Mum's mission to extend maternity leave for parents of premature babies
PUBLISHED: 10:18 02 June 2016 | UPDATED: 10:18 02 June 2016
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A Hampstead mum has joined force with MPs to campaign for a change in maternity leave legislation for parents of premature babies.
Lauren Delaney-Yeadon, of Netherhall Gardens, is campaigning to change the law to enable mothers of premature babies longer than the standard six months paid leave.
She has enlisted the help of Hampstead and Kilburn MP Tulip Siddiq, who is a new mother.
Mrs Delaney-Yeadon, 38, got involved in the campaign after she gave birth to her daughter, Alexa, at 25 weeks in 2014.
Alexa was born weighing 588g (1lb 3oz). Lauren and her husband Cyrus spent seven and a half months with her in hospital before she was transferred home, by which time Lauren’s paid leave had ended.
She said: “My entire paid maternity leave was spent visiting my daughter in an intensive care and then a high dependency unit.
“As soon as you give birth, even if prematurely, your maternity leave begins. I was shocked by this.
“When Alexa finally came home with us, she had an oxygen tank and a feeding tube so I was just not in a position to be able to leave her with a nanny or at nursery. This meant I had to take additional time at my own expense. My husband was doing a PhD at the time and so the financial impact on our family was significant.”
Lauren, who works at Thomson Reuters, said her employers supported her taking extra time off and then, when she started back at work, offered her flexible hours.
She said: “They have been terrific.”
She, along with Ms Siddiq, is urging the government to reconsider maternity leave legislation.
She said: “My belief is that the time between premature delivery and due date should be sick leave.
“Premature mums spend most, if not all, of this time at a hospital.
“Maternity leave should start at the baby’s due date. I believe this would be a fairer representation of what has happened and would allow premature mums a similar maternity leave experience to those mums whose babies are born at term.”
Ms Siddiq added: “Our society benefits from time and support parents are able to give their children, thanks to paid paternity and maternity leave.
“Parents of premature babies have this time cut short, or fail to enjoy it at all. This time should be possible for all families, rather than just those whose babies are born at their due date.”