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Announcing Pregnancy at Work

Lil Community: Help! Newly Pregnant and Newly Employed!

Pregnancy is a journey! LilSugar reader emily60608 is looking for some help in handling her pregnancy at work and asked our readers for some advice in The Pregnancy Posse group.

I just started a great new job about six weeks ago in a field that's really hard to find jobs in right now. I just found out I'm pregnant (four weeks) and don't know how to deal with this – it was a complete surprise! I have so many questions and worries but one of the biggest is about health insurance and maternity leave.

The health insurance through my job isn't going to start until September 1 and even then I don't know if maternity benefits start automatically. My husband runs his own small business so he doesn't get employer based insurance. We looked at buying individual insurance but even if you buy a policy with maternity the benefits aren't effective for one year (um too late then!). I also don't know what the company offers in terms of maternity leave. I want to ask the HR person at work about this but I don't know if that means telling my boss about it too. I feel like I'd rather wait until I'm farther along before I tell her.


I'm also worried about how my boss will react. The job is demanding and we work a lot of hours. I didn't mean to get pregnant until after being there for at least a year or two! Is it better to tell her right away? I really only want to tell close family and friends until 12 weeks. Has anyone else had experience with any of this? I need all the advice I can get. Thanks!

Want to talk pregnancy with other expectant mamas? Get the conversation started in The Pregnancy Posse group!

