The research showed that three quarters of new mothers (75%) would be a stay-at-home mum if money was no object, with almost six in ten (58%) forced back to work due to debt and financial worries.
Such is the financial impact of going on maternity leave that more than one in ten mums (11%) are forced to cut their maternity leave short and return to work early, with 9% forced to re-think their plans about not going back at all.
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However, with more than four in ten (41%) going back to work part-time, and a quarter (24%) taking a pay cut because of part-time hours, new mums are still feeling the pinch.
Careers taking a backseat
With money worries the overwhelming driver for those heading back to the office, just 14% of mums said their main reason for returning to work was to resume their career.
However, almost one in ten (9%) feel their career progression suffered as a result of taking maternity leave. And at a time when household finances are already stretched to breaking point, almost one in ten (9%) say that their earning capacity has been hindered by having a baby.
Worryingly, a further fifth (18%) say both their earning capacity and career progression has been dealt a blow.
Maternity leave preparation vital
Ann Robinson, uSwitch Director of Consumer Policy, commented: “The high cost of living coupled with the often crippling cost of a mortgage means that many households today need two incomes to get by.
“Unfortunately many new mothers are paying the price for this by seeing their choices taken away by the financial realities of modern life.
“Sadly, very few mums have the luxury of being able to stay at home for the whole of their maternity leave and even fewer have the choice to be a stay at home mum.
“Preparation is key for those planning a family – check your company’s maternity policy, calculate how much you will need to survive, save money in readiness and cut down on household bills and unnecessary expenses.
“By keeping a tight lid on your household budget hopefully you will remember your maternity leave for the right reasons and not for the financial headache and debt it can bring.”