Can You Work Up To your Due Date…?
Can you work up to your due date when you are pregnant? How long before your due date should you stop working? Can you work up to 39 weeks pregnant? What’s the legal perspective when it comes to work?
I’ve been thinking about this over the past few days in light of Holly Whilloughby’s admission that she is working up to due date – her due date – with her third pregnancy.
Then some important breaking news happened, so my interview didn’t (and it remains that the first and last time I was on the radio was when I was very young – the dizzy heights of Radio Shropshire no less, talking about the Fergie and Prince Andrew Royal Wedding, way way back in the swirly mists of time).
But I think Holly W’s announcement is a really interesting topic, and clearly one that is of interest as there has been so much coverage. So…working right up to your due date – should you? And if not, when’s the best time to go off work and on to maternity leave?
Can You Work Up To Your Due Date Legally?
First things first, you are legally allowed to work up to your due date – IF you want to. It’s up to you to decide when you want to start maternity leave.
However, you’re sick with a pregnancy-related illness in the last four weeks before your due date, your employer can start your maternity leave at once.
Like most things pregnancy, it’s an entirely personal choice, isn’t it? It’s likely to depend on a complex combination of factors including how you feel physically and emotionally, the type of pregnancy you’re having, the job you do, and often, all things financial.
How Long I Worked With My First Pregnancy
First time round, I put my out of office on for maternity leave in mid-December, at about 34 weeks. This was very early, but as I was due in January, Christmas seemed like a natural break. I also accrued about two weeks holiday which I used at this point.
In my first pregnancy, I was working in central London with an hours commute via train and tube each way. I found work and the daily commute stressful and exhausting at that point, so was more than ready to finish work.
I had a great six or so weeks buying all the last minute baby bits, seeing my NCT friends, and lounging around on the sofa watching terrible TV thinking “is THIS IT?” at every twinge.
Finishing Work With My Second Pregnancy – Working Freelance
With my second pregnancy, things are really different. I’m self-employed, which is brilliant when you have children, but means I don’t have the nice comfortable maternity pay package I did last time.
Part of what I do is this blog and blogging, which won’t take a hiatus just because I am. And as the post-baby time is more important, I’m likely to be working right up until the last minute. Or, at least, a week or so before.
However, I’m incredibly lucky to feel pretty good at the moment, having spent the last few days raging a one woman war on the unspeakably awful woodchip wallpaper that haunts our hallways *flexes muscles*. Despite still having lots of risk factors, I’m having a much less difficult pregnancy than last time; touch wood it stays that way. I really enjoy work, and find that looking after a toddler is more exhausting and my work days – admittedly, sat in front on a laptop, often on a sofa, in my own home – more of a break. So it’s not all bad.
What’s The Answer With Pregnancy And Work?
Obviously I can’t speak for Holly Willoughby, but as it’s her third pregnancy she must know her own body and limits – so if she wants to work right up to when she has the baby, why not? Pregnancy isn’t an illness, so if you feel up to working really close to your due date, why shouldn’t you?
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