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Kwick Kwick 6 years
I am in an incredibly similar situation, and I hope someone can help both of us. I have spent the past two years getting my MA in Education and substitute teaching at a great school. I was recently offered a position, and I will begin in August. Anyone in education knows that these jobs are incredibly hard to come by. My husband and I were planning on waiting to get pregnant until I'd been teaching for awhile, but sometimes things just don't go as planned. I had the job offer a month ago, and just found out that I am pregnant two weeks ago. Since I don't begin until August..when should I tell my employer? I still want to teach, but I'll obviously need time off in January. Does anyone have any advice for me? I probably need to tell him before I even BEGIN work... this is quite anxiety-provoking. Thanks for your help:)
aidensmommy aidensmommy 6 years
I'm in the same position, I been at my job only 3 months and i just found out that I was pregnant. I currently don't have insurance and I'm just became eligible for benefits but not sure how my bosses will take the news. I was offered the insurance benefit package automatically from HR so I filled out the paperwork and ask the insurance if my pregnancy would be covered and they said yes. So now I'm waiting it out , at least until my 2nd trimester to say anything. I wish you the best. My advice is talk to HR to see when your benefit start and tell your boss when you are in your 2nd trimester or when you begin to show
emily60608 emily60608 6 years
Thanks for all the responses. I ended up talking to HR about it right away. She was really supportive & able to talk to the provider "off the record" to find the best solution. I was able to enroll in the HMO but not the PPO because of the pre-existing condition (although I hear that may have recently changed - its not a battle worth fighting to me). She also recommended I tell my boss sooner rather than later so I told her the following week. She also took it well and is happy for me. I think I will get 8 weeks of unpaid leave but we'll have to see how that works out as the time gets closer.
honeyrich honeyrich 6 years
Through your husband's company you can get Group Insurance. This is for 2 or more employees. You need to be on Payroll though. Maybe he can "cut" his pay by documenting "your" pay/wages. They cannot deny pre-existing conditions on group insurance. You can apply for Federal aid like Medicare. Some doctors/prenatal offices will do Payment Plans also. Make sure you get insurance somehow. I understand what you are going through as I am in the same situation (except I am 6 months into job, not weeks like you). I was told that the woman's cost of labor alone is $25,000 about and that's not including the baby. Also, not to scare you but you really don't want to file for Medical Bankruptcy by getting a $40,000 bill. Call the State public assistance office. Ask them what other programs are out there if you don't qualify for public assistance. Check this too: SOBRA for Children SOBRA provides medical coverage to pregnant women. To qualify, your income must not exceed 150% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). There is no limit on the resources or property owned. If you wish to apply or find out more about SOBRA, you can call 1-800-352-8401. Pro-Life Movement If you are pregnant and do not have maternity coverage, you could turn for help to the pro-life movement. Simply call any of these numbers. Carenet/Heartbeat 1-800-395-HELP Crisis Pregnancy Helpline 1-888-4-OPTIONS Birthright 1-800-550-4900 National Life Center 1-800-848-LOVE Bethany Christians Services 1-800-238-4269 You can also visit for more information. Read more on Maternity Health Insurance: Do you know how you can further save on maternity expenses?Learn how to negotiate maternity costs whether you have maternity insurance or not. Those are from research I have done myself, living in Arizona. Hope this helped!
lilkimbo lilkimbo 6 years
Perhaps this is dependent on workplace culture, but I completely disagree that there's no benefit in telling people at work. I've found that, in general, workplaces are willing to work with you to offer maternity leave (even if it's unpaid). There's also a possibility that you'll be able to use your other accumulated vacation/sick leave. (I'm guessing you'll have at least some accumulated after six months, right?) I think it would reflect much better on you if you worked this out a few months prior to needing the leave rather than at the last minute. Additionally, I think it would look like you are trying to hide something if you were to be very obviously (think 8 months) pregnant and hadn't said a word to anyone at work about it. I know it's not right, but people will make assumptions and I'm guessing a lot of them would assume that you weren't planning on coming back and thus didn't bother to work out a time line regarding time off, etc. Lastly, of course you want people at work to like you. It's not that you have to be best friends, but work will obviously be more pleasant if you can develop some sort of relationship with some of your co-workers. Honestly, I would just find it odd if a woman was very obviously pregnant and not talking about it at all. Again, this may be wrong, but it's just the way a lot of people think. If you're the kind of person who wants to just go into work and keep completely to yourself, I suppose this wouldn't be a problem, but being like that would make me miserable. Of course people don't have the right to ask you about it, but they are inevitably going to wonder/talk about it. Wouldn't you rather control the situation and answer any questions they have about your future intentions than just let them wonder and talk about you behind your back?
chicagojlo chicagojlo 6 years
To be honest there isn't any benefit to telling people at work - you can't ask them to cut you any slack because you are basically saying you aren't able to do your job any more, and you're not going to be entitled to FMLA in a new job. Just keep it to yourself until you absolutely need to tell your boss, either because you need to avoid a hazardous situation, need to take extended medical leave or are in labor! Other than that, it's none of their business and they have no right to ask you about it. As for insurance - check your insurance documents and after Sep 1 call to check if maternity is covered. If it isn't then you are looking at out of pocket and it will get expensive, so get saving. You can at least set up your FSA for next year to defray some of it (and I recommend doing that anyway because even with insurance your out of pocket will be insane). Shop around for OB/GYNs if you are paying out of pocket because there is a vast array of prices out there. Maternity leave can vary greatly by state and by employer. Most employers don't offer anything more than they are required to be state and federal law so you can at least check what your state requires (you won't qualify for federal leave - FMLA). Maternity leave is also sometimes covered by short-term disability pay so check for that in your company handbook if maternity leave isn't mentioned. But some states don't require anything to be paid (IL is one of them) so you could be looking at zero income and zero protected leave. Again, you will want to be prepared.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 6 years
