signing up to the Mumsnet Pregnancy Newsletters.


Early maternity leave - opinions please!

51 replies

Rachel12551 · 26/07/2020 10:47

Hi everyone

I am thinking about starting my maternity leave early at 29 weeks. Reasons for this are because of the ongoing affects of the virus (I work as a retail manager so am customer facing every day) and also to ensure I don't get too tired as I am on my feet 9 hours a day. It also gives me chance to get organised and plan a baby shower etc which is hard as I am working most weekends at the moment.

I was just wondering if you could share your experiences, when you chose to go on maternity leave and would you have chosen to if/when pregnant again.

I know every pregnancy is different I just wanted to get a bit of advice Smile

Thank you Biscuit

OP posts:
HoneyWheeler · 26/07/2020 10:50

It will have huge implications for you financially. I started my first mat leave at 37 weeks, but then my son was two weeks late, so I had five weeks off, and personally I was so fed up and bored waiting I wanted to stab my own eyes out.

As far as I know, your work need to be able to make sure you are able to strictly socially distance from 28 weeks - if this is not possible at work then they should put you on alternative duties, and if that is not possible then they should 'suspend' you on full pay.

HoneyWheeler · 26/07/2020 10:51

Also your work should be doing an up to date risk assessment - you need to be able to have more frequent breaks if you're on your feet all day!

peachypetite · 26/07/2020 10:52

It’s up to your employer to make the environment safe for you. Also, baby shower probably isn’t the best idea right now unless you mean a virtual one?

Teacaketotty · 26/07/2020 10:54

It totally depends on how long leave you can afford to take or if your have enhanced maternity?

I had DD at 35 weeks so was still working at the time, next time I will try to finish at 36 weeks if I can. Ultimately there is no way to know when your baby will come but your work should be making it safe for you and giving you alternative duties if they can’t, office work etc.

Personally I would go a while longer if you can, you could still be pregnant for another 11+ weeks, a lot of people in manual jobs seem to go around 34 weeks if you can afford it. I only got stat maternity pay so wanted to work right up till birth if I could!

Parker231 · 26/07/2020 10:54

Unless for medical reasons you’ll get very bored starting maternity leave so early and it’s a bit financial hit which could impact into how long you can have off work when the baby arrives.

How are you doing your baby shower? By zoom?

blvdbrokendreams · 26/07/2020 11:01

I've been furloughed since I was 15 weeks pregnant. When my work reopened I was 32 weeks and they decided to not bring me back. Just straight from furlough to maternity. Like previous posters have said the boredom is driving me mad. Im 35 weeks now and have been counting down days since I was 22 weeks

sel2223 · 26/07/2020 11:01

Do you have annual leave you can take first? My maternity leave doesn't start till 38 weeks but I took a few weeks holiday first, primarily because of the covid/returning to work situation.

Galaxycat · 26/07/2020 11:02

@Rachel12551 it’s entirely up to you and your finances.

Personally I wouldn’t as it mean I’d have to go back earlier before the baby was one if you take a year, you could also be two weeks late so that would mean 13 weeks off work.

Have you got any annual leave to use up before mat leave?

Prettylittlelady · 26/07/2020 11:02

I’m currently 28 weeks and I’ll be taking maternity at 38 weeks, if she’s late I could have up to a month off anyway, I could never afford taking it that early and it’s more important to me to have time with her than to waste the weeks and then have to go back while she’s still tiny.
I’m assuming the baby shower will be virtual especially if you’re uncomfortable being around people at work.

Scubalubs87 · 26/07/2020 11:09

Most people I know start their maternity leave as late as physically possible. Financially it is much better to do so and means you’re likely to have more paid maternity leave off with your child.

rottiemum88 · 26/07/2020 11:17

It's not a popular opinion OP, but I did this and have no regrets.

I was in absolute agony from around 25-26 weeks with my ribs when sat at my desk at work (can't even imagine the torture of being on my feet all day) and ended up bringing my mat leave forward to start at 29 weeks. I was due in mid January so had a lovely, relaxed build up to Christmas, spent my time present shopping and relaxing at home, generally got plenty of sleep and prepared everything for the nursery etc.

I went back to work full time when DS was 7.5 months, which I also don't regret, it was the perfect amount of time for me and he settled well at nursery from day one.

Admittedly I was fortunate that my employer offered a really good maternity leave package (6 months full pay, 3 months half pay) and we'd saved for my mat leave anyway so it didn't have any financial impact. Do what you feel will work best for you Smile

sunlight81 · 26/07/2020 11:24

The earlier u go on leave, the earlier u have to go back to work .... u May regret it.

Rachel12551 · 26/07/2020 11:29

Thanks for your advice Smile

I have looked into the financial impact. I will have 6 weeks full pay and the statutory after that for 33 weeks taking me to June-ish next year when baby will be around 7 months. Financially we have accounted for this and should be fine.

