How to Make Money on Maternity Leave: 25 Ways to Get Paid

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How to Make Money on Maternity Leave

The birth of a child is a time of joy and excitement, but the financial implications can be significant and harsh. The Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA) offers up to 12 weeks of leave for newborn care, but there’s no requirement for an employer to fund it. A study conducted by Breeze found that 74% of women would have no cash savings left after eight weeks of unpaid maternity leave.

Some companies offer paid maternity and paternity leave, but things can get challenging if that’s not available to you. Adding supplemental income to soften the financial blow of your unpaid leave is a great idea. If you’re expecting your first baby or adding another member to your family, there are ways to make extra cash. Some of these opportunities could even become a full or part-time career.

Real Ways to Make Money on Maternity Leave Online

Here are some legit ways to earn extra income online while on maternity leave. You’ll be able to have time with your new baby and work a flexible schedule.

1. Transcriptionist

If you can type quickly, have access to a computer, and have good concentration, you can make money working as a transcriptionist. You listen to an audio file and type the words into a document.

As a beginner, you can make up to $15 per hour with transcription jobs, which could rise to $30 per hour when you gain more experience. If you enjoy transcription work, you can even develop your own business and find your own clients.

One of the best places to get started is Transcribe Anywhere, and they even have a mini-course to get you started.

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  • Use your existing typing skills
  • Work part-time or full-time
  • Work from home or anywhere with an internet connection

2. Freelance Writing 

If you have writing skills, you can make money working as a freelance writer. This can be a full or part-time career, and it’s a fantastic job for pregnant women or new mothers.

Freelance writing is a flexible job; you can fit it around existing commitments, and there are plenty of ways to start. Some of the best freelancing platforms for writers include Upwork, Fiverr, and Toptal. Here you can connect with potential clients, showcase your talents, and take part in a wide variety of exciting projects.

The pay rates for freelance writing vary significantly. The best approach is to specialize in a particular field, such as health, fitness, business, family, etc.

3. Freelance Proofreading

If you’ve ever found yourself correcting articles that you read online, you may be an ideal candidate for a freelance proofreading role.

Many publishers take the production of high-value content seriously, and they need reliable proofreaders.

To excel in this role, you need good grammar skills, an eye for detail, and a real passion for good content. The best online course to get started if you want to learn proofreading is Proofread Anywhere.

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4. Virtual Assistant

Working as a virtual assistant (VA) is a popular role for pregnant women and new moms. Clients need remote assistance to complete certain tasks that take them away from running their core business.

Typical tasks include admin, data entry, editing, proofreading, scheduling, invoicing, replying to emails, ghostwriting, and more.

This is varied work, where you can develop new skills, and you can schedule the tasks around existing commitments. A new virtual assistant can earn $15 per hour; with experience, this can rise to $60 per hour or more. You can work with multiple clients to multiply your hourly earnings if you’re organized.

See our list of virtual assistant jobs to help you get started.

5. Social Media Management

If you’re social media savvy, you can use those skills as a social media manager and make money on maternity leave. Having a presence on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and other platforms is essential for businesses to boost their profile.

In this role, you’ll create and schedule posts, interact with followers, reply to comments, answer private messages, and more. Overall, social media management is one of the best ways to make money online.

A social media manager can earn around $30 – $50 per hour. However, finding clients can take time. You’ll need to visit job boards, interact on social media, or even visit brick-and-mortar businesses to speak with potential clients. You can also leverage your existing network by talking to business owners that you know.

If you get a good reputation and a few clients, this can turn into a full-time career.

6. Create and Sell Printables

Many people use physical printed copies of items like journals, planners, organizers, and other tools.

If you have a good eye for design, you can create and sell printables in specific niches. Possibilities include bullet journals, budget planners, pregnancy planners, shopping lists, and much more. These can be print-at-home items, that your customers buy and download.

Possibly the best thing about this opportunity is that it’s relevant to just about any niche or industry. If you’re interested in finance, you can create financial printables. If you’re interested in organization, you can create printables around planning and organizing. If you’re into fitness, you can create health and fitness printables. You get the point.

And if you’re not a designer, you can hire a designer on Fiverr to create the printables for you.

Etsy is by far the biggest marketplace for selling printables. If you want to learn how to start an Etsy shop and sell your digital printables, we highly recommend the E-Printables course from Gold City Ventures.

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7. Start an Etsy Shop

Printables aren’t the only thing you can sell on Etsy. If you like to make crafty items, you can make extra money with an Etsy shop.

