Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Why You Shouldn't Keep Your Pregnancy Secret at Work

Research suggests that being open about pregnancy at work could be better for your career than covering it up
relates to Why You Shouldn't Keep Your Pregnancy Secret at Work
Photographer: Paul Bradbury/Getty Images

The workplace isn't always a friendly place for pregnant women. (Just ask the U.S. Supreme Court, which decided a case last month that could make it easier for some women to sue their employers for pregnancy discrimination.) Yet working women inclined to conceal a pregnancy from prying coworkers may be better off opening up and carrying on, according to a new study. 

In a paper that appeared in the spring issue of The Academy of Management Journal, researchers from the University of Georgia, the University of Houston-Clear Lake, Oklahoma State University, and the Connection, a nonprofit, looked at three studies based on surveys of hundreds of pregnant workers. They found that women usually try to keep up their professional image in one of two ways. Some hid their pregnancies as long as they could beyond the first trimester, wearing baggy clothes to hide a growing baby bump, masking morning sickness, or shrugging off questions about being pregnant. Others were open about their situation but tried hard to maintain the status quo, focusing on working the same number of hours as before.