Congratulations on your pregnancy! I remember feeling so thrilled seeing that positive pregnancy test. I wanted to shout my good news from the rooftops. Sharing your pregnancy news in your personal life and knowing when to tell your boss you’re pregnant may be very different scenarios. Even though pregnancy-related discrimination at work is supposedly a thing of the past, it can still be very worrisome to share your pregnancy with your workplace for various reasons. Every pregnancy and mother is different, so the best time for you to share may be different than someone else.
If you are planning a pregnancy or recently found out you are expecting, there are a few ways to prepare to tell your boss you are pregnant that will make for a smooth announcement. Remember, there is no ideal time that works for everyone. The important thing is considering all the factors for you personally when you’re working throughout your pregnancy. Make the decision to share on a timeline that works best for you.
Consider Your Pregnancy Symptoms
Technically you do not need to tell anyone you are pregnant until very late in your pregnancy. You are required to tell your boss you are pregnant 30 days prior to using the Family Medical Leave Act for maternity leave if that applies to your workplace. But for most women, you will feel more comfortable telling your team when you start to be visibly showing. For many women, this falls around the beginning of the second trimester. Telling your workplace about your pregnancy can alleviate the stress of having to hide your situation every day. It can be very overwhelming and challenging to hide your news on a daily basis depending on your symptoms.
One of the first things to consider when planning to tell your boss you are pregnant is what early pregnancy symptoms you are experiencing. The first trimester can bring morning sickness, fatigue, headaches, mood swings, and a whole array of difficult symptoms. With my first child, I had terrible morning sickness as early as week 5. My work station did not make for easy bathroom trips or concealing an illness, so I felt the need to tell my boss right away. Telling him sooner rather than later meant that I could receive adequate support. I was able to rearrange my schedule during peak sickness times, as well as switch up my seat as needed. If you are having any debilitating early pregnancy symptoms, it may be best to share earlier rather than later. You will be a lot more comfortable and be able to request accommodations if you need them.
Request Accommodations As Soon As You Need Them
Speaking of accommodations, telling your boss you are expecting early on allows you more time to request accommodations to ease any pregnancy-related discomforts at work. Growing a human in your body for nine months is very taxing for mom, both physically and emotionally! You may need workplace accommodations to stay safe and comfortable during your pregnancy.
If you work in an industry that involves potential exposure to certain hazards or something extremely physically demanding, you will need to request alternate arrangements to ensure you can work to the best of your ability while staying safe and healthy. Some moms need a different work station or chair for comfort, or flexible scheduling to accommodate any medical needs. I had several high-risk pregnancies involving extra appointments so it was important for me to work with my boss to identify the best scheduling solution. Scheduling can become a challenge to ensure you are attending to all appointments and needs you may have throughout pregnancy. Some common accommodations during pregnancy could include changes to seating or assignments, modified schedules or breaks, assistance with manual tasks, or safety gear, As things arise in your pregnancy, consider any accommodations that will make things easier as your body changes.
Before sharing the news of your pregnancy at work, you should spend some time researching the policies at your workplace. You want to be aware of any time off or maternity leave policies, along with any state or federal laws that may apply to your company. You should be aware of your rights and what options you have before starting the conversation. Consider connecting with an HR representative at your company to ask any questions and receive relevant information. This will make you feel more confident when telling your boss and better able to answer questions that come up. Your boss will appreciate your preparedness as they identify solutions with you for managing your maternity leave.
Being prepared will also make it easier to advocate for yourself and allow you to make well-informed decisions. While pregnancy discrimination is illegal, subtle discrimination related to pregnancy still happens often. Women are often passed up for promotions or not considered for important projects as often as their male counterparts. Knowing what you are entitled to allow you to be aware of any potential issues as they arise.
Don’t Feel Obligated To Tell Everyone At Once
Telling your boss you are pregnant is most important when it comes to your workplace. Telling your boss first means you are preserving your relationship with your boss so they do not hear it from someone else first. It also opens the door for you to request accommodations or make arrangements as needed. Focus on when is the best time to discuss your news with your boss. Do not feel pressured to tell everyone at work at once unless you want to share.
Once you have told your boss, it is your decision who else you would like to share with and when. This could include co-workers or clients that you work with. Once maternity leave planning arrives at the end of pregnancy, you may need to discuss with certain co-workers that will be covering your responsibilities. Be mindful that if you interact with any co-workers on social media or in your personal life they may become aware through other means.
However and whenever you decide to tell your boss you are pregnant, do what feels most comfortable for you! Pregnancy is such an exciting time. You do not want any part of that excitement diminished or challenged by any work-related stress. Always be an advocate for yourself, and do your best to have a comfortable nine months growing that sweet baby!