33 answers

Postpartum Disability Leave

My employer just informed me that I can get a 12 week paid leave only if my doctor certifies me as disabled for work. I would love to have this time off (though I would not be able to afford an unpaid leave) and spend bonding with my child but I am not sure if the doctor would give me a certificate for so long (usually they give 6-8 weeks postpartum disability is what I have heard). I am not even sure if I can ask her for it. Could any other working mom advise on whether doctors would be willing to give such a note? Is it alright to ask my doctor for it?

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Featured Answers

My doctor wrote me out saying I had a stress related illness after the intial delivery leave. Did the trick. I was out for 14 weeks.
Good luck

More Answers

No! Asking for a doctor to give you extended paid disability leave when don’t have any post-partum complications destroys the credibility of those that do. It is fraudulent and it NOT okay. If you would some extra time with your new bundle of joy (every mom does!), have a discussion with your boss and try to work out a (more truthful) leave of absence. Through the federal Family and Medical Leave Act, you may be able negotiate a leave of up 12 weeks. Your company might not pay you for all of it, but you’ll get the bonding time you desire.

2 moms found this helpful

Your doctor probably has a policy on this already. Most doctors give you a note that you can return to work at 6 weeks after your 6 week apointment, if you are fit to work both mentally and physically. Unfortunately, medical leave isn't meant for breastfeeding or bonding with your baby. You can tell your doctor that you don't feel ready to return to work and that you would like a longer leave if that is possible. It might work, but ethically they should not extend your leave if you are capable of returning to work because they could lose their license, since it would be considered fraud. If you have a c-section your doctor will give you a note that you can return to work, usually after 8 weeks if your healing goes well and you don't have any problems. If you are not disabled and are "fit to work" but you still don't want to go back you could take unpaid leave or your vacation days. Your employer is already giving you 6 weeks paid medical leave which is great.. Some places give 0, so you should be happy that your employer is able to give you that much. My friend had to take all vacation days and sick days, which amounted to only 4 weeks leave. It was very sad, but then she chose unpaid leave for another few weeks. I took 5 sick days, and was allowed 6 weeks paid medical leave and then 7 weeks unpaid leave and saved my vacation days. Good luck with your decision.

1 mom found this helpful

Hey there,

Do not hesitate to ask. The worst that can happen is that your OB declines. I can't remember what the policy was at the place where I was working when I had #1, but I do know that my OB was willing to give me the maximum allowed by my employer. After #2, I was cleared to exercise by my OB at 6 weeks--fantastic, but my gym does not clear children in the baby-sitting area until after they have their 2 month vaccinations, which she was not going to have until she was 10 weeks old. The issue is of paying membership--when on medical leave, the membership fees are suspended until you have been cleared by a doctor. So, I told my OB the situation and he wrote a note saying that I was not cleared to exercise for 10 weeks, and gave the exact dates of delivery and full clearance.

I can't imagine an OB not doing this for you--so it can't hurt anybody to try for it. You and your baby need this precious time together.

Hi there,
I do understand your what your going through. I just went back to work 4 weeks ago and it was rough. I was given the standard 6 weeks for my short term disibility. At my 6 week check up I was given an extention for postpartum depression. It was rough. The best thing you can do is talk to your MD. The worst thing they can say is no.. Also try not to stress about it. You don't know how you'll feel at that appt. You might be ready for some adult time. Good luck...

It is absolutely alright to ask your dr. for a note for a leave. They will most definately give you one for at least the first 6 weeks, which is when you have yur first postpartum checkup to make sure that all has healed. Good luck!

I actually had a similar situation with my work. Although I was a bit embarassed to ask my doctor, I did! I basically said that I had sick days to use up and that I would lose them if I didn't use them. Could she write me some sort of note about needing to be out... She couldn't write, for legal reasons, that I was disabled in any way, but she could just state that I was going to be out and return to work on whatever date(no reason provided). I ended up writing the note myself and just had her sign it. She didn't seem upset that I asked her, and I figured I had nothing to lose. It was good enough for my human resources department. I did say to the doctor upfront that I didn't want to put her in a position that was uncomfortable. All doctors are different from what I have heard. Good luck! I would love to know if it works!

the worst thing she could say is no

If you have a c section then you will get the 12 weeks,but you should definatly ask and see what she/he says,when are you due??I would wait until you are closer to your due date,you are so lucky they will pay you!!Thats great!Congrats!!Keep us posted

When I had my daughter I went ondisability and received 60% of my pay. I think your doctor would give yu what you need and is probably used to it because a lot of companies and insurance companies require the same thing.

If you have worked in Ri you will recieve 6 weeks for normal birth & 8 weeks for a csection from TDI. Any complications prior and after the birth would be covered from TDI. TDI will not cover bonding or breast feeding only a disability that is covered from your dr. You would be able to collect more with a disability but after a certain number of weeks you would have to see a specialist ( mental health dr , ortho dr ect...)
As far as the 12 weeks that is FMLA unpaid from your employer. Feel free you ask me any other questions.. R.

