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How to Tell Work You're Pregnant
Updated on
October 30, 2023

How to Tell Work You're Pregnant

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How to Tell Work You're Pregnant.
How to Tell Work You're Pregnant

Eager to tell your family and friends that you’re expecting? While loved ones are the easy part, telling work may seem a bit more complicated. Depending on your relationship with your manager, you may feel nervous, uncomfortable, excited or a mix of emotions.

Before you take the leap of announcing your pregnancy to your manager, your coworkers and your HR department, get the info on:

When should you tell your boss that you’re pregnant?

You can technically tell your boss any time you want, but here’s some advice to keep in mind: Most people choose to wait until after their first trimester is over before informing their workplace—that’s when the risk of miscarriage is significantly lower, and you’ll know by then if you’re having multiples.

However, you might choose to tell your employer sooner just to alleviate any anxiety around keeping your pregnancy a secret.

If you’d prefer to keep the news to yourself for as long as possible, just keep your company’s HR department in mind (and all the paperwork they have to get through for your family leave). At least 30 days before your due date is the minimum amount of advance notice you should give, though more notice is always better so there’s plenty of time to prepare your leave documents.

Regardless of when you decide to tell your employer, you should tell your direct manager first. The two of you can then work together to tell HR, plan how things will be handled in your absence and discuss any potential changes for after you return from leave.

What do you say to your boss when announcing your pregnancy?

There’s no script on this, and exactly what you say depends entirely on your relationship with your manager. We won’t put words in your mouth; just say whatever you feel comfortable with, and remember that it’s a professional conversation (even if you’re friends with your boss).

No matter how you say it, you should give your manager the news of your pregnancy either in person if you work on-location or virtually if you’re remote. Telling them via text, Slack or other messenger service isn’t very professional, though it’s a good idea to send a follow-up email after your face-to-face meeting so you have your pregnancy announcement in writing.

If you have regular one-on-one meetings, you might consider scheduling a separate meeting dedicated to your pregnancy announcement if your calendars allow for that. That way your regular meeting stays focused on your current work projects, and the dedicated meeting maximizes your time to talk through family leave options if necessary.

What is your company’s family leave policy?

Every company will have a different family leave policy, and you should have information about your company’s benefit offerings in your employee handbook. Your HR team can also provide a breakdown of your benefits.

Keep in mind that, in the US, companies aren’t legally obligated to provide paid family leave. However, many US companies do have to provide unpaid leave under the nation-wide Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA). You’ll have guaranteed 12 weeks of unpaid time off to care for your new child (it covers birth, surrogacy and adoption, including partners) if:

  • Your company has more than 50 employees within 75 miles;
  • You’ve been at the company for at least 12 months;
  • And you’ve worked at least 1,250 hours in the past 12 months (that’s about 24 hours per week)

On top of FMLA, some companies offer additional unpaid time off and/or paid time off at a percentage of your wages. There may also be additional time off available if you have a C-section due to longer recovery times. Either way, be sure to find out as soon as possible so you can start budgeting to make up for reduced income.

What are your city and state family leave policies?

In addition to federal requirements, 16 US states and the District of Columbia have their own policies for family leave, including:

  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachussettes
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • Nevada
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Washington, D.C.

Some states offer up to 12 weeks paid time off to care for a new baby, while other states offer paid leave only to state employees or have family leave policies available for purchase. The National Conference of State Legislatures has a handy chart of each state’s additional family leave details.

Some US cities (San Francisco, for example) offer even more benefits on top of state and federal family leave policies. Check with your local city government to see if there are additional benefits you can claim for the arrival of your baby.

What are your needs for returning to work after baby?

Your return to work may seem a long way off, especially if you’re telling work in your first trimester. But even if your return from family leave is a full year away, it’s a good idea to start thinking about your postpartum employment needs now.

If this is your first baby, you may not know what you’ll need from work. You’ll probably get a more solid idea once you’ve had a few weeks with your new baby, so keep the conversation with your HR team open, and tell them about any accommodations as soon as you think of them (it’s totally okay to contact them while you’re on leave to talk about this stuff).

Your employer may not be able to accommodate all requests, but having the conversation early will give you more time to discuss all options and find something that works for you. Here are a few ideas for postpartum return-to-work accommodations that you might request:

  • A part-time transition period
  • Modified daily working schedule, including split shifts to accommodate naps and feedings
  • Transfer away from a physically stressful position, especially if you’re still recovering from a C-section
  • Transfer to remote work

And if you’re worried about how taking family leave or asking for accommodations might affect your job standing, remember that FMLA includes job protection. You can’t be removed from your position just for having a baby.

This information is provided for educational and entertainment purposes only. We do not accept any responsibility for any liability, loss or risk, personal or otherwise, incurred as a consequence, directly or indirectly, from any information or advice contained here. Babylist may earn compensation from affiliate links in this content. Learn more about how we write Babylist content and review products, as well as the Babylist Health Advisory Board.