Should You Disclose Your Pregnancy in a Job Interview?

Marisa Torrieri

pregnancy interviewIf being laid off and scrambling to find a new job isn’t stressful enough, imagine having to do it when you’re expecting a baby.

That’s the predicament Karin Zannella, 35, of Fairfield, Conn., found herself in while pregnant with her first child in 2011. Though she was just eight weeks along (and wasn’t showing yet), Zannella decided to inform both companies she interviewed with for a new job.

“I was very nervous, as I knew I could be risking my shot at either job, but I knew that it was the right thing to do to ensure it was the right fit—both short term and long term,” says Zannella, who is now a senior manager of customer marketing and sales planning for a major food brand.

She wanted to use her pregnancy news as an opportunity to ask each employer about their willingness to let her work from home two days after her baby arrived, so she told them over the phone before her third round of interviews.

“I could have kept it quiet until I was hired and well into my second trimester. But I felt that it was important to be upfront and honest from the start in order to gauge how each would respond to my situation,” says Zannella.

In the end, her honesty paid off. Both companies responded that her pregnancy news didn’t affect her candidacy—and she ultimately received two offers. She accepted the one that gave her the best flexibility.

RELATED: The Working Mom Conundrum: Work at Home or Go Part-Time?

Zannella’s story is the best-case scenario. But are other pregnant women as fortunate? While employers are legally barred from treating pregnant women differently than other candidates under the aptly named Pregnancy Discrimination Act (which was created in 1978 largely as a result of said discrimination), we talked to career and legal experts who say telling a prospective employer you’re expecting isn’t always the best move.

Of course there’s no one-size-fits-all rule when it comes to a topic as delicate as this. Here’s what you need to know when deciding if—or when—to reveal your pregnancy during a job search.

  • k_wilson

    Although that 10-25% miscarriage rate has a citation, the rates are FAR lower if pregnancy is beyond 5th week. The statistics by week are actually: “risk of miscarriage is 9.4% at 6wks; 4.2% at 7wks; 1.5% at 8wks; 0.5% at 9wks,” from this link to a medical study:

    I don’t want women who are in their 10-13th weeks of pregnancy getting alarmed that they may have a 1 in 4 chance of miscarrying. That is simply not true.

    • TB

      I and 10 other friends miscarried after 9 weeks, all in the same year as well. I think statistics are a lot higher.

  • Kelly

    You have to be employed for one year to qualify for FMLA.

    • Amanda

      FMLA is not the same kind of leave for maternity leave; maternity leave has it’s own “branch” of FMLA.

  • tiff

    I recently was hired at a new job and disclosed my pregnancy (13 weeks) on my first official day. The manager was upset and I explained why I didn’t mention it and how I didn’t want to be discriminated against, even though it’s illegal too. I had told her my plan. And assured her it wouldn’t effect my job. she said I was right that she wouldn’t of hired me but that she can fire me for my reason with in 90 days! This is at a very common franchised salon. I’m flabbergasted.

  • Corrie C.

    I found out I was pregnant after excepting a job, I told them and I was fired for bazaar reasons. I knew it was because I was pregnant, the top employers kept asking when my due date was, do I expect maternity leave, fatigue is a problem during first trimester etc….. next thing I know my boss telling me I can leave early on non busy days when done wIth all my patients. Then I was fired for leaving early on those days I was asked to leave early…..

    First pregnancy I was upfront and honest… one, because I was showing I was 4months pregnant. I’ve gotten the job, they loved me. I had to transfer to another location, where I was transferred to…. they didn’t like the fact I was pregnant and treated me so bad, later laid me off with out knowledge, they kept saying I wasn’t one their schedule for weeks at a time until i realized they just weren’t going to put me back. I was unable able to collect unemployment because they had me still as an employee, even though I haven’t been working due to them not putting me on the schedule.

    So for every pregnant person, there’s a different story, some has been blessed and some not so fortunate…. it’s never a bad thing to try anyways, better to try than not.