My doctor wrote a note saying I was breastfeeding and that was enough for me to get disability leave (paid) from my employer. Your doctor should certainly do that for you (if you are in fact breastfeeding, that is). Hope that helps! Congratulations!

Most 'medical leaves' are based on your short term disability insurance. They have within it spelled out times for maternity leave. They pay up to a cetain % of your salary.
When I had my first, I had a c-section and was granted 10wks to start. At my 6 wk appt, the dr. evaluated me and deemed the 10 wks was fine and I could return to work after that. If I'd been healing slower, he'd have extended it to 12 wks.

For the 2nd and 3rd children I had the standard 6 wks after a normal birth.

It doesn't hurt to ask your dr. He might agree with your reasoning and grant the 12 wks...it doesn't hurt to ask! all he can say is no right?


Hi D., I have no idea what your boss is talking about. - (Unless they are the real generous type) In order to get a PAID leave for your maternaty leave is if you pay for disability insurance. You typically have to be enrolled for at least 10 months before you are able to take advantage of this (they will not let you join if you are pregnant at the time of enrollment typically). I myself carry short term disability and this did pay me for some of the time I was on maternity leave. Here's the thing, the state of MA has whats called the "family leave act" it allows you to take up to 12 weeks away from your job and your employer has to hold your position for this time ... they do not have to pay you, just hold your position. The laws in MA in regards to how much disability you can get typically go as this: vaginal delivery = 6 weeks mandatory leave, C-section = mandatory 8 week leave. Unless you find a shady OB, this is what they have to go by (unless also if there are other complications which would necesetate you being out longer) I wish you the best with your delivery and I hope you enjoy every second with that newborn, time will fly bye and that baby will be getting so big so fast!! L. C.

D., Typically short term disabilty will cover up to 6 weeks off with pay (you have to take the first 5 days as vacation time and then disablity kicks in fo the remaining 5 weeks). Pay is usually up to 60% of regular earning with a maximum of $500.00 per week. You would should be eligible for FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) which allows you to be out of work for up to 12 weeks and not be at risk for losing your job. Bear in mind that FMLA in unpaid leave. To get long term disabilty (paid leave beyond the 6 weeks STD limit)for a normal delivery is pretty unlikely.

I know the whole process can be pretty confusing. I went through this about a year ago when I had my daughter. If you can, talk to your human resources person at work. They should be able to answer all of your questions including the particulars of the maternity leave policy and short term disabilty policy of your employer. Good luck and enjoy your time home with your baby!

You can ask for it, but it depends on your doctor whether they recomend it. It also depends on medical factors like you can get longer if you have a c-section. They didn't want to give me more than 6 weeks except I had a c-section. I wish you the best!

This is probably the Family Medical Leave Act that your doc is talking about. Absolutely ask him/her about it! Everyone is entitled.

Yes- just ask them. I work for an MD office(OB/GYN). There should be no problem. Almost everyone who works needs osme sort of papers filled out for however long they need. Just tell them the date you plan to return and they should fill it out accordingly. Good Luck


I pay disability claims so let me offer this. Even if your doctor were to certify you for 12 wks post partum, there would have to be medical support for ongoing disability. A note from your doctor just stating that you cannot return to work will not suffice. Typically, you get 6 wks for a vaginal birth and 8 wks for a c-section, however, some plans only offer 6 wks for a c-section. So, if you have a c-section and your doctor certifies you for 8 wks post partum then you will still only receive 6 wks because that is what your plan offers.


I would suggest that you check with your HR department and see what the policy is for your company. As the others said the FLA covers you in MA for 12 weeks of unpaid leave. Your company should have a policy on what you can use during that time. (example: my company allows you to use short term disability plus vacation time) I had enough eared that it covered 8 wks of my 12 wk leave. there is paperwork involved so make sure that you are informed about your company's requirements-so that all is in order before you have your baby (you will have enough other things to think about!)

Another thing I did (and highly recommend) is to come back part time for 1-2 months (would need to work this out with your boss). This really helps with the transistion back to work (and if you have to come back sooner than 12 weeks this might be another solution). Especially if your baby isn't sleeping well or you are working on breasfeeding this can be a good way to get back up to speed at work and transition your baby to day-care. If you do try this-talk it over with your boss and get any agreement in writting.

Congrats on your pregnancy!

Absolutely ask your doctor for it, especially if you have a good relationship with him/her. I was worried about asking my dr for a note to for before I had the baby, and he looked at me like I was crazy and said "of course I'll give you a note! You're 36 weeks pregnant!" Specify that you plan to breastfeed. The worst thing that can happen is that s/he says no.

Under the Family Medical leave Act, you are entitled to 12 weeks of leave (assuming your company has more than 50 employees and you've been employed by them long enough at the time of delivery and other such criteria). Granted it's technically unpaid, but if you have enough vacation and sick time accrued, your company may allow you to use the time.

As far as the note, it can't hurt to ask your doctor...although I have to admit I have no experience here. I adopted my son and I was able to take my 12 weeks off under FMLA with just a note saying I was picking him up and I only had 3 days notice that we were going to the Philippines. And yes, I used my Earned Time and Extended Sick Leave for the whole 12 weeks and still had time left over at the end. However, I didn't qualify for the company's disability.

