How long in advance should I start Maternity Leave?


Sorry for gatecrashing this forum, but thinking you ladies who have recently given birth are best placed to answer my query. I am currently just debating when to start my maternity leave...I know some people work right up to the due date and others take considerable time off before. I do a desk job in an office about 30 minutes drive from shopping about 4 weeks before edd about right? Or should I stop before that? When did you stop?

E xx


  • I've got a part time office job and a 2 year old DS. We're planning to ttc soon and I will (health allowing, but I had no probs with ds) work until I go into labour. I only work 5 min drive from home. I'd then plan to have 6 months off.

    I was unemployed when pg with DS but if I was a first time mum now, I would want to have at least 2-4 weeks before due date.

    It's nice to have that time to relax, prepare and pamper yourself before baby arrives, if you're a first timer! xx

  • I am due in november and i am finishing 4 weeks before due date so i think thats fine.I am a nurse though and have quite a physical job so hope i don't struggle!!x
  • i finished at 32 weeks with spd. my mat leave kicked in at 36 weeks.
  • i had planned to start my Mat Leave 3 weeks before my due date but the day after i left work my waters broke and he was born the following morning! in hindsight i wished i had stopped a month before as i ended up with no time to get organised or relax! on the upside he was here well before christmas on the 3rd Dec rather than his due date of the 21st!
  • This is a really sore subject for me, I agreed to finish work 2 weeks before my dd as we were launching a big project however I went for my 38 week mw appt and my BP was so high they decided to take me in and induce me (1 day before I was due to finish.)

    For a while I felt really cheated out of my couple of weeks of down time and I just felt shattered having gone straight from work to being induced to having a baby, although I wouldn't change it now I would really recommend finishing at least a month before.

    A very wise midwife said to me that maternity leave isn;t just for the baby it's also for you before the baby arrives and you should make sure you take the time to rest before this huge event in your life.

    Because I was so taken off guard my poor husband had to go and buy nursing bras and do all the babies washing so he probably wished I'd finished earlier too!

    Enjoy your pregnancy..x
  • it used to a case of women finished at 7 months and knitted for baby, as my mum told me frequently. i loved having so much time before.
  • Wow - that's lots of quick responses! Thank you so much - I think I'll stick with my 4 weeks before (plus that way I get the added bonus of guaranteeing Christmas off!!!). Exx
  • I finished at 30 weeks for various reasons (mainly my desire to sit on my a*se and watch daytime TV for a few weeks - well, quite a few weeks!) before LO arrived. I loved it - had so much time to get things ready, decorate nursery, catch up with friends, etc. Don't regret it for a second x
  • I worked up until 36 weeks and while I deffo wanted to have some downtime before LO arrived I did get a bit bored if i'm being honest. But it was when all the snow was here so I couldn't really leave the house much!! If I was expecting again i'd probably leave 2 weeks before my due date and think that would be about right given the bubs may well be a bit late. I might even work right up to due date as I would love a few extra weeks with LO now before I go back to work x

  • I had to finish at 32 weeks due to SPD, but luckily had holiday to take do my mat leave started at 36 weeks. I was pretty much bed ridden then until DS was born at 41+6!!! I'll admit I got bored as I was on my own all day, but think if it hadn't been for the SPD I'd have loved it and would have just savoured the last few weeks if bump and me!

    Enjoy and good luck!
  • i haven't had baby yet (am 38 wks) but i worked to 34 weeks and am really pleased i stopped when i did!
  • Hi with dd1 i was unemployed before i had her. with Lizzie I started maternity leave at 36 weeks (had her at 39 weeks) but i took 2 weeks annual leave before that and about 4 weeks before that were study weeks (i was at uni) so i didnt do much work (only study based at home) for about 10 weeks before i had her BUT to be fair I was very unwell during pregnany with breathing problems. IF we have another I want to work up as far as I can possibliy manage! x
  • I finished at 37 weeks which was fine for me. I was getting a bit bored by the end of the third week so I was glad she arrived on time!
  • I finished at 35 weeks and tbh 34 would probably have been better. I had and hour and a half commute to work and spent all day on my feet as a nurse though. I had 4 weeks annual leave then my mat leave started 5days before my due date- ds decided to come 9 days early, had he been late and were we not in the middle of moving house I probably wouldn't even consider having been off longer x
  • I worked until 38 weeks with DD (am a teacher of 5 and 6 year olds). I had DD at 39 weeks so only a week off! This time I am also working until 38 weeks this time. xx
  • I worked up until I was 39 weeks, despite having had spd. My theory was it would hurt more if I sat on my arse and didn't move!
    Within 3days of finishing work I went into labour image

    I think it depends whether you like sitting down and waiting for little one to arrive, I am so impatient I would rather be busy!

    Good luck!
  • i was a waitress/barmaid in a really busy restaurant and i finished at 32 weeks because i felt i couldnt physically take it any more. i kept bumping into stuff, couldnt squeeze between the gaps between chairs if people sat funny and i was on my feet for 8 hours stretches at a time with just a 30min sit down halfway through. if i was sitting down i would have worked til the last minute but i also have a 3 year old and it got to the point where i was getting up at 6.30am to get him to pre-school on time (and we live close enough to the pre-school that it is a waste of time to drive but still quite a knackering walk up a hill), getting to work, picking him up from my mums on the way home and going straight to bed i was sooooo tired!the last straw was when i went to pick him up from my mums and i sat down and my feet ballooned and my mum just looked at me and said enough was enough and that i looked awful (thanks mum hehe!). so i left at 32weeks and it was such a relief, i actually cried i was so happy!i was trying to get to 35weeks to guarentee i was off over xmas but my boss is letting me take all my holiday pay after the maternity leave so i dont have to start back til january. if you physically feel you can stay at work then do it, but if you cant, dont work yourself up over it like me, its just not worth it!

    sorry for ramling on and on and on and on.....

    archie 3
    and phoebe 12weeks
  • I finished at 36 weeks and I must admit I wish I had finished 2 weeks earlier as from 34 weeks I was finding work really tiring (although I am a teacher so it is a bit more active job and at 34 weeks we had just had the Ofsted 20 day notice - so my last 2 weeks were really stressful).
    It is so hard to know how you will feel by then, but I think it is nice to have some time to just relax and get excited before the baby arrives is lovely. As one of my colleagues said, with your first baby it is the only time you really get to relax as once you have your baby it is busy busy, and then with subsequent babies you have other children to look after!
  • With dd1 I finished at 39 weeks, I only worked a couple of hours in the morning to hand over and then went to a mw appt in the afternoon and was told I would have to be induced that day due to high bp and traces of protein in my urine.

    With dd2 I also finshed at 39+3 and she was 7 days late.

    I was lucky enough that with my job I was able to be fairly flexible with my hours and take regular breaks. I wanted to work right up to the end so I would have as much time as possible with lo before I had to return to work.

    Sophie+archie, can't believe they only gave you a 30 min break in 8 hours, thats really tight. I run a pub and restaurant and would never treat a pg employee like that.
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