I would love for my employer to refurlough me at 28 weeks (my midwife has told me I shouldn't be working with customers beyond this and there isn't any office/at home work to be done - I have discussed with my area manager already) however my employer is not willing to do this making me a bit stuck and worried for safety in the workplace.

And yes baby shower is just close family in my bubble but I would still like to have one at some point Smile

OP posts:
Metallicalover · 26/07/2020 11:33

I left at 33 weeks and till annual leave until baby was born at 37+6. This was due to complications in pregnancy and requiring weekly scans as well as consultant and midwife appointments (it was 2-3 appointments a week!). I'm going back to work this week after 13.5 months off and its gone by very quickly!
I would recommend leaving a little later. How long do you plan on having off? I found the last couple of weeks before hand getting organised good. I'm not a baby shower kind of person but I do know they are important to people!
Unless your baby shower is virtual I wouldn't have one as being heavily pregnant you are more at risk of covid and complications especially regards to lung capacity.

peachypetite · 26/07/2020 11:34

They don’t have to furlough you but should move you to other duties.

Rachel12551 · 26/07/2020 11:38


They don’t have to furlough you but should move you to other duties.

This is ideally what I would like but apparently there is no other option. Staff levels are so low since the lockdown that I am needed on the shop floor all the time. They seem to think if I am wearing a mask I am fully protected and I'm just not comfortable. It's bad enough going to the shop for an hour - I am facing 700-1000 customers per day, handling money and returns and there is no real social distancing.
OP posts:
peachypetite · 26/07/2020 11:39

Do you have annual leave to take to finish early but not start maternity leave?

Boomclaps · 26/07/2020 11:42

Honestly I am on mat leave (started at 37+3) and I’m so bored.
I wish I had waited until next week.

borisjohnsonsstylist · 26/07/2020 11:44

Yes, taking mat leave earlier will have financial implications, but I started mine at 32ish weeks with my first as it was the best thing for me. This is what you need to consider, what's best for you?

As for getting bored? Not a chance. I rested, I watched box sets, I had naps, I went for lunches and on walks. I knew that after the birth I wouldn't be 'alone' for a very long time so I made the most of it.

Work was a having a huge affect on my physical and mental health. My midwife wanted me to reduce my working hours but as I was contracted to work in excess of 40 hours a week, even reducing by an hour a day with a shorter lunch meant I was still doing 37.5 hour week.

There are people out there who will want you to think you've failed if you don't work up until your waters break. Ignore them. If you can afford to then nest, relax and either enjoy time alone or extra time with children you already have. With annual leave I was able to take a total of 13.5 months of work, it was marvellous.

roarfeckingroar · 26/07/2020 12:03

I'm 29 weeks today and not planning on going on mat leave for another 9 weeks!

As you say, every pregnancy is different. I really don't feel the need right now and would rather have that time with baby on full pay than use it now and be down to SMP soon.

Hatscats · 26/07/2020 12:08

I’d be bored, I’m planning on finishing at 38 weeks and using some holiday to do some 4 day weeks until then. Office job though.
But then I have horses so have no choice but to be on my feet doing jobs until the birth anyway! 😂

Dollywilde · 26/07/2020 12:14

I finished at 35 weeks - but that’s using 5 weeks of annual leave (my full year’s allocation) and then starting ML on my due date. Now 38 weeks and no sign of baby yet!

Personally I’ve not found it boring yet 3 weeks in, although DH is working from home so I’m probably being a bit more proactive than if he wasn’t - less time spent in jogging bottoms on the sofa! But I guess that could all change in the next 2 (or even 4) weeks until baby arrives...

AlviesMam · 26/07/2020 12:15

I'm taking mine at 34 weeks. Saving my holidays.
I manage a spa and still do treatments. I could potentially be massaging 10-15 clients per day. I start back there on Thursday so will be asking for some extra breaks in my risk assessment. I'm on a 45 hour contract so with my workload I feel like 34 weeks is sensible and isn't too early and it's not leaving it too late.

Flowerpot26 · 26/07/2020 12:17

With my first I left my job at 34 weeks, I was so glad, I did long hours with a 2 hour commute, we were also having building work done so I cudnt rest on my days off, baby also arrived a week early.
I didn't get bored at all with the time I had, I caught up with friends, I tried to sleep I folded and refolded the baby clothes!
I'm now 30 weeks pregnant now sahm with a toddler, it's so different!! No rest at all 🙂, take the time enjoy!!

Catherine1210 · 26/07/2020 12:54

I’ve stopped work at 28 weeks, no regrets here. I live far away from my family and haven’t seen them since Feb, going to see them for 2 weeks, fitting in seeing friends that I haven’t see because of covid. I can get the house and baby stuff all prepared without feeling rushed. I’m happy to go back to work when the baby is 5 months old for 2 days a week and financially I can afford to stop work at 28 weeks.

So decide on your own personal circumstances, if it works for you, do it! What others did in different circumstances with different finances/ at home set ups shouldn’t influence your decision xx

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.