Don't forget to take care of these tasks before you begin maternity leave.
maternity leave
Credit: Shannon Greer

You'll be leaving work soon. Some women like to work up until the last possible second; others prefer to take a few weeks off before their baby's birth. If you can afford to take some time off during the last few weeks of pregnancy, do it; be sure, however, that the extra time off before delivery doesn't reduce the amount of time your employer will allow you to take for maternity leave. Once your baby is born, you'll have very little time to yourself. Here are a few suggestions to make a smooth exit from work:

Organize your desk. Finish up as much work as possible and make sure all projects are up-to-date. Meet with the person who will be replacing you or, if that's not possible, leave detailed notes. Straighten up your work area and remove any personal belongings and photos; your replacement probably doesn't want to spend 3 months staring at a photo of you and your husband on your Caribbean honeymoon. Return any company-issued items such as laptop computers and cell phones.

Meet with your supervisor to review your maternity leave schedule and to discuss last-minute details regarding the work you are leaving behind. By making your leave-taking as smooth as possible, you reinforce your value in your boss's mind. However, resist the temptation to offer to be on call during your maternity leave. You'll be busy enough taking care of your baby without having to field constant calls from work. Leave your contact information with your supervisor, but make it clear that you want to be called only if absolutely necessary.

Talk with human resources. Make sure that all arrangements have been completed and you've filled out all necessary forms. Let your human resources representative know where to send your paycheck or other important correspondence. If you're not returning to your job, schedule an exit interview with your human resources department and ask any questions you may have about transferring your pension benefits or 401(k) accounts into a personal account, how long your health insurance coverage will last, and so on. Thank your employer for the opportunities the job provided. Be positive about your job and your company even if you dislike them. You may need a reference someday, and if you burn bridges, you won't get a good one.

Originally published in You & Your Baby: Pregnancy.

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