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You may still be in the middle of your pregnancy, but of course it's never wrong to look ahead. In this blog, we throw open a booklet about maternity leave and childbirth leave. The word leave appears no less than 45 times in this text. Don't worry, we are not repeating ourselves, we are well aware of it. But that is of course the main subject of this blog, so we would like to explain it to you in detail. You can read how it all fits together here. 

What does maternity leave and childbirth leave mean? 

As a pregnant woman, you are entitled to leave before and after giving birth. This leave consists of two parts, namely the maternity leave and the childbirth leave. Together this represents at least 16 weeks leave (UWV, z.d.). 

Maternity leave explained

As mentioned above, you have two types of leave, one before giving birth and one after giving birth. When we talk about maternity leave, we are talking about the time before you give birth. You must take maternity leave six weeks to no later than four weeks before your due date. If you choose to take less maternity leave, you may add these weeks to your maternity leave. You are (sort of) the boss of your own leave (Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, 2020)! 

Childbirth leave explained

So maternity leave is the time after you give birth. It starts on the day after the birth and lasts for at least ten weeks - this depends on when you went on maternity leave. You are still entitled to all weeks of maternity leave if your little one is born earlier or later than the due date. This means that if your baby is born later, you can take longer maternity leave. Suppose you go on maternity leave six weeks before the due date, but your baby comes two weeks later than this date. Then you have eight weeks of maternity leave and ten weeks of childbirth leave. So in total that adds up to eighteen weeks (Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, 2020). 

Pupil leave explained

With a multiple pregnancy, slightly different rules apply. In this case, you must take maternity leave from ten weeks to eight weeks before the due date at the latest. The maternity leave remains the same with at least ten weeks after the birth. Here too, the maternity leave depends on the amount of maternity leave you have taken (Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment, 2020b). 

Check it out, all the information you need. We hope this has informed you enough about your rights as a soon-to-be-mom. Everyone is different, and every body has different needs. So listen carefully to your body to determine for you the beginning of your leave, because that's what counts! 

And mama know your rights, read Here All about when you get fired at work.


Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. (2020a, November 20). How can I calculate my maternity and childbirth leave? Consulted on November 8, 2021, from

Ministry of Social Affairs and Employment. (2020b, November 20). How long is my maternity and childbirth leave with twins or multiples? Consulted on November 8, 2021, from

UWV. (s.d.). I am pregnant and on benefit.