Q from Pregnancy - when to start mat leave?

Hi Ladies,

Hope ypi don't mind me posting here again. I'm only 15 weeks so still have a while to decide but don't know what to do.

I have almost 4 weeks AL that I have to use so will definitely be finishing at 36 - 37 at the latest. But I don't know whether to finish even earlier (32/33 weeks earliest). Mainly because:
1) I HATE my job and they are being really mean to me
2) it will be summer...image
3) It would be nice to have time to myself to sort out lots of stuff and chill out before baby comes.
4) I'm hopefully not going back to work anyway

But will I get really bored if I finish too early. And I suppose it would be good to have money for longer, although thankfully not essential for us.

Can I have thoughts from those of you who have experienced this.


  • Hi - I took off about 5 weeks before my LO arrived. It was the best thing I ever did as I had time to read, relax, shop, swim etc - all the things you don't have time to do for a long time after they arrive! I also had a long journey into work on public transport and knew I probably wouldn't be returning to that job so that made my decision to leave earlier easier. Hope you enjoy your leave!
  • Hi ya

    I was planning to go on Mat leave at 35 weeks but my feet and hands got so swollen I had no choice but to go earlier and I wish I had gone before I did as you need all the rest you can before the little one comes along and by the time I did go I was so exhausted.

    What job do you do? I am a Care Assistant so very tiring as always on my feet and a lot of lifting and pulling and pushing.

    I do 12 hour shifts(which I cut down to one a week after I was 20 weeks) but that meant I was there nearly every day to fit in my contracted hours.

    It will depend on the time how you are feeling and weather you can still carry on working.

    Gem x
  • Hiya, I waited until 36 weeks so i could have as much time as i could before having to return (luckily i'm not actually going back!). I was going to wait untill two weeks before but the month off was lovely and gave me a real chance to chill out.

    I'd wait until the last possible moment to tell your employer so if you need to stay you're not pushed out and vice versa.

    Also remember that if you can accrue your holiday, it is VV helpful for when money gets a bit shorter after not working for a while. You could "work" for however long you have, take it off as holiday, then quit. xx
  • Hi if your not going back then personally id leave at 35 weeks. so you get a nice break but still bit more money

    It will be many years before you can enjoy your own company, just sitting in the sunshine so id enjoy it

  • hi I officially started mat leave at 38 weeks but it was so hot where i was working that i used holiday that i had left and finished at 36 weeks.
    I didnt get bored because we had just moved to a new place so i spent my days painting and decorating.
    Definatly use the time before baby to do all the things you wont be able to do when he/she comes, make the most of it!
    And Congrats on bump!
  • on my first pregnancy i left at 35wks was going to have 5wks holiday then start maternity leave on my due date but i left on the tues and went in to labour on the wednesday,on this pregnancy i left at 30wks cos i was having twins and was in that much pain and was having 6wks hol,then strarting ml but a week after leaving i went in to labour 31wks and had them 9wks early,i never got the chance to be bored but i was looking forward to having a good rest before the lo's were born but it didnt turn out like that :lol:

  • I finished at 37wks, but lo was 10days late so after nearly 5wks off work before he arrived i was going round the twist with boredom. I would wait and see how you feel. Mainly I was bored cos I had bad SPD and cou;dn't really do too much so it might have been ok if I was out and about more. S x
  • I left work at 37 weeks and in retrospect I should have gone off a bit sooner, as although I had an easy pregnancy and felt well I was beginning to get tired, achy and emotional (I'm a teacher and spent a lot of time on my feet). A few days into mat leave I felt much better.

    Next time I think I'll go off earlier, perhaps 35 or so weeks, as although I don't really believe in wrapping yourself up in cotton wool just because you're pregnant I do think I needed to look after myself a bit better than I was towards the end of my pregnancy and not try to do everything I always did as usual.
  • Thanks ladies. This is really helpful. I'm now thinking I will set provisional leaving for 35 weeks. That way I will only actually be using a week of actual mat leave and won't be off for ages and ages and get bored.
    Like you say I can always see if I can change it nearer the time. I work in HR asnd ironically we wend up having to follow the rules me than anyone else so I have to give 15 weeks notice to start with and then can give 28 days notice to change it.
    Wish I had a crystal ball...!
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