Many pregnant women work through pregnancy and even up to their due date. These are some tips to make sure your pregnancy is a success at work.
When is the best time for you to inform your boss and coworkers that you are pregnant?
It is up to you to decide when you tell others at work that your baby is due. Women who are at lower risk of miscarriage wait until the end of their first trimester. Some people can’t wait for the moment to tell everyone and share the news.
No matter what your choice, here are some things you should think about when discussing your pregnancy with your boss:
- You should inform your boss about your pregnancy. Your boss won’t hear about it from any of your coworkers. Your boss should be the first to learn that you are pregnant.
- Discuss with her the time you might need to be away from work in order to receive prenatal care. This refers to the medical care you receive during pregnancy. To ensure your baby’s health, it is important that you attend all prenatal care checks. You will initially have your checkups once per month. As you get closer to your due dates, you will need to go more frequently. Talk to your boss to discuss making up any time you might have to miss work.
- Ask about changing your job responsibilities if you are exposed to strong chemicals or have to lift heavy objects. It is important to be safe and healthy at work, especially during pregnancy. Your baby and you may be harmed if you stand all day, or work with radiation or pesticides. To keep your baby and yourself safe, talk to your boss about changing your work hours while you are pregnant.
How can you plan your maternity time?
Maternity leave refers to when you are unable to work after having a baby. These are some questions to ask when you think about maternity leave:
- What time do you intend to begin your leave? Will you work up to your due date? Will you quit working just a few weeks or days before the birth of your baby?
- What length of time do you intend to be at home with your baby once you have given birth? Or will you need to return to work immediately? What are your financial limits for staying home with your baby?
While you may have some ideas about what your maternity leave should look like, your needs might change as you get pregnant. Most women have a smooth pregnancy, labor, and birth. If you have complications during pregnancy or things don’t go according to plan, you might need to adjust the time of your leave.
Employees can use time off without pay under the Family and Medical Leave Act (also known as FMLA) to address family-related and pregnancy-related health concerns. Unpaid leave can be taken up to 12 weeks per year. If you are eligible, you can continue to have your health insurance while on leave.
- Work in a place where there are 50 or more employees.
- You have worked for your employer for at most 12 months
- Worked at least 1,250 hours in the last 12 months
Your employer may also have maternity leave policies. Talk to your boss, or someone in human resources (also known as HR). If you are able, it’s a good idea to do this before getting pregnant. These are the questions you should ask:
- Is your employer willing to pay for maternity leave? Many employers offer paid time-off for the birth. Discuss with HR if you are eligible for paid maternity leave.
- Is your health insurance valid while you are on maternity leave? Your health insurance can help you pay for your medical care. Your HR representative can inform you about the coverage of your insurance plan if you have health insurance through your employer. To ensure your baby is covered, you may have to modify your health plan.
- Is your employer offering telecommuting or flexible time when you are ready to return to work? Can you work less or from home? Then, gradually increase your hours and your time at the office over several weeks.
- Is there any other program or service that your employer offers new mothers? Find out if your employer offers a lactation area if you are breastfeeding. This is a place where you can breastfeed in privacy. Employers that have more than 50 employees are required to provide this space for moms who are breastfeeding. Find out if your employer offers an employee assistance program, also known as EAP. An EAP will help you connect with professionals such as counselors, child-care providers, and lactation consultants. Lactation consultants have the special training and experience to help breastfeed women, even those with special breastfeeding needs.
Discuss maternity leave with your boss well in advance of your due date. Discuss ways you can manage your work while on maternity leave. Think about what you can accomplish before your baby is born if you have projects. To ensure that your job tasks are completed correctly, you might want to make a list of things to do or create instructions.
Employers can’t discriminate on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth, or any other health condition. Your employer must treat you the same as any other employee who is pregnant or has been affected by pregnancy-related issues.