Slowing Down Before Delivery

Many pregnant women today, especially first-time mothers, work right up to their due dates. Some even go into labor at work.

In our society, there is often little support for women who want to take more time off before their babies are due. Women have to ration their maternity leave since many have only 2-3 months and save most of it to be with their new baby. Given these circumstances, most women choose to work late into their pregnancies.

Health professionals agree that there is no right time to begin maternity leave, but for most women, the more time off before they give birth, the better. They cite the following factors:

Get Enough Rest
Rest is very important during pregnancy. Try to get eight hours of sleep each night, and, if possible, take a nap in the afternoon. Lie on your left side with a pillow between your legs for comfort and to allow blood to flow to your uterus. In the last trimester of pregnancy, put a pillow underneath your belly for support and to relieve the strain on your back while lying on your side.
Physical and emotional well-being
 - A couple of weeks off before the birth is beneficial. Take the time to exercise, nap and eat well.

Transition time between "jobs" - Taking care of a newborn is a full-time job. It's helpful to have time off before beginning your new life with your baby.

Planning ahead - Use the opportunity to explore resources such as child care, pediatricians and breastfeeding help, and to read about labor, delivery and the transition to motherhood.

Financial concerns - Many families benefit from taking the opportunity to re-assess their financial needs and to consider how they can make do with less.