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How early is too early to tell your boss you're pregnant

16 replies

littletip · 20/07/2020 12:03

Just found out I'm pregnant, which is welcome news for both myself and DH, we feel very lucky as we decided to give it a go thinking it could take months and it's only my first missed period.

This is a completely weird time, as under non-COVID circumstances I definitely would have no problems waiting until the end of first trimester.

However BOJO has announced we're likely to return to work as normal from 1 August and restrictions on those 'sheilding (extended to pregnant women)' are lifting.

Obviously am not due until March 2021 but, with my understanding being that this is one of the most crucial times, I'd like to keep myself as safe and well as possible. I wonder if anyone has any similar experiences. At 4 weeks and looking/feeling hardly any different from normal right now, I feel like it's definitely too early, and the local midwife even said to call them back in a few weeks time but I'm aware I could have morning sickness and all sorts by then.

Any advice - work is probably the one area that I worry with. I'm one of the youngest in the company with most others having zero interest in children/families at all.

OP posts:
MaverickDanger · 20/07/2020 12:05

I’m pregnant and haven’t been shielding - I thought it was only those in the third trimester who also have other pre-existing health conditions?

I would just ask for a copy of the risk assessment and then if pushed why, let your boss know but that it is still early days. Are you easily able to do your job at home?


Jojo19834 · 20/07/2020 12:06

What has your employer said about returning? That’s less than a fortnight so have they said anything? I know ours haven’t changed their advice just because Boris has made the announcement. This may buy you time anyway

Jojo19834 · 20/07/2020 12:08

Like Maverick above, I’m 38 weeks pregnant and not been shielding. It’s those in third trimester predominantly they ask to be extra cautious but luckily for me, I have been WFH anyway and the risk around here is fairly low so being sensible is all. Appreciate your circumstances may be different

SqidgeBum · 20/07/2020 12:09

At the minute, as far as I know, pregnant women dont come under the shielding group unless they have a heart condition. They just recommend social distancing I think.

I am pregnant, 25 weeks, and I told my employer at 6 weeks because it was when things were starting to lock down and I am a teacher. I personally would tell them and ask for a risk assessment before you return to work to see if anything can be done to reduce risk to you. It may just be something as simple as moving you to a less busy part of an office or getting you to do more over the phone rather than face to face. It all depends of course on how much your job is public facing. If you come in contact with lots of people, I would tell them.

FlashesOfRage · 20/07/2020 12:10

I’d just tell them personally.

I told mine at 6wks because I’m a teacher and it was early March and everything was kicking off.

The only thing it can do is give you more protections. Once they know they must take it into account and prove that they have risk assessed etc. If they don’t know then they can’t do anything for you x

Congratulations on your pregnancy! Xx

littletip · 20/07/2020 12:11

Honestly, having just found out on Friday, I hadn't looked much into 'how pregnant' you need to be to start shielding.

I have been working from home since middle of March - so common sense would dictate that I would be able to continue to do. Unfortunately 'being seen to be seen' is another thing, but hopefully, as chief medical officers advice hasn't changed I might get lucky. Still given the current circumstances, I don't want my apprehension to be seen as 'being difficult'.

OP posts:
Metallicalover · 20/07/2020 12:12

Pregnant women with no underlying health conditions weren't advised to shield, when your in your third trimester your meant to be extra cautious and work from home. Mainly due to reduced lung capacity if you get covid it will be harder to breathe.
You can tell your manager whenever you want. They aren't allowed to tell anyone. See if you can have a look at the covid risk assessment and the pregnancy risk assessment.
Congratulations 😊

Lockdownseperation · 20/07/2020 12:12

Before conception.

Shielding only applies in the last trimester or If you are pregnant with some other health conditions. Shielding is not ending but it’s paused with enhanced social restrictions on those shielding.

Having said that it’s the first and third trimester which are the most tricky for pregnant women in terms of managing symptoms. When you tell them you are pregnant they will complete a risk assessment.

Many businesses are continuing to allow people to work from home because it’s easier than making a business covid safe and there is less risk of their staff become ill and therefore needing time off.

Racoonworld · 20/07/2020 12:21

As others have said pregnant women don’t come under shielding unless they have other specific health conditions too. Given that shielding for extremely vulnerable is pausing from August there won’t be extra protections for the general vulnerable group that pregnancy comes under, so will depend on your employer to decide.

