4 Things You Need to Know Before Making a Career Change While Pregnant

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Laura Berlinsky-Schine2.3k

Making a career change is difficult enough — but what if you’re coping with these challenges while you’re pregnant?

That was what was on one Fairygodboss community member’s mind recently. “I have been wanting to change jobs for a couple of months, and a recent change in leadership is making me want to start looking even more,” she explained. “However, being pregnant concerns me in moving forward with the job search — concerns about changing a job in this new phase of life, concerns about how pregnancy will affect the whole job search process, concerns about losing insurance transitioning from one job to another, etc.

“If I get interviews, should I just start out by being transparent with the pregnancy?” she asked. “But will being pregnant impact the chances of moving forward in the interview process or even impact an offer (if given)?”

We’re sure this problem is what a lot of other pregnant job seekers are grappling with, so we’ve rounded up the top four things you should know on the subject.

1. Bias does exist — but it shouldn’t come between you and your job.

There’s no doubt that both conscious and unconscious bias exists. And, unfortunately, it could impact the hiring process when you’re pregnant.

But it’s also illegal to discriminate against pregnant candidates, as per the Pregnancy Discrimination Act (PDA). This is true for all employment decisions. Does it still happen? Sadly, yes. But it can be very difficult to prove if it does occur. Of course, there are plenty of employers who will welcome pregnant candidates — it’s just important to have this on your radar.

2. Hiring managers will usually need to change their training strategies.

“Being pregnant doesn’t make someone less qualified or less capable of performing a job,” Fairygodboss Contributor Cassandra Pratt writes. “It does mean that a manager will need to adjust training or set up a contingency plan for when the new hire is on maternity leave, but that would need to be done for a long-time employee as well.”

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be seeking a job right now, but you should understand that a hiring manager could be presented with some difficulties, so as much as possible — and as much as you’re comfortable with — trying to be forthcoming, so they can make proper arrangements. (Of course, this isn’t always feasible.)

3. Benefits aren’t always immediately available at new employers.

One potential hiccup for pregnant employees who do land new roles is that some benefits, including maternity leave and healthcare benefits, may not be immediately available to new hires. In many cases, it takes months or longer for them to kick in. That will likely be problematic for you and your family.

So, if you are interviewing for a new role while pregnancy, you may want to ask prospective employers about their policies regarding the benefits they offer.

4. It doesn’t have to be an either-or decision.

“Too many women take themselves out of the running for being pregnant,” Kris wrote in response to the original poster’s query. “Why? Good companies don't care if their top candidates will be out a period of time for FMLA any more than would for someone who needs a knee replacement.

“If you…are confident you have the skills and desire, go for it. Having a family and having a rewarding career is not an either-or decision for a man. Glass ceiling and gender stereotypes won't break unless people rethink their self-limiting attitudes. Worst-case scenario is you don't get the job but you will have signaled loud and clear you think you have the right to have both a family and a career.” 

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!

What's your no. 1 piece of advice for job searching while pregnant? Share your answer in the comments to help other Fairygodboss'ers!

About the Career Expert:

 Laura Berlinsky-Schine is a freelance writer and editor based in Brooklyn with her demigod/lab mix Hercules. She specializes in education, technology and career development. She also writes satire and humor, which has appeared in Slackjaw, Points in Case, Little Old Lady Comedy, Jane Austen’s Wastebasket and The Haven.