Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Health & Pregnancy

Font Size

Getting Ready for Maternity Leave

Not planning your maternity leave ahead of time is like leaving on vacation without any reservations. As soon as you get pregnant -- or even when you start planning for pregnancy -- it's a good idea to find out what your employer's leave policies are and to set a schedule to get ready for your departure.

Doesn't Everyone Get Maternity Leave?

According to the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, All U.S. companies that employ 50 or more people must offer employees expecting a baby at least 12 weeks of leave. Unfortunately, the time is not required to be paid. Your state may offer additional coverage beyond what the federal law guarantees.

Only 8% of U.S. companies offer any paid maternity leave, which means it's likely that you'll either be going back to work before you really feel ready, or you'll be taking unpaid leave.

Plan for Your Partner's Leave, Too

The Family and Medical Leave Act applies to partners, too, so talk with your partner about the leave he or she can get from work. Make sure the two of you discuss these issues before your due date gets too close:

  • Do you want your partner to take time off while you're first home with your baby?
  • Would you rather your partner take leave after you return to work, so you can hold off a little longer on needing child care?
  • What other work options might help you and your partner adjust to parenthood?

Talk With Your Employer

In addition to taking official maternity leave, you may be able to accumulate more time off by using vacation time, sick leave, disability, or other kinds of personal leave time. Find out what's allowed.

You can also ask your employer about options for when you return that might give you more time with your baby, such as:

  • Flexible hours (perhaps you can come back part-time at first)
  • Work-from-home options
  • Job sharing

If you have any trusted co-workers who have already gone through maternity leave, ask them:

  • How they managed work and taking care of their newborn
  • Which job strategies worked best for them
  • What they wish they had done differently

Pregnancy Week-By-Week Newsletter

Delivered right to your inbox, get pictures and facts on
what to expect each week of your pregnancy.

Today on WebMD

hand circling date on calendar
Track your most fertile days.
woman looking at ultrasound
Week-by-week pregnancy guide.
Pretty pregnant woman timing contaction pains
The signs to watch out for.
pregnant woman in hospital
Are there ways to do it naturally?
slideshow fetal development
pregnancy first trimester warning signs
What Causes Bipolar
Woman trying on dress in store
pregnant woman
Close up on eyes of baby breastfeeding
healthtool pregnancy calendar
eddleman prepare your body pregnancy