Sorry to write a book there; I didn't realize my comment was so long!
lilkimbo lilkimbo 6 years
As others have noted, I think the pregnancy benefits should be covered as soon as your coverage kicks in. I would probably just pay for your first couple of appointments out-of-pocket (which I know will be costly, but luckily the first few appointments aren't too high on the cost scale). Then I would just use your employer-provided health insurance when it kicks in on the first. I'm sure you've already thought of this, but I would read through your health insurance manual and your employee manual very carefully regarding maternity leave, etc. I also like the suggestion of dropping by HR and just asking a few questions casually. If you're worried that they might assume you're already pregnant, you could include some other non-pregnancy related questions to kind of throw them off. I would wait until at least after the first trimester to say anything to your boss, but probably not much longer than that. I think around 12 weeks is pretty standard timing as far as mentioning your pregnancy to anyone other than close family and friends, so I'm sure your boss wouldn't find it strange that you chose to wait until then. Also, when you mention it to your boss, I would be prepared with suggestions for how to deal with any deadlines, etc. that fall around your due date. Since you are so new there and might not necessarily know the best way to divide your work when you're gone, I would at least say that you want to brainstorm with her now for a way to handle project x that will be wrapping up a week after your due date (for example). I would also be sure to mention that you do plan on coming back after your pregnancy (if that's the case). If you plan on being a mom who works outside the home, make that clear. It sucks that you have to make it clear, but I think it's really important. You don't want any doubt in your boss' mind that you are dedicated to your job and your career. A lot of the ladies on this site are attorneys, so the advice is sometimes geared more toward those in the legal profession (not sure if that applies to you or not), but the commenters on Corporette seem to usually have good advice. Someone happened to ask about announcing pregnancy at work on there yesterday: Maybe some of the advice there can help, as well! Good luck!
sparklyspice sparklyspice 6 years
Federal law specifically prohibits insurance companies from excluding pregnancy benefits as a preexisting condition, so you don't have to worry about that part:
chloe-bella chloe-bella 6 years
Anon, thanks for clarifying! The moral of the story is to never let your health insurance lapse if there's even a minute chance you could get pregnant!
lawchick lawchick 6 years
chloe - I didn't think about that, but I know my Blue Cross policy specifically exempts pregnancy from the pre-existing conditions rules. Good advice!
chloe-bella chloe-bella 6 years
I can't believe that the other commenters aren't more freaked out about this. Chances are, your pregnancy is going to be excluded as a pre-existing condition, even when your work insurance kicks in. The new healthcare reform prohibits denying coverage to adults based on pre-existing conditions, but that doesn't go into effect until 2014. If your work uses an outside insurance carrier, you could call the carrier directly and ask whether your pregnancy would be covered. If I were you, I would be looking into government-funded healthcare ASAP. Otherwise, you and your husband should expect to pay out of pocket. Regarding when to tell your work, it's really up to you, but don't tell HR unless you want your boss to also know. If there is an employee handbook available, read through it to see if it says anything about the length of maternity leave - that way you could find out without having to ask. Here is the link to info about the government health insurace program for uninsured individuals with pre-existing conditions (note that you have to have been without insurance for the past 6 months to qualify):
grablife365 grablife365 6 years
Thanks, lawchick! Things are definitely changing (and maternity jeans are so comfy right now!) so its getting harder!
lawchick lawchick 6 years
You won't be eligible for FMLA leave because you won't have been there a year when the baby is born. Of course, FMLA leave just means 12 weeks unpaid, so your new workplace could potentially offer something better than that anyway. Surely there is an employee handbook or benefits packet that would tell you this without specifically having to ask?? I would wait a few more weeks (at least) to tell your boss, both because it will give you time to get over the shock and start planning things, and because you are still so early. grablife--- I'm impressed you'll be able to hide it til 15 weeks! everyone at my job started noticing certain things expanding on me a few weeks earlier than that :) Congrats to both of you!
bdogmama bdogmama 6 years
Wait. I was in a similar situation with my son. I actually got a promotion and interviewed for a new position while I was pregnant. I almost told them early on because I have a great boss. In the end, I decided that there was just about zero upside to telling them early, and waited as long as I could. I also decided not to tell HR before my boss (they weren't helpful or knowledgeable anyway). Not to be a downer, but there's a reason there are laws in place about pregnancy...intentional and unintentional things happen all the time, from being passed over for special projects to outright discrimination. I would also do as much research as you can about what you are entitled to as far as FMLA leave, and whether your company offers short term disability as an option if you haven't accrued enough vacation time or aren't eligible for vacation. When you are ready, tell them - armed with a "review" of your stellar performance thus far, the goals you have for the upcoming months, and a transition plan to keep things running smoothly while you are on leave. As far as insurance, the benefits should start automatically (you can call them to ask), and call your doctor and tell them the situation. Often they have a sliding scale for self payees. Good luck! And don't worry - you're doing the right thing for your family.
grablife365 grablife365 6 years
I wouldn't worry too much about it. Just ask about the start of coverage for all the benefits you're entitled to. Include maternity in there. I don't think you'll be asked if you're planning to use it anytime soon. If they do, say you like to know or plan ahead of time. Tell when you're ready. I've been at my work for nearly two years and am over ten weeks. I haven't said anything and probably wont till after 15 weeks. It's up to you. As long as you can continue to work as promised then you shouldn't worry about it too much yet. Good luck.
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