Telling your boss might be scary but letting work colleagues know you’re pregnant can be equally stressful. Here’s our guide to telling your workmates…
When should I announce my pregnancy at work?
You don't have to tell your line manager that you're pregnant until 15 weeks before your due date (Gov.uk, no date) but you might decide to do it after your first scan. There are some benefits of telling work sooner, see here for more details.
Should I tell my boss first that I'm pregnant?
Yes, it’s best to tell your manager first about your pregnancy. No matter how close you are to the workmate who shares her biscuits and love life woes, it’s the professional order to do things in.
It could also be awkward to walk into a meeting to tell your boss and find they’ve already heard on the office grapevine.
How will my workmates take the news?
Your colleagues might ask how your maternity leave will affect their work. And hopefully, having spoken to your boss first, you’ll be able to give them a slightly clearer answer to this.
It's also good to be thoughtful about others when you break your news. You may not know it but some colleagues might be struggling to conceive or may have had a recent miscarriage.
How do I tell my colleagues I'm pregnant?
Try not to stress about the big reveal. If you’re anxious, just remember that this is good news and your colleagues are likely to be happy for you.
It’s fine to use email if your colleagues are far flung/home workers and you want to tell everyone all at once.
You might also want to tell the people you work with in different ways. Some might be fine to shriek at over lunch; others may need more of a professional approach.
And if you’re not sure how to do it at all, perhaps let your boss handle it. A team-wide email or quick mention in your weekly catch-up can make it more formal.
How do I deal with negative reactions?
Having a baby does not make you worse at your job or less committed. You shouldn’t feel like you have to constantly reassure your colleagues of your commitment to the organisation and your role. Babies and work aren’t mutually exclusive and you’re not the first person to juggle the two.
What if I think I'm being discriminated against?
Do keep a note if you think you’re being left out of things because you’re pregnant. This could be unlawful pregnancy discrimination. If you suspect that this is happening, speak to HR (Maternity Action, no date).
Also, it’s absolutely fine to be clear about unwanted bump patting. If colleagues are doing it and it’s making you feel uncomfortable, it can be considered harassment or discrimination (Acas, 2021). Talking to them about how you feel about this can help.
Do I need to have handover plans?
It can really help you and your workmates to leave plenty of time for handover plans for when you're on maternity leave. Your colleagues will appreciate you making the transition more seamless for them.
Enjoy the celebrations
Unlike your boss, you won’t have to talk in quite so much detail about official stuff with your colleagues. So have a celebratory lunch or slice of cake with them…and enjoy your great news.
This page was last reviewed in March 2022.
Our support line offers practical and emotional support with feeding your baby and general enquiries for parents, members and volunteers: 0300 330 0700.
We also offer antenatal courses which are a great way to find out more about birth, labour and life with a new baby.
Make friends with other parents-to-be and new parents in your local area for support and friendship by seeing what NCT activities are happening nearby.
The Equality Advisory Support Service on 0808 800 0082 (freephone).
The Equality and Human Rights Commission has research and advice on tackling pregnancy discrimination.
Gov.uk for information on pregnancy and maternity rights and flexible working in the workplace
Health and Safety Executive for information for new and expectant mothers
Maternity Action for online information and advice on maternity and parental rights at work on 0808 802 0029.
Yesslaw for advice and help with resolving disputes at work.
Acas. (2021) Sexual harassment. Available at: https://www.acas.org.uk/sexual-harassment [Accessed 24th March 2022]
Gov.uk. (no date) Pregnant employees’ rights. Available at: https://www.gov.uk/working-when-pregnant-your-rights [Accessed 24th March 2022]
Maternity Action. (no date) Pregnancy discrimination. Available at: https://maternityaction.org.uk/advice/pregnancy-discrimination/ [Accessed 24th March 2022]