How long can I have of maternity leave as a single mother in the UK?

I plan to be a single mother through IVF in 5 years time when I have my first child. By then I will be working full-time for the NHS. How long will I be able to be paid while taking time off work to care for the baby before I have to return to work? I see that people on benefits are not required to look for work... show more I plan to be a single mother through IVF in 5 years time when I have my first child. By then I will be working full-time for the NHS. How long will I be able to be paid while taking time off work to care for the baby before I have to return to work?
I see that people on benefits are not required to look for work while their youngest child are under the age of 3 or 4; so would that sort of be the same amount of time before I have to return to work?
At the moment I am researching about it, so I thought I’s ask on online forums first. Thank you for answering.
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