Telling the Boss You Are Pregnant

When it comes to telling your boss you are pregnant, many women are at a crossroads.  One woman I know was up for a promotion at her job and waited until after the hiring process to announce her happy expectant news. When she landed the job and the boss found out she was pregnant, his first response was, “If I had known you were pregnant, I wouldn”t have hired you.” Illegal?  Yes.

Even so, it is easy to see things from the eyes of a supervisor or boss. After all, they realize that when a woman becomes pregnant, they are in for a certain period of maternity leave – which leaves them down an employee. And with laws in place to protect the jobs of pregnant woman, employers cannot just release an employee because she is pregnant. Yet – employers are human, and they realize pregnancy and having children may or may not affect a woman”s job in the long run.

So what should you do?  Should you spill the news to your co-workers and your management team, or should you keep your lips tight?

Experts believe that a woman should feel safe and secure to announce the news of her pregnancy at work as soon as she feels comfortable doing so. In early pregnancy, when you may experience morning sickness, or need to call out sick, having your employer know you are pregnant can be beneficial.  Additionally, if you have a stressful or highly physical job, it may be in your best interests to let your boss know so he or she can lighten your workload or transfer you to another department. Of course, all of this depends on your work culture and the nature of your business.

Some women decide to not break the news until after the first trimester due to risk of miscarriage or because of privacy reasons. There is no law or legal expectation for an employee to announce her pregnancy at work, and many strides have been taken to protect the jobs of pregnant woman. Years ago, it was acceptable for an employer to let a woman go because she was pregnant. Today, it is not.

One thing that is important is to make sure that you speak to your boss directly, and first – rather than let the news of your pregnancy reach him or her via the “grapevine.” This way he or she can discuss any concerns with you personally. Likely they will want to know if you plan to return to work after the baby is born, and in some cases, may need to make arrangements during your maternity leave so that their business is not negatively affected. Depending on your position, being properly prepared may be a process that needs to start sooner rather than later. This also gives you the chance to offer to help put a plan in place for your maternity leave.

The risk of your happy news affecting your stature in the workplace is one that cannot be ignored. Some people will see your pregnancy as a problem, for them. Even though legally an employer cannot discriminate against an employee due to pregnancy, some still will. This is why it is important for you to proceed with caution. At the end of the day, telling the boss you are pregnant takes a combination of timing and tact, and only YOU can know when the time is right.

Written By Stef, Mom of 4 @Momspirational

This information is not intended to replace the advice of a trained medical doctor. Health & Parenting Ltd disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information, which is provided to you on a general information basis only and not as a substitute for personalized medical advice. All contents copyright © Health & Parenting Ltd 2017. All rights reserved.

Team Health & ParentingTelling the Boss You Are Pregnant

Comments 32

  1. Leann

    I am 12 weeks pregnant and I work at a nursing home as a CNA. I’m pregnant with my 3rd kid but with my first two I was not working so this is my first time being pregnant while working. So I have no idea how to tell my boss. I get really nervous when it comes to telling people news like this because I always thing the worst. Does anybody have an ideas or tips that might help with making this process a little bit easier for me? Please and thank you!

  2. Lucie

    I am 12 weeks and 2 days pregnant we had our scan three days ago and are so excited about welcoming our first baby into our life.
    As childhood sweethearts we married 8 months ago and been together for nearly 9 years so it’s something that we feel very positive about, however, I started a new job 3 months ago.
    It’s a completely new career path for me and I love it! I passed my probation 2 days ago and I still haven’t told them as I was worried they would dismiss me. I thought that once I had passed it would be easier but I don’t want them thinking I have kept such a big secret away from them to use them for maternity pay as that is 100% not the case. It wasn’t planned but we weren’t exactly being careful either.
    I have no idea when or how to break it to them and I know time is running out before people start to notice.
    If anyone has any helpful advice that would be great.
    They’ve been so lovely to me to far but I don’t know anyone enough to know how they will react!

  3. Sarah

    I’ve had a tough time with work. Unlike most of you I’m a contract worker so I have absolutely zero rights. I’ve been working full time as a contract worker for my boss for 4 years. When I told him I wanted to take 12 weeks off(unpaid of course) after having the baby, he was shocked and said he was thinking more like 2 weeks. So it looks like I’ll be quitting my job in 7 months. It’s tough.

