Those who are thinking about starting a family should take the time to financially prepare, so that new parents do not have to suffer with additional maternity debt. Many new parents may have to seek debt advice, as the current economic situation puts strain on their finances.

According to Natasha Freedman, consultant for Punter Southall Financial Management, UK maternity rights are amongst the worse in Europe, and new parents should consider this fact and begin saving to avoid getting into debt problems. Statutory maternity is currently 90% of the average weekly wage for the first six weeks of leave, followed by 33 weeks at a maximum of £117.18. A further 13 weeks leave can be taken but this is unpaid.

Freedman comments: “The often significant drop in income while on maternity leave can be crippling and the inability to maintain your standard of living is perhaps one of the main reasons why women return to work sooner [than they may want to]. It is a very real problem for households that require two incomes to stay afloat, especially in today’s economic climate.”