When should I start my maternity leave? Picking a leave date to start your maternity stay can be difficult, especially if you are experiencing pregnancy symptoms or working in a physically demanding job.
To help make this decision easier we’ve compiled some facts alongside advice on what needs consideration when choosing an opening day for starting days off work while pregnant as well as being attentive towards any potential complications that may arise from taking these specific times off early on during one’s pregnancy.
When to start maternity leave?
The earliest you can start your maternity leave is usually 11 weeks before the due date. However, some people decide to work until their due date before they start their leave. If you also decide to take maternity leave in the last month of your pregnancy due to pregnancy-related complications, your leave will start then. Again, if you go into early labour, your maternity leave will start then too.
When is the latest time I can begin my maternity leave?
Except specified by your employer, you can continue working right up until the day before labour if that’s what feels best for you. Births at work are uncommon but not unheard of; however, it’s always better to take some time off to avoid those last-minute jitters about going on maternity leave and arriving on time with a baby safely delivered.
What should I consider when taking my maternity leave?
How you’re feeling throughout your pregnancy. Every woman’s experience is different, but some common symptoms may impact the way she feels during and after labour: back pain or nausea & vomiting from morning sickness can leave her exhausted; sleep deprivation leads to low moods which could lead her down a path towards depression if untreated – so it’s important not just for mental health outcomes either!
Mood swings caused by an over-taxed emotional system also need attention as well as excessive weight gain due to hormones called adrenocorticotropin hormone released during periods of high stress. If you are experiencing these, you may need to take your maternity leave as early as possible.
But for some, pregnancy is just a breeze, you can just decide to work till whenever you like even to your due date if you want. Other factors that should influence your maternity leave are:
- You travel to work: Commuting to work can be stressful enough with busy and delayed trains or hours spent in traffic, but this is greatly exacerbated when you have a bump to think about too. Not only does the thought of taking off your seatbelt while driving make it difficult for some people who are constantly on their feet all day long, but many also find themselves feeling anxious as they wait at checkpoints where security guards scrutinize passengers before allowing them through onto platforms – not exactly relaxing! If your job involves a long commute that cannot always be avoided (maybe because there’s no other option), consider asking if early leaves would suit better so as avoid nightmare commutes during rush hour times like these.
- If your job is very demanding: if your job is demanding, you may find it difficult working till the due date and an early leave may be way out. Again, if you are allowed to work from home for the latter part of your pregnancy, it could save you a lot of stress and help you work until the last month of your pregnancy.
- Personal plans before birth: One of the reasons why you want to take an early leave may be because you prefer to organize your set and get something sorted out before the due date. It may also be because you need a lot of time to relax before your bundle of joy arrives. All these may influence your choice of the time to start maternity leave. On the other hand, some people are easily bored and do not want to stay alone during pregnancy, such people may decide to continue working as much as they can even to their due date.
- Advice from Friends, Family, and other Mums: Talking to others about their maternity leave experience is an excellent way of learning more about the topic and getting a better understanding. It can also provide some much-needed relief since you have people who are already in your shoes. It is not out of place to ask others in your place of work, church, or even neighbours what their experience during their childbirth was, their experience may shape your decision whether or not to apply for maternity leave early or late. A good example is if you work for a company that doesn’t pay salary or wages during maternity leave, you may decide to work as much as you can.
Can I change my maternity date?
You can change the date of your maternity leave, but you must give 28 days’ notice. If it’s much more difficult for you than expected to keep up with work and usual daily activities, consider bringing forward this period so that there are some extra hours to maintain productivity while pregnant.
Although the choice of when to start maternity leave rest on you, it is important to talk to other people including friends, family, colleagues, and your employer before concluding.