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Getting Ready for Maternity Leave

Plan Now for How to Limit Your Availability

In our tech-savvy society, many people feel they are never really "off the grid." As a new mom, you might feel obligated to respond to "urgent" requests from the office for help.

To avoid feeling harried during your leave, take time to plan before you go. A few weeks ahead of your planned departure date:

  • Delegate your responsibilities to co-workers for the time you're away. Prepare detailed notes that will guide them through the responsibilities they'll be covering.
  • Have a "just in case" plan if complications arise that may require a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) stay, bed rest, or serious postpartum complications that could leave you in the hospital for 10 days instead of two.
  • Share your plan and notes with your boss to get approval.
  • Set up an "auto reply" message on your work email account and phone, directing people to your teammates who are taking on your tasks in your absence.

If you're planning to go back to work, strategize how to make your return easy without giving up anything from your leave time.

  • For the first couple of weeks, stay out of contact with your workplace (except for calls of congratulations or calls to thank them for flowers or balloon bouquets). No matter how you deliver your baby, you'll be exhausted. Even if you want to contribute to your workplace, you probably won't be in any shape to do so.
  • After those first couple of weeks, check in with work periodically to see how things are going and to make sure you're up to speed when you return.

The more planning you do in advance, the more you'll be able to enjoy those precious early days with your baby!

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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Nivin Todd, MD on June 18, 2014

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