Finding out you are pregnant is, of course, super exciting! Once you’ve told your partner, your besties and maybe your parents, you might start to ponder when you should announce the good news to your co-workers. It’s normal to feel anxious about telling work you are expecting, and when and how you’ll tell work you are pregnant will depend hugely on your line of work and your relationship with your boss and coworkers.
It’s pretty traditional for women to wait until after their 1st trimester or after their 12-week scan to announce the news to work colleagues. But if you work in a labour-intensive environment or work with hazardous chemicals, you might want to consider breaking the news a bit sooner. In this article, we will discuss when and how to tell work you are pregnant and how to prepare for that sometimes nerve-wracking conversation!
When to tell work you are pregnant
We briefly touched on this, but most women wait until after their 12-week scan or first trimester to tell work they are expecting. Why? Well, mainly because the risk of miscarriage is highest in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. During the very early stages of pregnancy, there is a 1 in 4 chance of miscarriage. This reduces greatly with every passing week.
If you find yourself experiencing severe morning sickness, extreme fatigue or other symptoms, that affect your ability to work, it might be necessary to tell your employer sooner so they can understand why you keep falling asleep at your desk or running to the toilet!
If you feel you cannot carry on as normal before the 12-week mark, schedule an appointment with your manager to share the news, and they will be able to take action and make some changes to help you manage your symptoms at work. Don’t suffer in silence simply because that’s what tradition tells you is right.
Alternatively, if you are in no hurry to share your pregnancy news. The latest you can legally tell work you are expecting is 15 weeks before your due date to be eligible for maternity leave. By this stage, you may well be sporting a tell-tale baby bump that gives it away anyway!
Whenever you decide to share your news, book a meeting at a time you know you’ll have your manager’s full attention so you will have the time to discuss your workload and ask any questions without any outside stressors getting in the way.
How to tell work you are pregnant
It amazes me how many women worry about telling their line manager or supervisor they are pregnant. Yet, the majority of employers do react positively, and why shouldn’t they? Being pregnant is, of course, great news.
Even if your employer is unhappy about it, firstly, that’s not really your problem. They should be trained in handling such situations. Secondly, you have rights which means they cannot discriminate against or treat you unfairly because you are pregnant. Of course, knowing this doesn’t take away anxiety, but it’s important to be aware of this if you receive any adverse reaction.
Assuming you have a boss that is reasonable and professional, we suggest arranging a face-to-face meeting, either in person or virtually, to share your news. Of course, telling them over the phone is also possible, but face-to-face allows for a more personal conversation. You can physically see their reaction (which will likely be good!), and you’ll also have the opportunity to ask questions about the company’s policies and procedures.
How much information you share about your plans for starting maternity leave or what you want to do regarding work after the baby is born at this stage is entirely up to you. Many women wait until later in their pregnancy to advise the date they wish to start maternity leave, and you don’t have to disclose your intentions to return to work before the baby is here.
That being said, there’s no harm in having an open discussion if you are considering returning to work part-time or know roughly how long you intend to take off work. Your employer will most likely welcome a discussion about this when you are ready, as it allows them to plan ahead for your leave.
Telling work you are pregnant can be extremely daunting. But take comfort in the fact that most employers are supportive of pregnant employees and will work with you and support you through pregnancy and when you return to work.
If you are looking for someone to talk to about your early pregnancy symptoms, join us in the Hoopsy fertility community, where women like you are looking for support.
Have you recently told work you are pregnant? How did it go? Let us know!