Thursday, May 14, 2009

How to Tell the Boss You're Pregnant (Part 1)

When should I break the news?
Many women wait until they're through the first trimester, when the risk of miscarriage goes down significantly and they're confident of keeping the pregnancy. But you probably don't want to wait until you're obviously showing. Here are some factors to consider as you decide when to make your announcement:
  • Whether you're having any complications due to your pregnancy. In this case you might be relieved to tell your colleagues early in your pregnancy. If you're suffering from morning sickness or just generally fatigued, the knowledge of your pregnancy will help others make sense of your situation.

  • If you have a very strenuous or stressful job. For your baby's sake and your own, you'll probably want to come clean early on. Making your announcement right away will allow you to talk about changing your job responsibilities in a timely manner.

  • Whether you think the news will be well received. This will depend on such factors as the culture of your workplace, the extent to which it has been affected by other women's pregnancies, and your relationship with your supervisors.

As long as you're confident that your employer will handle the news in a professional manner, it makes sense to announce the pregnancy as early as possible. This will enable you to take advantage of any employer-provided services that can help make your pregnancy healthier and less stressful. Some health services offered by employers (such as prenatal genetic counseling) are most valuable in the early stages of pregnancy.

Unfortunately, though, some employers may be less than enlightened about pregnant employees. If you're concerned about your employer's reaction, proceed cautiously. In other words, consider waiting to tell your boss until your pregnancy is 14 to 20 weeks along. At this point, you've already demonstrated that you can do your job while carrying a child.

You may also want to time your announcement to coincide with the completion of a big project. By doing so, you'll send a strong message: I'm almost half way through my pregnancy, and my productivity is unaffected. Finally, you may want to wait to tell your boss until after a salary or performance review to make sure the news doesn't influence how you're treated.



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