Some popular handmade items include art, knitwear, candles, soaps, jewelry, and more. There are plenty of possibilities to explore your creative freedom, and some sellers turn this into a full-time job.

See our list of Etsy shop ideas to help with brainstorming.

8. Graphic Design

You need a specific set of skills to work as a freelance graphic designer. Working knowledge of Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator is essential. But if you already have the skills and knowledge, picking up design gigs for clients could be the perfect way to make money.

To find clients and establish a reputation for good design, set up a profile on one or more freelancing sites like Upwork. The income potential is excellent, and the work can be done part-time or full-time.

9. Print-on-Demand

As we mentioned earlier, people really like physical products. This is a great small business for moms caring for babies and toddlers, especially if you have some creative skills. Simply create some fun designs and upload them to print-on-demand sites like Redbubble. When it’s purchased, they fulfill the order and you get paid.

You can sell various products, including t-shirts, coffee mugs, stickers, tote bags, and more. The start-up costs are minimal, but you need good designs to stand out from the crowd.

Read our article How to Start a Print-on-Demand Business for more.

10. Start a Blog

Starting a blog is a flexible way to work and earn money, but it takes a lot of effort and patience to become profitable. There are thousands of inactive blogs online because many start and give up. It’s important to pick a topic you’re passionate about so your motivation and interest last.

Just like freelance writing, blogging is a good option if you want a flexible online business model you can continue to work on as your child grows. It’s not the best fit if you need to make money immediately.

Although it takes a lot of work to succeed, the income potential from a successful blog is unlimited. Blogs can make money from ads, affiliate programs, sponsored content, or by selling products and services.

Your blog might generate a few hundred dollars per month, or you might see massive success that results in a six or seven-figure income.

11. Start a YouTube Channel

This is similar to blogging, as you need good presentation skills to start and develop a YouTube channel. Building a following to monetize your channel and earn ad revenue can take a long time, but the long-term income potential is unlimited.

If your channel becomes popular, you can make thousands of dollars per month or more. But, regular uploads are essential, and many people experience burnout if they work alone.

This is another opportunity that’s a great choice if you have a long-term focus, but not the right option if you need money now.

12. Create an Online Course

You can earn money with an online course if you have valuable knowledge about a specific topic. Some formal teaching knowledge will be helpful when you create your course, but it’s not a requirement.

There are courses on just about anything you can imagine, and you don’t need to be the world’s leading expert on the topic. You need to know more than the people you’re teaching, so there are probably several topics you could cover right now.

You can offer your course through a platform like Skillshare, or use Teachable to build a website for your course and sell it on your own.

This is an excellent business, but it’s not a fast way to make money. It can take a long time to build your course, perfect it, and promote it.

13. Online Tutoring

Working in online tutoring is a faster way to make money imparting your knowledge to others. If you enjoy teaching, you can work with online tuition platforms like (see our list of online tutoring jobs for more ideas). You may need specific education requirements, such as a bachelor’s degree, but there are some less formal avenues to explore.

An online tutor can earn about $15 per hour, which can rise to $25+ per hour with experience. The peak learning hours are early morning and evening due to time differences, which is excellent if you want to teach English to foreign students. You can earn money when your kids have gone to bed.

14. At-Home Customer Service

In recent years, the demand for remote working and home shopping roles has increased. As an at-home customer service representative, you’ll deal with customer queries, complaints, and emails.

To excel in this role, you need to work efficiently and offer excellent service to customers. Many employers ask for a high school diploma, and some may even require a college degree, although this usually isn’t the case. Good working knowledge of technology and modern communications is essential, but on-the-job training may be offered.

An at-home customer service representative can expect to earn around $15 per hour to start. The three best platforms for beginners include The Chat Shop and Outplex.

15. Data Entry

Data entry can be a mind-numbing task, but it’s easy, and you can earn up to $17 per hour with no special equipment or skills.

This work is flexible, so you can easily fit it around pregnancy or child-rearing, and it can be part-time or full-time. There are many platforms where this work is readily available, and all you need to get started is a basic profile.

16. Microtasks

A microtask is a small task that cannot be automated with bots or AI yet. They’re simple to complete, for example, identifying images, transcribing short audio clips, writing short paragraphs, categorizing data, and more.

This is flexible work, but the income potential is limited, and this will not replace the income from a full-time job. That said, you can complete microtasks around other work, and the flexibility is pretty attractive.

