Many women wonder if working up until their pregnancy due date is safe for their health and the health of their unborn child. The answer is not the same for all pregnant women, because all pregnancies are different. There are several factors to consider when choosing when to leave work on maternity leave, but the most important is overall health.
How long is your maternity leave?
Some women choose to stick it out at work as long as possible because maternity leave starts as soon as they leave work during pregnancy. If you have only 6 to 8 weeks off for maternity leave, it may be impossible to send the last 6 weeks of pregnancy at home just waiting for the baby to arrive. As long as work does not include heavy lifting, sitting for long periods, frequent squatting, chemicals or intense stress, there is no reason to take off early to protect the baby.
How is your overall health?
If there have been no complications during the pregnancy, there is no reason to leave work before labor begins. Many women choose to stay at work until the day before a scheduled C-section, schedule induction or the moment their water breaks. As long as you have the permission of your attending obstetrician, feel free to continue going to work.
Can you drive to work in the latter stages of pregnancy?
Driving to work is of greater concern than working, in some cases. The distance between the steering wheel and your abdomen will shrink during pregnancy. By the latter stages of pregnancy, the seatbelt does not fit correctly and the space between the steering wheel and your abdomen may disappear altogether. In this case, it is safer to have someone else drive you to work rather than driving yourself.
Can you telecommute?
Telecommuting options are more plentiful today than just five years ago. Many companies encourage employees to telecommute one or two days a week to cut down on office costs. If your company supports telecommuting, ask about working from home a week or two before your due date. As long as you are logging hours, you will not be using up much-needed maternity leave.
Working during pregnancy is a responsibility some women must face. If your family depends on your income, leaving work early to prepare for baby may not be an option. As long as your pregnancy is not high-risk and you are in good overall health, you should have no problem continuing to work as long as you desire before the baby is born.