  4. Kura Waugh

    I told my boss and entire workplace a couple of days after I found out (I was about 8 weeks along)! I was just so excited I couldn’t help it. I’m so lucky to work in such a family friendly and supportive office. I will need to do up a contingency plan for my maternity leave but besides that everything is business as usual.

  5. Hannah McAllister

    I’m 12 weeks pregnant and I’m a chef, I told my boss at 6 weeks cos of the job I do and all the appointments I had, I have been struggling to do all my hours in the kitchen and had to call in sick a few time as I was exhausted all the time and struggling with pregnancy sickness. It is summer and I had fainted at work a few times, the guys I work with I feel didn’t care and started saying stuff about me behind my back, made me feel awful like I was “pulling a sicky”. I love my job and would never do that, so now I am working front of house where I can sit down regularly and not as stressful. I did feel discriminated against though by people I thought was my friends, I now would like to leave but where else would hire me now?

  6. Vika

    My first pregnancy i told my boss when I was about 4.5 months.
    He was great about it. Have me lots of advice and suggested I took longer leave than I had requested. My due date happened to be the same as his wife had been with their first baby. I was terrified about having a baby in October, halfway through the school year and he said October babies were the best. Always the oldest ones in school, etc.
    later he told me people had already asked him about me. It made me very upset. People know nothing about privacy. Good thing my boss was so nice about it.
    He’s not even my boss anymore and was among the first five people to know of my new pregnancy.
    Now I have a new boss and I’m not too fond of him. Last thing I want is having to shake hands with the guy. I’ll just wait till the last day of school and mail him a letter.

  7. Brooklyn

    My boss found out I was pregnant and cut me from 30+ hours to 9 hours so I wrote shove this up your ass on the schedule and clocked out and left.

  8. R.A.

    So I waited till 13 weeks to tell my boss with an HR rep presesent. Her face lit up and she jumped out of her chair and hugged me as though I’d just made her a grandma. I never expected that. The day after I told her boss and he gave me a hug. And the best part is they said I didn’t have to work in the lab anymore until after maternity leave. Working in pharmaceutical R&D where there are tons of hazardous chemicals around (literally) this was the biggest relief. Haven’t had the leave plan worked out yet but at this point safety was my biggest concern and the only reason I chose to say something so soon.

  9. Jess

    I had to tell my boss very early on, I didn’t really want to but I also didn’t have much choice because of the kind of job I do. I told her that I wanted to keep it secret for now until I was 12 weeks (I was around 4 at the time). She agreed with me and kept it quiet. A few weeks later she had told 4 people and the news had spread very quickly! I was so angry! My one moment to share my amazing news had been taken away from me!
    Wish I never told her now.

  10. Emily

    With my 2nd child, I was made redundant two weeks after telling them I was pregnant. It was horrible and very clear it was due to my pregnancy. And I didn’t find another job after that. I sued for sex discrimination, it took 10 months but was worth it, cost them dearly 😀. After my daughter was born I found a new job (she was 4 months) and fell pregnant within a year of working there. I was really really worried telling them but they were great and had no problems ( been there 6 years now) just found out I’m 13 weeks pregnant with my 4th!!! Massive shock as my husband had a vasectomy in January. Will be telling my employer in the new year.

  11. Lara

    I had to tell my boss very early (4 wks) due to the nature of the work I was doing at the time. Having had complications and time off for appts was easier because she knew. She has been very supportive and although no-one else knows yet, she is stopping me from lifting and letting me sit down. Although my contract will end while I’m on maternity leave, I love working there!

  12. Cota

    I’m 12 weeks pregnant and have note yet told my boss. The anxiety of telling him is horrible, so I’ve been talking a lot about this to my husband (he works at a company and has to handle these issues). After many days crying and thinking what whill happen, I realized that I would rather prefer being unemployed that workig at a place that do not support pregnancy. Discrimination in my country (chile) is real, so i think it’s better to be working at a place that really wants and supports you, the other morrons just don’t deserve you!

  13. Jen

    I recently received a job offer working with my cousin as my boss. I’m so excited but just found out I’m 5-6 weeks pregnant. I interviewed and everything and I’m ready to accept the position but they don’t know I’m pregnant. I don’t want to keep this news from my cousin but I really don’t know if I should wait to tell them until after I’m officially hired or tell them now? I’m a horrible liar and I know I’ll feel better about being up front. But I’m so indecisive. What do all of you think?

