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Pregnancy and Work. What’s the Plan?

The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and should not be considered medical advice. Always consult your doctor for the most appropriate treatment.

Telling Your Boss You're Pregnant

You’re pregnant! Time to tell the boss, right? Hold up on sending that company-wide email.
Sometimes announcing your pregnancy right away makes sense. Sometimes it’s smart to put the news on ice. In the end, it’s totally your call, but postpone your pregnancy stories for a minute and consider these pros and cons:

  • You can’t always hide the truth. Does your “morning” sickness last all day? Suddenly sporting a kangaroo pouch? Your “secret” might not be a secret after all.
  • Some jobs can put your baby at risk. Heavy lifting, hazardous chemicals, hours and hours of standing, and reproductive hazards can lead to complications like high blood pressure and premature birth.
  • The first trimester is a delicate time. You’re adjusting to the idea of being a mom. Your body is adjusting to the idea of carrying a baby. Some wait to share the news until the second trimester, when things have normalized a bit and the chance of miscarriage has decreased.
  • Not all companies are family-friendly. Sad but true. Before you share your news with your boss, try and get a feel for how the announcement will be received.

Information is power. Know your rights as a working mom-to-be. Check out the Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978 and the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993. They’re great resources for information on how the U.S. government’s got your back.

Ready to spill the beans? Set yourself up for success by following these simple rules:

  • Start at the top. Show respect by telling your boss first. You don’t want him or her finding out over the water cooler.
  • No fly-by announcements. Set a meeting. Carve out time. Give the discussion its due.
  • Come with a plan. Not your birth plan. Your work plan. Be ready to discuss things like your maternity leave and who will do your job while you’re gone.
  • Be flexible. Your idea of a transition might not match your boss’s needs. Try to find common ground that respects your job and your pregnancy.
  • Put it in writing. It eliminates any “he said/she said” down the road.
  • Be honest. It’s always the best policy

Information is power. Know your rights as a working mom-to-be.

Next, it’s time to meet with HR to review your company’s benefits. Things to discuss include:

  • Maternity leave: paid or unpaid?
  • Maternity benefits: What does your company offer?
  • Your company’s insurance plan: What is and isn’t covered?
  • Extending your leave: What are your options?
  • Disability: What’s the contingency plan?

It’s an exciting time. Relax. You have choices every step of the way. Armed with information, you can make the right ones for you.

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