Many women who thought for sure they'd be stay-at-home moms may find, for budgetary or other reasons, that part-time work suits them better. If you envision yourself going back to work in a year or two or three after having your baby, you'll need to plan ahead. Some steps to take:
Exit gracefully. Instead of simply quitting, tell your boss, your coworkers, and your contacts in your field that you do plan to come back. Planting that seed shows people who may be able to help you later that you're not disappearing completely into Mom land.
Follow up. Even if they promise to, your old work pals are not likely to keep up with you -- it'll be out of sight, out of mind -- so you have to make the effort to maintain communication. That way, when you do want to come back, you have contacts to call. Samuels knows one stay-at-home mom who, while her baby napped, would browse her old company's Web site to keep up with changes: "Whenever she saw that someone was promoted, she'd send a quick e-mail of congrats."