Calling all soon-to-Be Moms: Prepping for Maternity Leave, Your Pre-Baby To Do List


By Paige Hobey


Sometime during your third trimester, your attention shifts from heartburn-minimizing snacks and slimming extra-large maternity tops to life beyond pregnancy. Or if you’re adopting, you’ll have the same sense of urgency in the weeks before your big call. Your impending transition to parenthood comes into focus—and the view can be a little daunting.



Prevent panic by following this guide to your final pre-baby days. It covers all the important details—from pre-maternity leave logistics to childbirth prep, from selecting a pediatrician to scheduling post-baby visitors (a.k.a. your newborn care support team).


Feel free to print it and check items off as you go.



□ By about three months before your due date, try to meet with someone in human resources and confirm your company’s approach to maternity leave.




Questions for Human Resources:



1. How many paid and unpaid days do I receive under our parental leave policy?

2. Do I qualify for short-term disability (STD) coverage (either from your employer or the state)? If so, how many weeks and what portion of my salary is covered?

3. Do I qualify for any supplemental coverage if I need to go on bed rest or experience childbirth complications that require extended recovery time?

4. How many vacation, sick, and personal days have I accrued? Can I borrow from future vacation days?

5. Will my insurance benefits continue during my time at home? Will my child be covered at birth, or do I need to fill in some forms to add the baby to our health care plan?


□ If your employer doesn’t offer fully paid leave (and few do), calculate how much unpaid leave you can afford to take. If needed, consider a gradual return to work to extend your time at home.



□ Begin exploring your post-maternity leave work options, such as flextime or part-time, by talking to your manager and colleagues.



□ Start researching childcare options.



□ By about two months before your due date, submit a maternity leave request (and plan for returning to work).


□ Remind dad to request paternity leave or, if nothing else, schedule vacation or personal days so he can be home for a while after the baby’s birth.


□ In the last month before your due date, plan for your impending departure:


  • Remind your boss of your timing and explain your plan for the transition.
  • Start meeting regularly with the people who will be taking over your responsibilities while you’re at home.
  • Begin documenting everything so you can hand projects over at any point.
  • Leave a clear list of tasks to be covered while you’re at home.
  • Set up a plan for checking in if necessary.