For some women, announcing their pregnancy at work can be difficult or uncomfortable. There is no correct way to do it, but here are some ideas on how to increase your chances of getting a positive response (and ensuring a good return from your maternity leave).
Tell your employer that you’re pregnant sooner rather than later.
When should I tell them?
Remember that no law regulates when you must tell your employer that you are pregnant – it’s up to you and when you feel comfortable telling them. It depends on your relationship with your employer, how you feel at your job and how your pregnancy is going. Generally, it’s a good idea to tell your employer that you’re pregnant once you’re sure and the first few weeks have passed – the end of the first trimester or around week 12 is a time many women choose.
Sooner rather than later?
There are some reasons on the side of telling your employer that you’re pregnant sooner rather than later, such as:
- depending on where you work and what you do, you may need to use workplace protections for pregnancy in the early weeks,
- legal protections for pregnant women usually begin after you tell your employer you are pregnant (depending on where you live this can include restrictions on working overtime or the possibility of working shorter hours),
- if you are entitled to paid time off for your antenatal care, you can use it only if you tell your employer that you are pregnant,
- an early announcement may mean that you will have more support from your colleagues during the first weeks when you may be feeling nauseous, tired or need some job adjustments.
How should I break the news?
Try scheduling a meeting with your immediate manager first, around your 12th week, and in discussion with her/him see how you should tell any other people in management. Telling them early on gives them lots of time to handle any organisational changes and issues. You don’t have to plan out your entire pregnancy and leave at the first meeting, this is just the first opportunity to discuss possibilities.
If you think you may get a negative reaction, get to know your legal rights before you speak to your manager, that way you’re ready for any issues. Also be ready to tell your manager about any work-related risks that could endanger your pregnancy.
After your first meeting, think about:
- the preliminary date for your maternity leave to begin
- how long you plan on being on maternity leave
When you meet with your manager again, you should come up with a proposal that can help her/him plan for work during your absence, to redistribute the team or hire new staff.
You can talk about how to prepare to transfer your work to colleagues or train a new employee at this meeting, too. Also be ready to discuss options about flexible working hours after your maternity leave, if this is an option for you.
Make sure to talk to your manager before sharing news about your pregnancy on social media or telling your colleagues. Even a close friend or colleague can unintentionally reveal that you are pregnant and that might make discussions with your boss more difficult.
In the end – all of us were someone’s children once, and your employer has had employees use maternity leave. Don’t be nervous, being a parent will make you a better employee and enrich your workplace in the long run.
Talk to your manager before sharing news about your pregnancy on social media.
Working during pregnancy
Being pregnant is a full-time job and your daily routine has to adapt. This includes your work time. Depending on your line of work, you may need a total shift in your duties, or just slight modifications. Even if your job doesn’t pose an obvious threat to your health, there are some important but simple things you can do to take care of yourself and your baby.
1. Get up and move around at least once every two hours
Sitting down for more than three hours at a time can reduce blood flow to your baby, cause fluid retention (swelling) in your legs and feet, tension in your back and shoulders, and muscle strain in your lower back.
2. Try a few positions at your desk until you find one that works
Simple things like using a footstool, taking regular breaks to walk and stretch, putting a small pillow behind your back, can help alleviate problems. Pregnant women are at increased risk for developing repetitive stress injuries such as carpal-tunnel syndrome, and it’s important to work to avoid these. If your job is one where you sit a lot, change around between a regular chair, pilates ball or even a standing desk.
3. Dress for comfort
Comfortable and loose clothing made of breathable fibres and flat (or almost flat) shoes will make it easier for you to keep comfortable. Since pregnancy makes your body temperature fluctuate, it’s a good idea to dress in layers that you can add or take off depending on how you feel.
4. Avoid high temperatures or high humidity
Extremes of any kind are generally best to avoid in pregnancy. If your job requires these, see how you can modify or remove them from your duties.
5. Go to bed early
Pregnancy, especially early pregnancy, is a time when your body needs a lot of rest. If you have to be at work in the morning, get to bed early and get as many hours of sleep as you need to feel good in the morning. That can be up to nine or ten hours per night.
6. Traveling for work?
Wherever you travel, make sure to pack a copy of your prenatal records and if you’re traveling to another county, have insurance that covers pregnancy (that may mean reading the fine print of your insurance policy). Take frequent stops on longer trips to walk around, stretch and use the bathroom; look up exercises that you can do on buses, trains and planes.
Even though jobs that are physically demanding, expose you to harmful substances or involve shift work (especially working nights) don’t always pose a danger to your pregnancy, it pays off to be cautious and talk to your employer about how you can modify your work duties. Remember that you also have special worker’s rights during pregnancy, and you should look into these with the help of a union or legal clinic in your community.
APERIO – Healthy Parenting Association is a non-governmental, non-profit organisation focused on the position and needs of parents in the society. Our work is guided by the principle: Children are supported by parents, parents are supported by Aperio.
In English we offer Weekend Group Course – Childbirth Education and Individual Prenatal Course. All our courses for expectant parents are therefore a rich source of dependable information on having a baby in the Czech Republic.
The mission of APERIO is to support informed choice, personal responsibility and active approach to parenting. Our main goal is to improve maternity and parenting services and to support equal treatment of men and women both in family and in labour market. See more.
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