Oatmilk1 · 20/07/2020 13:38

I would take a step back and have a think about a few things:

  • what kind of work do you do? If you have already been WFH, you can possibly continue without telling your boss. Just because Boris says we can go back to work doesnt mean social distancing drops which means offices still cant be at full capacity.
  • How do you get to work? Being in the office doesn't bother me, but my office is in another country so I will mostly WFH anyway.
  • What kind of company do you work for? What kind of boss do you have? You can't untell them and if this pregnancy doesn't go well in the early days then they will still keep expecting you to become pregnant again and this could theoretically impact your career. It's not right, but it can happen.
  • what would a risk assessment actually say? Would it be different to general covid office precautions? Ie. Social distance. If not, what is the benefit of telling them. If it would have a big difference (working in a lab etc) then that has a bigger influence.
  • how are you going with pregnancy? If you start suffering badly (HG/exhaustion etc) you may need to tell them.

It's early days, see how you go and try to hold off on decisions before they absolutely need to be made as so much can still change.

Pregnant teachers, health care workers, retail workers and many others are still going out to work on a regular basis. We don't need to shield (unless underlying heart condition in 3rd trimester), we just need to take thing sensibly and carefully.

Congratulations and best of luck!
BingerGiscuit · 20/07/2020 13:43

Congratulations on the pregnancy Smile

I told my boss at 8 weeks but only because I have been really suffering with headaches and had to keep having the odd hour and day off to recoup. I’m very lucky that I work for a very understanding boss / organisation where my boss is saying he doesn’t expect to see me until I return from maternity!! (I’m 10+4!) but, I was originally shielding due to underlying health conditions so that could be swaying it - however, none of our office is going back for a long time by the looks of things.

I know it’s not helpful but it’s so dependent on your own circumstances, how good your boss is, your company etc, if they can accommodate WFH full time etc

SoPanny · 20/07/2020 13:50

If your employer isn’t really a place where they recognise the needs of families with kids then take it from me, do not show your hand on your pregnancy too early.

Employers will often talk the talk about fairness and inclusivity but discrimination is still out there and it exists.

Factor in that fact that pregnant women don’t fall into the shielding category now and that’s lifting in a week anyway just sit tight for now. You are not duty bound to inform them of anything until 15 weeks before your expected date of delivery.

It’s the second time I’ve said this today but I could bore on forever about why women who are pregnant need to keep their powder dry for as long as possible when it comes to telling employers (if you work in an office as opposed to a manual or hazardous role).

Sorry to sound like a droopy drawer but having seen 6 of my friends lose their jobs since February, one pregnant and the others all women with small children, keep mum (yes I know that’s lame).

SoPanny · 20/07/2020 13:51

Ps: congrats by the way. I think anyone pregnant, giving birth or at home with a newborn in these mad times deserves a medal.

Carabu1 · 20/07/2020 14:02

congratulations! I agree 100% with @SoPanny. I'm 17 weeks and still haven't told my employer. I don't intend to until 20 weeks at the earliest. these are strange times, and you don't want to find yourself the one being lined up for redundancy if they are trying to cut costs. Plus, as lots say, its only 3rd trimester that is listed as more risky, unless you have a pre-existing condition, and even then its only 'attentive to distancing' not full on shielding. If you possibly can, I'd hold off.

Superscientist · 20/07/2020 15:16

It depends on your employer, job, personal risk factors and how you find pregnancy.

I work in a lab so I told my supervisor the day after I found out at about 4-5 weeks. I wasn't concerned because of how they had handled other things and pregnant staff. I was glad they knew early because I had a rough time with pregnancy sickness and because of a preexisting condition I had lots of appointments during my first trimester to assess risk and put things in place. As they knew about the pregnancy I could take these as paid leave rather than having to make up the hours or using annual leave.

In previous jobs I have experienced discrimination (for other things) in those jobs I would be cautious about saying anything before absolutely having too.

Tasje · 20/07/2020 21:09

Congratulations! I'm 13 weeks and feel like WFH has made my first trimester so much easier - I would definitely recommend it if you can. Luckily I haven't had morning sickness, but on days when I'm feeling nauseous or fatigued it is so nice to be in the comfort of my own home rather than in the office or crammed in the Tube.

I haven't told my employer yet but it sounds like they might let people choose between the office or WFH for the foreseeable future. My midwife said pregnant women are considered vulnerable and the RCOG website seems to confirm that. She also said my employer has to do a workplace assessment once I've told them even if I'm working from home.

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