How to tell your employer you’re pregnant

Maggie Zehring, of Scottsdale.
Maggie Zehring, of Scottsdale.Written by Maggie Zehring

Written by Maggie Zehring

If you’re expecting, congratulations! If you’re anything like me, it took a minute for that realization to sink in. Being pregnant means nothing will be the same again.

After thinking about how I would tell my husband—and just jumping for joy—the next concern that popped into my head was how I was going to cross the pregnancy bridge with my employer.

For most working women, there are multiple facets to digesting the big news because of the effect pregnancy and motherhood can have on your career.

How did I manage this conundrum, and what did I learn? First, start with a big, deep breath and, in my case, a big cup of (now decaf) coffee.

Hop online and you’ll find many opinions about when it is best to tell your boss (or even your family) about your pregnancy. Some people choose to wait until after the first trimester. Others feel it’s best to hold out until the “bump” is showing to share the news.

When you tell your boss is really a matter of balancing your respect for him or her, the responsibilities of your job and your comfort in sharing this big news. Whatever you decide, remember this: Federal and state laws protect you from discrimination; you can’t be fired because of your reproductive status.

Start by reviewing your company’s maternity-leave policy. If there isn’t one, prepare a list of questions and expectations before you approach your boss.

Review your calendar of projects and objectives so that deadlines are clear in your mind and you can give your boss realistic expectations about what you will complete before your baby’s birth.

Then consider your options after you have the baby. Will you go back to work? Do you hope to resume your role part time or remotely? Or will you quit working to stay home with your child? You don’t have to have answers for all of these questions right away, but it’s never too soon to start thinking about them and creating a transition plan.

More articles about pregnancy.