How Long to Take

This is very individual. It is not uncommon to have differing thoughts before and after the baby arrives and to changing your maternity plans is acceptable, but try to give as much notice as possible.

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The length is usually influenced by many factors including finances, childcare arrangements, overall effect on training time/ life plans i.e. fellowships, concerns over deskilling (but be reassured there is not much difference returning after six months and a year!), how the dates fit in with change over and fitting around exams etc. Discuss your needs with your department and don’t forget that you don’t get the time with your baby back, if that is what you want say so, work will figure itself out on your return.

Real life trainee experiences

“Initially I thought that I would take 9 months the first time and then I extended it as I realised how much I loved playing with my baby! The TPD was very helpful when I told him I was changing the length of time off”.

“Baby 1 - 6 months; I didn't want to deskill surgically and wanted to get back to normal life!
Baby 2 - 9 months plus phased return, much nicer - also more adjusted to my new role in life so not so thrown in to personal soul searching!  
Baby 3  - 1 year, again with a phased return but shorter this time”.

“I took 1 year - Pre-birth I only planned 6 months – due to training /exam /finances but then I changed my mind!”

“1 year. Knowing that I was going back to a really full on job made me want to take as much time as possible. My TPD was very supportive in this and also in going part time 1 month before baby due”.

“First pregnancy: 13 months; second: 12 months”.