Working Moms | Fit Pregnancy

Working Moms

Work It

When my friend Ingrid gave birth to her daughter in Sweden, she and her partner were given 15 months of paid leave to share or take individually. That gave Ingrid time to recover from the delivery, bond with her baby, and see her daughter through to the toddling stages before she even needed to think about going back to work.

Pregnancy-Inspired Careers

Are you searching for a rewarding career, one that's working-mother friendly? Look no further than your growing belly, and let pregnancy and childbirth inspire you.

That's what Jennifer Powers did when she became pregnant in 2004. "I knew my job as a financial analyst wouldn't be a good fit for me once my baby was born," says the 34-year-old mom from Cambridge, Mass., citing such drawbacks as high-priced child care and a company culture in which 10-hour workdays were the norm.

U.S. Maternity Benefits Lag

If you're getting paid while on maternity leave, consider yourself lucky: Out of 173 countries worldwide, the United States is one of only five that don't guarantee paid leave to give birth and care for a newborn, according to a study by researchers at Harvard and McGill universities.

"It's dramatically striking that the U.S. is so far behind the rest of the world," says lead researcher Jody Heymann, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Institute for Health and Social Policy at McGill in Montreal, Quebec. "Every industrialized country offers paid leave. So can the United States."

10 Challenges, 10 Solutions

1) Negotiating maternity leave “I have three cardinal rules: Take the most time your employer will grant, ask for more than you’re offered, and take time off before the baby arrives, if you can. Once you have your baby, you can return to work early, in the unlikely event that you want to. But it’s hard to extend your maternity leave once it’s written in stone.” — Betty Holcomb, author of The Best Friend’s Guide to Maternity Leave (Perseus, 2001)