All you need to get started making money doing microtasks is a high-speed internet connection and a platform to work on, such as Amazon’s MTurk or Clickworker. See our list of microtask websites for more possibilities.

17. Take Surveys

If you join a survey site like InboxDollars, Swagbucks, or Survey Junkie, you can earn extra money when you share your opinions on various topics, products, and services.

The online surveys vary in length, and the longer ones tend to pay more. This won’t replace a part-time or full-time job, but if you work with multiple survey sites, you can earn a few hundred dollars per month in your spare time.

The earnings can be redeemed as gift cards, cash payments, and more, depending on the site you’re working with.

Offline Ways to Make Money While on Maternity Leave

If you prefer not to work online, there are also some opportunities in your local area that will allow you to make money while on maternity leave.

18. Sell Things You Don’t Need

Let’s face it, most of us have things we don’t need cluttering our homes. Selling them to earn cash is a tried and tested way to make money quickly. You can sell them on Facebook Marketplace and eBay or host a garage sale at your home.

Some of the best-selling items include games, gaming systems, watches, jewelry, baby items, electronics, maternity clothes, power tools, and small household appliances.

19. Flea Market Flipping

If you don’t want to sell your own stuff, you can make good money flipping other people’s unwanted items instead.

This is a great side hustle if you have an eye for a bargain, and it can even develop into a full-time income.

One of the best ways to start is a free workshop from Flea Market Flipper that teaches you some pro secrets.

You can also see our list of the easiest things to flip for profit.

20. Flip Furniture

Buying inexpensive used furniture, fixing it up (paint, stain, upholstering, new hardware, etc.), and flipping it for a profit is a viable side hustle. The key to success is sourcing the furniture at a low price and selling it for a healthy profit.

Flea markets and garage sales are great places to find furniture, such as desks, chairs, tables, and more. There are even sites where furniture is offered for free if you collect it. Or you may find a piece along the road that has been put out for trash collection.

If you get good at furniture flipping, you can turn a piece around and sell it in less than a week. You’ll also enjoy taking something old and unwanted and turning it into something valuable. It’s a great way to earn extra money.

21. Rent Out Storage Space 

If you have some extra space in your home that can be used to store items, this space can be rented to create a new income stream.

There are always local people looking for short or long-term storage in your area. One of the best platforms is Neighbor. You can create a listing and rent out your attic, basement, garage, shed, or even a spot in your driveway. The platform connects you with local potential renters, and they even handle the payment collection.

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22. Rent Out an RV or Camper

If you own an RV or camper, it can be rented when you’re not using it (which is probably most of the time). RVshare is a peer-to-peer platform that connects you with renters who want to take an RV break. If you rent your vehicle for a few months per year, you can earn extra income amounting to thousands of dollars with minimal effort.

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23. Rent Out a Truck

Working on a similar principle to RVShare, you can rent a van or truck with Fetch to earn some extra cash. The vehicle can be rented by the hour, day, or on specific days during the week.

Most people don’t have a truck or van, and they may need to rent one to move a piece of furniture, and appliance, or something else. If you have a truck or van that you’re willing to rent, this is an excellent way to generate mostly passive income.

Fetch will market your truck or van to renters in your area. They also offer an optional device that allows renters to unlock the vehicle with their smartphone. Thanks to this device, you won’t even need to meet renters face to face.

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24. Provide Child Care

If you enjoy looking after a newborn or toddler, you can make extra money working for other mothers providing babysitting services.

We’re not suggesting starting a major day car service. Instead, we’re talking about watching one or two kids in addition to your own. You may know other parents who are interested in private child care rather than sending their baby or child to a larger provider.

Before you start, check your state laws to establish how many kids you can look after without applying for a daycare license.

25. Pet Sitting

If you enjoy spending time with animals, you can make good money with a dog walking and pet sitting business.

The best way to start is with a dedicated platform like Rover. After you set up your profile, you can connect with clients in your area who need your services.

To work on these platforms, you must pass a background check and choose an insurance package. Once you get a solid reputation for care and service, you can build a more significant business with social media promotion and flyers in your neighborhood.

Because this is your own business, you can tailor your preferences to make life easier. For example, if you’re pregnant and you can’t handle larger dogs, you can choose to only work with small dogs.

It’s essential to ensure that any dogs you have in your home are great with babies and kids.

