Work and Pregnancy

Archived Q&A and Reviews

When did you tell your boss & co-workers about your pregnancy?

Feb 2005

I'm 8 weeks pregnant and haven't yet told my boss or co-workers. I was wondering at what point other women revealed their news at work, and what their reasons were for choosing that point. I guess the only reason I'm waiting is that I would want to keep an early miscarriage a secret, although my chances of that are slim as I've already had an ultrasound and seen the heartbeat! Working Mama-to-Be

You never know what's going to happen, so I would say at least wait until the whole first tri is over. You also don't know (or at least didn't mention) how you think the news might be perceived by your boss. I would say get some background information first, because if your boss it the type who would get cranky at the prospect of maternity leave, you might want to wait until you really start showing to minimize negative interaction. Jen
I have waited until I was 14-15 weeks before saying anything to my employer & the general population at my work place (I did tell a few co-workers w/ whom I am very close friends prior to that). I did not feel that my employer was upset that I waited to say anything. I think it is pretty common, in fact that's how most of my co-workers have handled it also. I can also say that I was glad that I waited in the case of my second pregnancy, since I experienced complications & ultimately lost the pregnancy just before the end of the first trimenster. I did tell my employer what had happened (since I had to miss a bit of work) & she was very kind & kept the matter to herself, saying, ''you should tell only the people that you feel can support you right now''. She was right. I did tell a few co- workers, but I didn't have to deal w/ everyone asking me questions. Do what you feel is right for you. Gook luck w/ your pregnany & congratulations.
Another Berkeley Mom
I wasn't sure if I was going back to work after the baby was born and needed time to decide before I talked to my boss, and I knew as soon as I told people I'd get a ton of unwanted advice... so I waited until I was 4 months along and couldn't hide the belly any more. Suggest waiting as long as you can
To make sure I passed my 1st trimester, I waited until then. I had so many weeks to tell my job, but because of a miscarriage the first time, I hid it until the last week that I had to tell them which was right before my 1st trimester was over. Shelly
If your worry is about keeping a miscarriage secret, then you should at least wait until the second trimester (after about 12- 13 weeks). Sorry to tell you this, but just because the heart beat is seen doesn't mean you can't miscarry. You are in the middle of the prime time to miscarry. About 25% of all pregnancies miscarry anyway. So I would wait about a month more. Dr. M
I told my work as well as all my friends at 13 weeks - after the transnuchal ultrasound. I wanted to make sure everything was ok and we were out of the danger zone. My whole department was so excited for me and adore our daughter. I also took 3 1/2 months off which was probably not enough in hindsight. Next time around I am taking more! Enjoy and good luck FT working mommy
I waited until I was 14 weeks to break the news to my bosses. I figured if something were to go wrong after that, I'd probably need to take some time off, anyway, and it was better that they knew. Jill
I told my boss when I was 7 weeks pregnant. My reasons for telling her then were:
1. I had seen a heartbeat on an ultrasound at that point so felt fairly comfortable that my pregnancy was viable.
2. One of the other people in my department was expecting his first child 2 months before my due date and I wanted her to have plenty of time for her to prepare for us both being out in close succession.
3. I knew that if I had had a miscarriage, I probably would have ended up telling her anyway.
I told the rest of my co-workers at 4 months. Wendy
Depending on how good your relationships are, I would probably wait till after the ultrasound (and amnio if you are having one). For one thing, at 8 weeks you are definitely not out of the range of having a miscarriage (many happen up to about 13 weeks). It's awful to have to explain to people you don't really know or care about that you're no longer pregnant. For another, some people may judge you differently if you are pregnant, even though they're not supposed to. In my case, I was already having difficulty with one individual who seemed to be blocking my promotion, and I thought it was best to simply proceed with my performance and hopefully get good projects to work on. Finally, if you are carrying a problem pregnancy or if you think you would consider terminating with an abnormal amnio, you really don't want people to know that and subject yourself to others' judgements. And again, it's awful to have to explain that you're no longer pregnant. On the other hand, if you work with a group of really supportive people, then tell them as soon as possible so you can all plan together and you know your work will be covered when you're gone. (and if you're exhausted in that first trimester, you don't have to come up with alternative explanations or pretend that you're not exhausted). anon
I suggest that you do a few things before you tell your work:
1. Research your work's maternity leave policy.
2. Determine for yourself how much time you'd like to take off - you have the legal right to 4 weeks before the birth date, 6 weeks after (all ''disability'') and then 12 weeks of unpaid family leave(FMLA) for a total minimum of 22 weeks.
3. Evaluate your work load and responsibilities. Develop a suggested plan for the delegation of your work while you're gone. Be sure and include the part where you return to work and take up where you left off! You want to send the message that you fully intend to return to work (even if you're secretly not sure) and won't tolerate becoming obsolete.
4. Talk to your boss about it before any coworkers. This is a courtesy and a sign of respect that she/he will appreciate. They often enjoy being the ones who announce your pregnancy to the rest of the team.
5. Remember that your boss is only human. He/she might have some anxiety about how to fill your roll while you're gone without actually replacing you. You can alleviate some of those concerns by having a well-thought out plan in advance. You want your boss on your side.
6. Don't cave to any subtle pressure to return to work before you have to. Women who do that always regret it. (''you have the right to take this leave but gosh, what are we going to do without you?'' ''this is going to be a real problem for us!'' ''can you really afford to take 12 weeks of unpaid leave?''.
Good luck! orin