Pregnant? Make the most of your maternity leave

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Because there's better things to be doing than watching Jeremy Kyle...

Pregnant woman knitting

© Getty - Handbag

You can start your maternity leave from 11 weeks before your due date. If you intend to take maternity leave you need to notify your employer by week 25 of your pregnancy in order to qualify for statutory maternity leave and pay.

Once the novelty of a lie-in and daytime TV have worn off , 11 weeks waiting around for baby to arrive can seem a bit daunting!

Here are some ways to keep boredom at bay and help you make the most of the weeks running up to the birth of your baby.

Start a new hobby
If towards the end of your pregnancy, you're finding it harder to move about and spending more time at home, you might be stuck for ways to keep your mind occupied.

Why not try doing some arts and crafts and have a go at customising and making accessories for your baby's nursery? Or alternatively, give cooking a go - Fearne Cotton spent her last few weeks of pregnancy making food for friends and family and Saturday's star Rochelle was also cooking up a storm for family during her pregnancy. You could cook batches of healthy meals and fill your freezer, ready for after the baby arrives.

Once baby arrives you'll be rushed off your feet and adjusting to all the new responsibilities of motherhood. Now's the time to enjoy long relaxing baths and naps on the sofa. Borrow some books or films from the library and treat yourself to a duvet day whilst you still can!

Write a list of all the things you need to do before your due date and make sure you have everything you need for the arrival of your new addition. If you need to decorate your nursery or put together furniture, ask a friend or family member to help.

You should also try to prepare yourself physically and emotionally for the labour and birth. Do as much research as you can, attend antenatal classes, speak to your midwife or GP and don't be afraid to voice any questions or concerns you might have.

Get active
You should try and get active for at least 150 minutes each week. Find out about exercise or dance classes in your local area or try Pilates. Head out for gentle walk around the block or go swimming. Being active will help build your strength and prepare you for the physical challenges of labour and birth.

For more information on pregnancy health and advice go to
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