If you’re a mother-to-be and working full-time, you’ve probably asked yourself, “When should I go on maternity leave?”
Do you take it earlier to give yourself time to rest and prepare for baby, or later, working up until labor so you can spend as much time as possible with baby once he or she is born?
It’s not an easy question to answer, and there isn’t an exact right time to take your leave. It depends so much on your personal and financial circumstances, as well as your employment situation.
With that said, there is a general consensus that, if you can, it is ideal to start maternity leave before your baby is due. According to recent research out of the University of California, Berkeley, women who worked up until their delivery date were more likely to have c-sections. 450 women were studied, all of whom worked full-time, and the comparison was made between those taking leave after the 35th week of pregnancy and those who worked until their due dates. The women who started maternity leave earlier were almost 75% less likely to have a c-section.
“We don’t have a culture in the United States of taking rest before the birth of a child because there is an assumption that the real work comes after the baby is born,” said Sylvia Guendelman, the lead researcher and a professor of maternal and child health at UC Berkeley’s School of Public Health, in a press release. “People forget that mothers need restoration before delivery.” // blogs.wsj.com
Starting your maternity leave before the birth of your child gives you time to prepare, to “nest,” and to avoid the final stage discomfort of being somewhere other than home. You’ll of course have to take into consideration how much leave you have, and the possibility your baby will arrive late – which would mean potential wasted time you could have spent with your baby.
So, when should you go on maternity leave? Really, when it feels right for you and your given circumstances.
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