Bonus: Find Unclaimed Money

It’s estimated that there’s $42 billion in unclaimed property and money in the U.S. today (source). The money is sitting there waiting to be claimed by the rightful owners, and it’s well worth a check to see if any of it is yours.

This cash can be in several locations, including bank accounts, stocks, uncashed dividends, IRS refunds, and other places. Some agencies track down unclaimed money, including and

It only takes a few minutes to check and see if you have a claim to any of this missing money, so it’s worth a shot.

Know Your Legal Rights

It’s essential to understand your rights under state law, and the good news is that some states have passed laws to improve the working situation for new parents. There may be state-sponsored paid parental leave programs or rules that require the employer to offer certain benefits. Look up what your state has to offer regarding maternity pay to ensure you get what you’re entitled to.

Under federal law, the FMLA requires certain employers to give workers up to 12 weeks of unpaid parental leave and hold a job without firing the employee. Around 56% of workers will qualify for this protection, and you need to find out if you’re eligible. This can offer some protection against unfair firing if you take parental leave.

You may be entitled to employer-provided benefits, and you need to understand these before you take any family leave. Take some time to research your work contract and talk with human resources to find out what you may be entitled to. It’s important to inform your employer about your parental leave plans well in advance to ensure they can arrange coverage. If you received an employee handbook at your job, checking and highlighting the relevant parental leave pages for easy reference is a great idea.

How Do You Survive Unpaid Maternity Leave?

As you can see, the options for assistance at the state and federal levels are pretty limited. So, it’s up to the parents to devise financial solutions to avoid hardship during maternity leave. Relying on your partner’s salary or getting help from your family can be helpful. But, some creative solutions can be helpful to cover some bills during maternity leave:

Take Out Short-Term Disability Insurance

A short-term disability insurance policy will pay a certain percentage of your salary across a multi-week period when you’re not working. Giving birth to a child is considered a short-term disability for many insurance companies.

Don’t buy the insurance when you’re pregnant because it’s regarded as a pre-existing condition, and you won’t be covered. So, some advanced financial planning is required to use this tip.

Negotiate Paid Maternity Leave

If you’re on good terms with your employer and you fill a critical position, it may be possible to negotiate with them to get some paid maternity leave. Even a few days of paid leave can be a big help.

It may be worth contacting other pregnant co-workers for support. A group will always have more pull when approaching a sympathetic boss or a good human resources department.

Approach Charities

If you are in a bad financial situation, you can turn to a charity that assists moms by providing the basics. A charity in your local area may offer free diapers, formula, or other assistance.

Other Income Hacks

If you get paid time off from your job, maximizing any vacation days available is a good idea. You can get a few days of paid leave to soften the financial blow.

There may be part-time work you can take on during pregnancy, but as you approach the due date, any physical labor is not an option.

Always look for extra support. You may find or have friends with outgrown baby clothes, car seats, second-hand cribs that you can upscale, and other valuable items. These will all reduce the costs of having a new addition to your family.

Are You Allowed to Make Money While on Maternity Leave?

Yes, you are. Whether your maternity leave is paid or unpaid, you can earn money by doing other things, unless it is specifically prohibited in your contract or employment agreement. Generally, all of the options we’ve covered are on the table.

How Does Maternity Leave Work?

The details of your maternity leave will vary depending on your employer. The FMLA provides protection so that you don’t lose your job because of missing work after having a baby, but it leaves most of the terms in the hands of the employer.

Some employers offer paid maternity or paternity up to a specified length. Typically, you’ll receive your salary and also maintain benefits like health insurance. Other employers may offer unpaid maternity leave. And some employers who offer paid maternity leave also allow you to extend it with a period of unpaid leave. You won’t be paid during this period, but it protects your job for longer.

Be sure to check with the human resources department at your employer to get full details on the maternity leave benefits that are available to you.

Final Thoughts on Making Money on Maternity Leave

Maternity leave should be a time to enjoy being at home with the new addition to your family. But, if you have no access to paid maternity leave benefits, you’ll need to explore other options to fund this period of your life.

It may be hard to earn a full-time income, but developing a side hustle that will cover some of the bills is possible. Many of these side hustles can be developed into a full-time work-from-home career if you don’t want to return to work. This can give you a flexible way to earn extra money and spend time with your newborns, toddlers, and older kids at home.

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Disclosure: Information presented on Vital Dollar and through related email marketing is intended for informational purposes only and is not meant to be taken as financial advice. Please see our Disclosure for further information.