  14. Linda

    I worked at a distribution centre of post/mail. In my firt week of my pregnantcy it was already to difficult to do the job witch requires lifting several packages of 30 kilo’s.
    Sinds then the said that the don’t have other work for me and haven’t worked sinds 🙁
    It pretty much sucks finding work becose you’re pregnant. That is giving me a lot of stress!

    But! On the positive side it makes me have more time to relax and enjoy my first pregnantcy.

  15. Jennifer

    I am 12 weeks and 2 days. I told my boss at 9 weeks because I knew I would take time off for future appointments and I wanted him to be in the loop. He was very supportive and still is. I’ve been with my company for 10 years and I’m lucky that they support working mothers. I feel for those who don’t have supportive colleagues. It’s not right.

  16. Michelle

    I am 3 months pregnant and have only just begun a new job after a duration of unemployment. And i’m affraid that they would let me go just beacause it’s legal to fire an employee up until 3 months of employment (according to israel’s laws).
    But on the other hand I am gonna start showing very soon.

    Any type of advice will be happily welcome.

  17. Sally

    I haven’t told my boss yet i was contemplating waiting till it shows as my boss has treated other ladies that were pregnant earlier very coldly.
    Im still yet to decide when to tell her.

  18. Fer

    I work in law enforcement and I am 12 weeks pregnant. I have worked with the agency over 5 years. I have not announced it just a couple of close friends know about it. The sad part is that my colleges are already talking about my weight gain not really subtlety. Actually one of the comments I heard back was that I must be pregnant because my thighs and butt look really big. I don’t even talk to this guy and he is making rude comments about me. I have always been in good shape I actually have gain a total of one and a half pounds. This is my first pregnancy and I am anxious and nervous the least thing I need is added stress about my weight gain. I am a good worker with great performance reviews during the time I have worked there. I am afraid that I am going to go through my pregnancy in this kind of environment. My husband says to ignore the comments but it difficult not to feel selfcouncious. I just want to enjoy this time.

  19. Dominique

    I couldn’t get away without telling my boss any later than 6 weeks. My first trimester I swear I slept through everything and only got up to eat or the washroom. My performance at work suffered greatly due to that and I had already been on the chopping block earlier that year so I wanted to day in good standings being honest with the boss.
    On my 18th week of pregnancy I received my 2 weeks notice of being laid off at work with these rediculous expectations that had never been addressed to me at any point in my employment with them. My husband and I suspect that he didn’t want to have me on staff any longer due to Dr appts and my performance although I was still bringing in the same if not more work than before I got pregnant. We don’t have much to go on but we are considering going after him for something…
    I got so stressed from the notice he gave me and stressed from the thought of having to try to find another job that would be willing to hire me and allow me at least 600 working hours so I could still qualify for a full mat leave. I mean.. who is going to hire a 20 week pregnant woman that they have to train first and would only be working for another 3 months!?!?!?
    I was no longer sleeping and was forcing myself to have food I was not hungry for or in the mood to eat.. I think I had the equivalent of 2 full meals over the course of 3 days before my husband told me to go to the docs and get put on stress leave.
    Now I’m stress free at home and go right into mat leave about 6 or 7 weeks before the baby is due and still qualify for the full thing! Oh and I didn’t have to work the last two weeks. FLIP YEAH! !!

  20. ana

    i told my boss first before telling my colleagues, he was shocked and not really happy but he acted like he was happy for me.
    Later on, I think he had a sort of rethink about it and he has been supportive. I am the first person getting pregnant at my place of work so i guess he wasn’t expecting losing an employee. He actually told me he didn’t know how we were going to cope while I was away which made me feel actually needed in the office.

