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Premature babies: should mums get longer maternity leave? 


If your baby is born prematurely, maternity leave kicks in the day after your child is born. That’s the same rule as it is for a mum whose baby is born at full-term, of course.

But for the mum of a preemie, this could mean that a significant number of your 52 weeks’ leave is eaten up in hospital, where your baby may be in neonatal intensive care. Which obviously means you’ll end up having a shorter time at home with your baby that you’d planned.

For this reason, The Smallest Things premature baby charity has been campaigning for maternity leave to be extended for parents with premature babies – and the government has just announced that it will be working on changing its guidance to employers on how to support employees who have premature babies and how to handle requests for extra time off.

We’d be really interested in what you think about all this.

Do you think mums who have premature babies should get a longer maternity leave, if they want it? Or perhaps you think it’d be a bit unfair that give one set of mums longer over work than others?

Please do let us know by posting a reply to this thread. We’d love to hear your views.



  • My baby was born 12 weeks early, he was in nicu for nearly 4 months. I'm now on my 9th month of maternity leave and of course I'm taking the full year otherwise I would only be at home with my baby for 5 months, which isn't right. i do feel mothers of premature babies should be allowed extra time off,  I feel their maternity leave shouldn't start until their due date and any time they have before this due to their babies premature birth would still be paid. why should we miss out on having the same amount of time with our babies as a mum who had their baby on their due date. Thing is my sons development is taken from his due date so when I do go back to work he's going to be 12 months old but development wise he's going to be 9 months. I know some mums go back at 9 months anyway but the time we've had together hasn't been a full 9 months. 

  • I really think they should luckily it wasn't a issue for me as I didnt go back to my old job. I'd also like to see something in place for high risk mummys too. My last was premature and I'm high risk this time and although I have a very good manager if I were to want extra time off  I get a doctor note it would be unpaid x

  • I completely agree, I have spent 3 months in a NICU now and we probably have at least 1 month left there. I will be having a year off so won't have to go back until January however  I only get paid until September And my partner can't afford everything himself on his wage. Luckily we have a supportive family and have help. I agree that maternity leave should start on your true due date and the rest should be paid as well because you can't help having a baby early. 

  • Definitely!! Fortunately our stay in nicu wasn't too long. But she is so delayed in size and development, she needs her mummy, and I need her. 

    I know women who have had to go back to work just a couple of months after their babies have left nicu, with severe ptsd. And no support. Fortunately I'm not going back to work. But for some people, this isn't an option. X 

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