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Maternity Leave - When Is The Right Time To Take It?

Ambili S Kartha

Created by Ambili S Kartha
Updated on Jun 10, 2021

Maternity Leave When Is The Right Time To Take It
Reviewed by Expert panel

If you are a working woman, the first thing that probably crosses your mind when your pregnancy is confirmed is to get the facts right about maternity leave. Most women, especially the first time mothers, will be little confused about the best time to take maternity leave. Most women prefer to be with the baby more. They want to delay it as far as possible. They might be very eager to know how long before the due date they should start maternity leave.

What Is Maternity Leave?

Maternity leave refers to a period of permitted absence from work for a mother before and after giving birth to her child, which intended for safe delivery and taking care of the newborn. Maternity leave can range anywhere from quite a few weeks to months. It totally depends on the organization she works for.

Why Is Maternity Leave Important?

Every mother must take sufficient maternity leave. It is crucial for not only the health of the mother but for the newborn’s health as well.

  • 10 – 15% of women are prone to postpartum depression and joining work immediately after delivery will increase the risk of developing postpartum depression several folds
  • During the last weeks of gestation, most of the mothers might come across with lack of sleep, back pain, heartburn, and many other discomforts. Working with such issues will affect both the work and health of the mother. It’s a period to take some rest and prepare mentally and physically for the approaching delivery and handling the little one thereafter
  • According to doctors, after a normal delivery (without any complications), a woman must rest for a minimum of six weeks. After a C-section fully recover may need more time than this. The maternity leave helps the mother to take ample rest after delivery
  • Several sharp hormonal changes occur during the postpartum period. Women who resume work shortly after childbirth contributes to anxiety, depression and adversely affect the overall health of the mother
  • It is reported that women with 3-month-old infants who worked full-time contract greater rates of depression, stress, poor health and (overall) stress than mothers who were able to stay home by means of maternity leave
  • Maternity leave helps the mother to feed her child timely, which not only helps in the growth and enhancing immunity of the baby, but also builds an emotional bond between the mum and baby. It is a well- known fact that the children who are being breastfed well in the early period of life will lead a healthier life afterward

It is also reported that if the mother starts working earlier, the newborns in many cases, exhibit some delay in achieving developmental milestones. They are more prone to ill health (lack proper breastfeeding) even death. Maternity leave has been found to decrease infant mortality rate by as much as 10 percent!

When Can I Take Maternity Leave?

In fact, there’s no best time to start maternity leave. There are several factors that influence the decision when to start maternity leave. It depends mostly on the expecting mother’s energy levels, how easy or difficult the pregnancy turns out after the first and second trimester and the stress (both physical and mental) of the job. Sometimes your financial situation also impacts the decision when to go maternity leave.

A lot of women opt to take their leave between 32-36 weeks gestation. The earliest time to start maternity leave is 11 weeks before the due date. That’s in-between the seven and the eighth month of the pregnancy. However, most women need more time with their baby. In that case, if you are having a normal pregnancy and you are healthy and fit, you can even work until a week before your due date.

Utmost Till When I Can Delay Taking The Maternity Leave?

You can continue working until your due date if you wanted to. However, if your work puts a physical and emotional toll on you, even if you are having a healthy pregnancy, it is better to take your maternity leave a week or two before your due date. This will help to ensure the safe, planned arrival of your baby. On the other hand, if you are in a position to opt “work from home” you can continue working as close to your due date as possible.

Maternity Leave In India:

In India, according to The Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Act 2016,

  • Maternity leave is raised from 12 weeks to 26 weeks (conversely, a woman who is a mother to two or more children is entitled to 12 weeks’ maternity leave only)
  • 12 weeks of adoption leave is allowed to a woman who adopts a child under the age of three months

The new law will be relevant to all agricultural, commercial or industrial establishments or shops employing 10 or more people. Any woman working in such establishments is entitled to benefits under the Act.

Did you like the blog? Did you find it useful? Do share your thoughts with us in the comments section below; we’d love to hear from you.

This content has been checked & validated by Doctors and Experts of the parentune Expert panel. Our panel consists of Neonatologist, Gynecologist, Peadiatrician, Nutritionist, Child Counselor, Education & Learning Expert, Physiotherapist, Learning disability Expert and Developmental Pead.

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| Jun 12, 2018

Maternity Leave is very important for every woman. At this time period it is very important to take rest and it is safe for your baby also.

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| Jul 02, 2018

ok k0li8kp

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| Jul 06, 2019

hi i am 28 weeks pregnant but my amniotic fluid is very low about AFI is just 2. it is due to leaking of water from vigina. what should i do?

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| Jul 11, 2019


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| Jul 13, 2019

i am 8month pregnant which food most i eat

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| Aug 31, 2019


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