  21. Em

    I already told my boss and she is being very understanding. I’m worried that the rest of my family won’t take my amazing new so well. My younger sister terminated a pregnancy only a few months ago. And she just told me today she was feeling down about the decition that she made. I don’t want to upset her with my news or I don’t want her to be upset with me about my news. The whole this is making me upset. I don’t want to be walking on egg shells around her because I’m very happy

  22. Val

    pregnancy discrimination is a very big problem and it shouldnt be. I feel for all woman that have to go through it. I would report these employers so it doesnt keep happening. Thats unacceptable. Many woman work very hard through their pregnancies n are very productive and there isnt a reason they should be treated like that. So sad 🙁

  23. Naomi

    Wow! So many horror stories.
    I took a risk telling my boss 1 week before my 6-month probation was up as I was 14 weeks along and wasn’t going to see him on shift for a month. He was brilliant, and more excited than me! I asked for it to be kept confidential for a while due to complications and also working in a client environment, I didn’t want them finding out yet.
    By 20 weeks people had started to guess and everyone has been lovely and very supportive since it became official. Good luck to anyone announcing their pregnancy to their boss and I hope you all have a positive experience x

  24. Megan

    Same as Lacey. My boss knew I was trying and had been very supportive. I told my close working team at 11 weeks and the rest of the office at 12 weeks, while we were holding a baby shower for two other women! Very supportive environment for pregnant women in our office.

  25. Antele

    I am 28wks pregnant. My boss has been very supportive. He makes sure my job is lighter. He is an awesome person.

  26. Virginia

    I was actually treated poorly when I made my boss aware of my pregnancy. They surprisingly made my work “harder” meaning they tried to get me to lift 20+ quart juice containers and heavy garbage bags/cans. Then when I told them that I was unable to do so, I would get a in trouble for bein uncooperative. I was also out and in the hospital for 3 day with a supposed misscarriage (that’s what the er thought it was) and was severely dehydrated. I goto work the next day with dr note in hand and give it to my boss… Then they tried to deny me leave for an OB appointment then told me that I had missed too many Unexcused days (5 for there)… But wait, I had only missed work for dr appointments and brought in notes. My boss then told me that they had LOST MY 3 DAY EXCUSE! And then tried to say that I made up being in the hospital for 3 days. I was then faced with them telling me I could either turn in my two week notice and leave willingly or be fired. Wanting to keep a fire off my record I turn in my two week notice… They didn’t let me work those last few weeks, held my check for almost a month, and come to find out they wrote on my file that I left “so I could work closer to home.” That was not brought up at anytime and was NOT the reason I had left. My ex boss was totally unsupportive about me being pregnant then said I used a possible miscarriage as an excuse to miss work…. I am glad to say that I no longer work for that company and since leaving, my life has been much less stressful.

  27. Chan

    Yep, I just started a new job (I found out I was pregnant between having the interview and starting) and due to the fact that I had suffered a miscarriage previously, and I was going to be working in an environment where there would be heavy items, I decided to tell them on my first day at only 6 weeks pregnant. It was fine for about 2 weeks, and then they wanted me to climb a ladder and lift a 20kg box above my head (which is illegal in any case) and I’m only 60kg mind you, so of course I said I wasn’t comfortable doing lifting 1/3 of my body weight on a ladder whilst pregnant. About 15 minutes later I was pulled into the office and told ‘we don’t have a job suitable for a pregnant woman’ and because I was still in my probation period, there wasn’t a thing I could do.

  28. Angela

    After I told my boss he has done nothing but retaliate against me. This company is not an ideal workplace to begin with and now this has just made it worse but he put me in a position where I had to disclose it. So I agree with the article be careful it could just make things worse and add stress to you and your baby which is not good.

  29. Anne

    My doctor suggested waiting until I hit about 20 weeks (note: my pregnancy has been normal and so far has had few complications – she would not have recommended this course of action otherwise) and I wish I had followed her advice when one of my workplaces blatantly tried to discriminate against me. Luckily I knew a lawyer (who also happened to be pregnant) who helped me understand the laws regarding gender and disability discrimination as they apply to pregnancy. I should have taken time to research my rights, etc., before announcing my pregnancy. Fortunately my other workplace has been nothing but supportive, with the exception of one colleague, who actually stormed out of the room when my pregnancy became known. One never knows how people will react; most people have been supportive and positive, but those few who aren’t have added extra stress to my life just when I didn’t want it.

  30. Emma

    I am now 13 weeks but unfortunately suffered for Hyperemesis since week 6 and have just return to work after a month off. My boss is not supportive! Some of the comments I received yesterday were awful. Very demotivating. Wish I had more support as I’m still suffering from sickness!

  31. Lacey

    My boss knew from day one that I was trying to get pregnant and she actually has been rooting and praying for me. Now that I am, she is thrilled and keeping an eye on me. I love my boss! I wish other bosses were like her!