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Half of mothers 'would split their maternity leave'

Around half of women would split their maternity leave with their partner if they had the opportunity, new research reveals.

Mothers-to-be in Dublin were slightly less willing to share their time away from work than their counterparts in Ulster, Connacht and Munster.

Mothers are entitled to 26 weeks' maternity leave together with 16 weeks of unpaid time away.

The online survey of 1,000 women also found that more than two thirds would rather stay at home than go back to employment after their baby is born.


Half of women aged between 16 and 24 were more eager to get back to the grind, while 72pc of those over 35 thought staying at home was a much more attractive option.

Of the women surveyed, half said they encountered difficulties integrating back into work following maternity leave.

Sarah O'Neill, occupational health adviser with Quinn Healthcare, which commissioned the research, said the evidence showed older women found it tougher to balance motherhood and work.

"Typically, this age group must often rely solely on creches and childminders compared to younger mums who can call on family members if they are stuck," Ms O'Neill said.

"The cost of creches and childminding facilities may also factor in this."


Other key findings of the survey included:

  • 76pc of mothers believed breastfeeding was the healthiest option for babies, particularly women over 55.

  • Only 20pc of women thought home births was a safe option for women, with younger women being least favourable (12pc).

  • Women in Dublin (55pc) had more difficulty reintegrating into the workplace than those in Leinster (53pc), Munster (48pc), and Connacht/Ulster (42pc).