Taking your list of to-dos one by one before maternity leave can help you cross those items off without too much stress. Here's what you should know and how to get started!

How Does Maternity Leave Work? What to Know Before Taking Leave

First of all, be sure you thoroughly read your employer's parental leave policy handbook. You should be aware of any conditions - such as length and/or type of employment – and reach out to your Human Resources department with any questions. Here are some important points to consider:

  • Short-Term Disability

See if your company offers short-term disability benefits that you can use during maternity leave. If they do offer a short-term disability plan, check to see if you can receive a portion of your pay if you are unable to work due to pregnancy or postpartum healing.

  • Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Aside from reviewing how FMLA benefits employees, you'll also want to know how you can take unpaid, job-protected leave for medical or family reasons, including the birth of your child. 

  • Employer-Provided Paid Leave

As more working parents are demanding sustainable work-life balances, organizations are realizing that paid parental leave is an essential benefit for creating a supportive company culture that values their working parent employees. The Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that employers are catching on and about 25% of U.S. workers at businesses with 500 or more employees now have access to paid family leave that includes both maternity and paternity leave.

Things To Do Before The Baby Arrives

After reviewing and understanding your workplace right, you may start getting everything sorted at work for your parental leave. Ensuring these 3 key considerations below are completed ahead of time can give you a little extra peace of mind, so you can relax in the days leading up to your baby's due date!

  • Prepare a Work Transition Plan for Colleagues Covering for You

Prepare a bulleted list of all your responsibilities and ongoing projects, so it can be easily shared with your colleagues before you go on maternity leave. Aim to send the list out as soon as possible prior to your leave. 

  • Talk to Your Manager About Flexible Working Options

Discuss with your manager and Human Resources what your options may be for flexible working during your last week before your expected due date. Being able to work remotely until your baby arrives can be a godsend to moms who feel uncomfortable at the tail end of pregnancy.

  • BONUS – Other Important Things to Do Before Maternity Leave

You may start preparing for your hospital bag at least TWO weeks before your expected date of delivery. This is because there are instances when labor may occur before the 36th week of pregnancy. Here’s a list of the most important things you need in your postpartum hospital bag checklist:

  1. Moon pillow so you can sleep comfortably
  2. Nursing bra and breast pads for breastfeeding your baby.
  3. Underwear to keep you feeling fresh (if you have a C-section)
  4. Nursing pajamas in case you don’t like the robe the hospital provides.
  5. Postnatal belly band to stabilize your C-section wound and improve uterus and muscle recovery

This is such an exciting time, mama! Hopefully, these tips will help you get organized and cross a few boxes off your to-do list, so you can enjoy your new role as a parent!