Good luck

Many dr.s would give a 12 week certificate if you are going to be breastfeeding. The general leave would be 6 to 8 weeks except for nursing mothers.. who have even received up to 6 months leave (with only the first 2 to 3 months being paid leave)

OMG what is WRONG with Our society!!!! every one who has given birth knows it it the most important and most difficult human accomplishment. Breast feeding is the best thing for both child and mother. every one knows how good it is for the child, but its also important for the mother to breast feed a whole year in order for her body to go back to 'normal' and recent it's self. and it's pretty impossible to accomplish if you go right back to work.

We need a MAJOR reform. we are among the few countries that does not recognize The needs of a new mother. It is SO important for a mother to stay home with her child. In Europe and Holland a visiting nurse comes and checks on every new mother who is receiving a 6 week paid leave by law and helps with dishes and house hold chores and tips and tricks with breast feeding, and other baby needs. In India, the first seven days of a babies life he is held 24/7. he fly's like an angel from arms to arms because they believe the child is too sacred to touch the ground. wile mom gets special meals made for her, hot baths drawn for her, hot oil massages from sportive female family members wile she eases into her new sacred roll as a mother.

The life expectancy for women is going down, most likely because we go back to work 48 hours after pushing our body to the maximum it was made to handle. you/re not supposed to rest WILE you're pregnant, your supposed to rest AFTER giving birth.

As a Lucky mother who has the chance to stay home with her child...We're poor as Sh*t, but I know the importance of staying with my child, with no support and no way to pay a house keeper or baby sitter Im still floundering and suffering from mild postpartum depression. if i was working too I dont think I could handle it.

So any way you can get the time to spend with your baby. you are a goddess and your baby is a sacred being that needs your constant love and attention. F*ck our sick perverted society that thinks we're all machines with numbers.

You can find the information I gave ____@____.com and Time.com.

It is standard practice to ask for this kind of certification from your OB/GYN - I would not hesitate. I know for women in RI the pay comes through the state disability program (6 weeks for a regular delivery, 8 weeks for a C-section). But if your employer will give you 12 weeks paid and all you need is a note from your OB - go get it! She may have a legit reason to deny it, but it's worth asking.

And a note on a previous response (some people just like to complain) - if the state (of RI) didn't consider postpartum to be disability then they wouldn't provide leave for it - just because the state limits leave to 6-8 weeks does not make it any more unethical to ask for 12 if that's what your employer accepts since your employer is not the state (if the state allowed for 12 weeks I am sure that is what the OBs would be certifying for instead of 6-8!). Either way OBs routinely certify for this kind of leave and hardly regard it as fraud, a more realistic way of putting it is that it's the "system."

I had a great DR and I am sure that if I asked her she would have said yes!! Just ask what do you have to loose? The worst that could happen is she doesn't write it for the entire time! I loved staying home with my daughter and also wish I didn't have to go back to work but I think that I will be a better mom because of it! Good luck and just enjoy the time you do get to spend with your baby!

God forgive me but find a psychiatrist and play the role. Did you know America has the least amount of time for mom's to bond/raise their children.
good luck!

There's is a little thing called The Family and Medical Leave Act, where you can get 12 weeks off unpaid for the birth of a child. If you google it, you'll be able to get more information and inform your employer who should know about it already. Good luck.

I agree - ask for the note and specify you are breastfeeding! I returned to work too early (6 weeks) to avoid taking unpaid leave and didn't have any idea when I planned such a short time off that breastfeeding would be so demanding. You milk doesn't even get fully established for 6-8 weeks. I ended up stopping breast feeding earlier than I wanted because it was so hard to keep up sufficient pumping at work to keep my supply up. Given that the American Acedemy of Pediatricians urges moms to breastfeed at least 6 months, and preferably a year, the least your doctor can do is try to support you and your new baby in that endeavor.

Best of luck to you and get a good pump when you do go back to work!

hi,i dont know your doctor but wouldnt any doctor be happy to see you stay with the baby to bond for the first twelve weeks?you should explain the situation and tell him/her that you cant afford not to be paid but you really feel that its very important to stay with your baby.i really think thats its okay to ask the doctor this.good luck and congratulations

First of You are NOT able to work until you get the green light from your doctor at your 6 week postpartum check up. As for getting a note for a 12 week leave, not sure if they will do that without cause. My friend's daughter had acid reflux and got no sleep with her for the first 8 weeks. Her doctor wrote her a note for mild post partum depression and she was able to stay out for the full 12 weeks paid. If you have or will have vacation time, sick days, personal days, I would save as many as possible and hav them tacked on your time as well, so that even if you can't get the full 12 weeks, you'll get longer than 6.

Here is a web site you may want to look at. http://www.nh.gov/hrc/pregnancy/common.html#q1

It does depend on the doctor, but explain the situation to the doctor or one of his nurses and I'm sure you can come to an agreement, even if he only certified you for 8 weeks, that's 8 weeks with your new little one! And - congratulations!

My doctor wrote me out saying I had a stress related illness after the intial delivery leave. Did the trick. I was out for 14 weeks.
Good luck

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