When To Tell Your Boss You’re Pregnant?

Sharing your pregnancy with other friends and family is pretty much straightforward: you break the news and they will send their congratulatory messages. A little celebratory party might also happen, but it’s still a pretty simple affair.


However, that might not be the case within a workplace. There are a lot of reasons why a pregnancy announcement might not garner the same celebratory effect with your boss and colleagues. First thing first, they will adjust the overall workflow to accommodate your leave. Second, you might have the decision to stay a full-time parent after your pregnancy.


Either way, your boss and your colleagues will need to adjust their workflow and strategies to get the operations running. This is the reason why announcing your pregnancy at the right time in the right way is very important to maintain rapport within your workplace. We’ll walk you through some legalities and factors to consider as you navigate some of these challenges.

Are You Legally Obligated To Break The News ASAP?

Here’s an important factor to know: you are not obligated to disclose your pregnancy as soon as you get the test results. Your employer might eventually know from your colleagues, from rumors, or simply just by observation. According to Nolo, most women announce their pregnancies in the workplace somewhere during the first trimester. You can always break the news at a later time if you need time to think things through and get a comprehensive plan.

However, your boss and colleagues will surely appreciate it if you inform them early on to avoid making rushed decisions later on.

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Make A Self Assessment

You must consider a few factors before making and executing your game plan. This is a practical time to take a deeper look at your career roadmap and plans during and after your pregnancy. Here are some of the things you need to consider before telling your boss you’re expecting a child.


Your Comfort Level

Parenting is more like a mixed bag than a linear experience. Not all pregnancies are planned, and hence, you might have some reasons why you would want to withhold in news for a little bit. Feel free to break the news ASAP or at a later date based on how you feel about this pregnancy.

But do note that it would be a bad idea to inform them within an unreasonable date. Additionally, informing them of your pregnancy right when the baby bump is apparent might leave a bad taste to your supervisor.


Your Pregnancy Status

As mentioned earlier, most women will try to at least get through the first trimester before announcing their pregnancy at work. Some would try to make an announcement during the early phases of the second trimester. This is done to make sure that their pregnancy would be healthy and will less likely get affected by miscarriage risks.

There are expecting moms who don’t mind announcing their baby’s arrival right away. But some would wait till they at least know the gender of their child. Just don’t wait until the third trimester or you will likely be on bad terms with your boss.

Your Physical Symptoms

Classic pregnancy symptoms will start to manifest once your body starts to change. You might experience morning sickness, fatigue, food aversion, nesting behavior, and moodiness among other things. If these symptoms are bringing your productivity down, it might be a good idea to inform your workplace as soon as possible to negotiate some arrangements.



Your Role At Work

Living work to get a maternity leave would be a tricky process, especially if you also handle direct reports or some of the vital accountabilities in the company. The transfer of responsibilities and projects would take more time if you handle a lot of things within your daily operations. In this case, the sooner you announce your intent to file maternity leave, the more time you can prepare for it. Take the business lifecycle into consideration, especially if your company is having a hard time in its operations or if the peak season is approaching.

The financial status before maternity leave is also a reasonable consideration. For instance, if you take unpaid leave, you need to have savings to deal with hospital bills and keep you afloat. You would also need to inform them if you decide to be a full-time mom so they can arrange your separation amicably. Note that some companies forfeit the maternity benefits if you’re not coming back after the maternity leave period.

If you plan to stay with the company after your maternity leave, make sure to delegate your tasks and projects efficiently before the maternity leave. Train someone to do the processes that you do so that someone can execute them while you’re away. Leaving your colleagues or direct reports in the dark will only cause stress and conflict.


How To Break The News Professionally?

If you and your boss have a very good relationship, the best way to announce your pregnancy is by having a face-to-face conversation. That way, you’re cementing your trust and rapport with your supervisor and the company. Video call is the way to go if the company setup is remote.

But if you’re not in a strained relationship or for some reason, a face-to-face or video isn’t something you’re comfortable with, your best option is to write an email. Keep it short and concise, and show your willingness to cooperate with the next step. You don’t need to prepare a very exhaustive plan just to bring the news, the terms can be discussed easily later on.

However, it’s important that your supervisor will get the news directly from you and not from other people (especially via rumor).


Know Your Rights

In most cases, the supervisors are very responsive and understanding. But pregnancy discrimination does happen, and it can be disheartening. If that’s the case, continue communicating with your client in a professional and confident way.

You might want to consider help from HR to ensure that you will get your benefits. Get yourself informed on your company policies and local state mandates to know your rights and enforce them appropriately.

Usually, pregnant women are allowed 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the FMLA or Family and Medical Leave Act.

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