Becoming pregnant is a big life event and whether planned or unplanned, it is completely natural if you find yourself feeling a mix of emotions during this time.

If you feel that the emotions you are experiencing are starting to have a negative impact on your day-to-day life, there are some things that you can try which may help. The NHS website has a variety of resources that can be used to support you with different aspects of your life during pregnancy:

In light of the current pandemic, we have also created a page sharing information related to Covid-19 vaccinations and fertility, pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Work and pregnancy

You may be wondering how your pregnancy will affect you while you work. The Health and Saftey Executive have created guidance around your health and safety at work which you can read here. It includes information on the following:

  • How to inform your employer
  • Workplace risk assessments
  • Raising your own safety concerns
  • Breastfeeding in the workplace
  • Welfare and general advice

Statutory maternity leave

If you are pregnant, you are entitled to 52 weeks (1 year) of maternity leave, regardless of how long you have worked for your employer. The leave is comprised of:

  • 26 weeks of Ordinary Maternity Leave
  • 26 weeks of Additional Maternity Leave

You do not have to take the full 52 weeks, but by law you must take maternity leave for a minimum of 2 weeks after the birth of your baby.

In order to claim statutory maternity leave, you need to let your employer know your due date and when you would like to take your leave at least 15 weeks before your baby is due. It's best to tell your employer in writing so that you have a record.

If you have a partner, you may be eligible to take some of your leave as Shared Paternal Leave.

Start dates and early births

Usually, the earliest you can start your leave is 11 weeks before your due date, however your leave will automatically start if:

  • Your baby is born early
  • You are off work with a pregnancy-related illness in the four weeks before your baby is due

You can use the maternity planner to work out the dates of your ordinary and additional maternity leave, as well as the earliest date your maternity leave can start.

Illustration of a pregnant woman

Statutory maternity Pay

Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) is a weekly or monthly payment from your employer to support you during your time off work (both before and after your baby is born).

SMP is paid for up to 39 weeks of your maternity leave. Check whether you qualify for SMP.

If you are not eligible for SMP, you may be eligible for Maternity Allowance (MA) instead.

You can use the maternity pay calculator to work out how much you could get.

More information on wellbeing and pregnancy

Updated on: 14/04/2022