How Your Company Can Improve the Support of Pregnant Employees

Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

How Your Company Can Improve the Support of Pregnant Employees

  • 09 May 2022
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    The United States is the only wealthy country in the world that does not provide guaranteed paid parental leave when someone is expecting a child.

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  • While there are laws in place to prevent pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, it doesn’t guarantee that parents will be provided help from employers.

    As of now, only eight states provide publicly-funded maternity leave:

    • California
    • New Jersey
    • Massachusetts
    • Rhode Island
    • New York
    • Washington
    • Connecticut
    • Oregon

    This is why companies need to take these issues into their own hands. In the last 5 years, more than 15,000 pregnancy discrimination cases have been filed in the United States.

    Studies have also shown that pregnancy discrimination in the workplace has been a direct result of women suffering from post-partum depression and lower birth rates.

    To keep your company safe and your employees cared for, here are several ways you can support your pregnant employees.

    Keep An Open Dialogue About Pregnancy Benefits

    Because parental leave is not federally mandated, it’s up to the company/manager to decide what benefits are provided to the employee. This puts managers in a unique position where they can create their own set of benefits.

    To clarify, this doesn’t necessarily mean reducing a person’s workload. This could have an adverse effect by being seen as discriminatory due to lesser pay for their work.

    This is why creating an open dialogue with the employee about the benefits offered is important. Use this as an opportunity to hear directly from them about what would be most beneficial.

    Perhaps they need extra time off to work with a lactation consultant, as the benefits of breastfeeding for moms are pertinent to both the child and the mother’s overall health. Or maybe they’d like to discuss the potential for flexible work options, such as partial remote work.

    Be Accommodating With Their Work Schedule

    Throughout the pregnancy, the parent will need to attend several doctor’s appointments that could potentially interfere with work. It’s important to be accommodating of these requests as these appointments happen at least once a month.

    As the pregnancy progresses, or if they have additional health issues, they may require more frequent appointments.

    You’ll also want to be flexible in terms of needing to leave work early or arriving later during this time. As the pregnancy progresses, the mother must have a healthy balance between their stress, sleep, and nutritional needs.

    Improving Workplace Culture

    In a recent study, women who felt more supported by their supervisors and coworkers experienced significantly less prenatal stress. On the contrary, those who had less support incurred more difficulties such as postpartum depression, or had a harder time recovering from giving birth.

    As a company, it’s important to find ways to improve the overall culture. Creating a more supportive and inclusive environment starts by revisiting the conversation about open dialogue.

    Communicate with the employee who is pregnant to ask how they want to feel more included.

    For example, being added to an after-hours Zoom call or an email list might sound like they are still a part of the team, even while they’re on leave. However, for some, it might seem much more exhausting than enjoyable.

    It’s important to lean towards the preference of the individual. But it’s your job to provide those opportunities if they’re desired.


    Discrimination in the workplace is illegal, which includes pregnancy discrimination. Unfortunately, it still occurs frequently, which can have very serious implications for the pregnant woman, their child, and the company.

    The most important takeaway is to create an open line of communication between you and the employee who is pregnant. Your job as a manager is to find ways to support your employees, including during their pregnancy.