by Sarah J.F. Braley | September 01, 2007

IllustrationAre you pregnant? Congratulations! Now is the time to start preparing for maternity leave. The following tips come from Linda Murray, editor in chief of BabyCenter (

Requesting leave. You are required to request leave at least 30 days before you plan to take it, but most women do so much earlier. Do wait until after the end of the first trimester, when the risk of miscarriage goes down significantly.

Ensuring continuity. If you approach your boss with a specific plan and allow her plenty of time to help you implement it, you’ll be able to ensure things run smoothly while you’re out.

When to leave. There’s no “right” time to stop working. A lot will depend on your energy level, any complications that arise, and the stress and physical labor your job requires. Still, if you leave too soon, your allotted time might run out quickly after your baby is born.

Returning to work. If possible, get back to the grind gradually. Some new mothers might work one or two days a week at first, and gradually ramp up to a full schedule after a few weeks.