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March 28, 2023

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Should You Tell A Potential Employer That You’re Pregnant?

IMG_7579In 2012 at age 33, Talia Goldstein was a successful CEO of a matchmaking start up company. And she had a secret: she was pregnant. In an essay published this month in Fortune magazine, Goldstein shared a journal entry from April of that year. “It’s awful knowing that the second I reveal that I am pregnant, investors will suddenly second guess whether I am capable enough to run a company. So, I am going to hide my pregnancy as long as I can,” Goldstein wrote in her journal. Goldstein told ABC News Monday that she worried investors would not take a pregnant CEO seriously so she covered up. “In one meeting it was 80 degrees outside and I wore a trench coat,” she recalled. “But I thought, better off looking ridiculous than looking pregnant.” In an appearance Monday on Good Morning America, Women for Hire CEO Tory Johnson discussed the case and said it’s OK for pregnant women to conceal their pregnancy from would-be employers because mommy bias against pregnant employees is a reality.  “It is hard enough to get job and the reality is that being pregnant and showing is difficult and it’s almost permission to not choose you.” Check out what else Tory has to day in this video below.

Would you hide your pregnancy from a prospective employer while job-searching?  Why or why not?


  1. Leona

    As an employer and business owner for 30 years I feel it definitely should be disclosed.
    The company will soon find out that you are pregnant and will know you were hiding the fact and would wonder how up front you would be about anything in the future.
    A bigger issue is childcare and a company will want to know if you have assurances in place should your child become ill and a backup plan so that you will not have to miss too many days from your position. You are hired to be there.

  2. Terri

    It will be held against you.

  3. OF COURSE a woman should hide pregnancy–and parenthood–when looking for a job. I did. I also didn’t wear my wedding ring. As a matter of empirical fact it puts you at a disadvantage. And it isn’t a potential employer’s business.

    The lousy thing is that employers aren’t completely irrational. I gave a talk once about women and work and one guy commented: ‘If I hire a pregnant woman after 3 or 4 months on the job she’s going to take off for 6 months–or more, or never come back. I can’t afford that’.

    Of course a woman can SAY that she won’t behave that way. But an employer has no reason to believe her because because a number of women do behave that way. And, of course, no job applicant, male or female, would say, ‘In 3 or 4 months I intend to take at least 6 months off. Maybe more (I do hope you’ll keep my job open for me). And maybe I won’t come back at all.

  4. Karen Winslow

    I would usually be honest to a fault with an employer about anything that would affect their business, like time off for childbirth. But, years ago when I became pregnant with my second child, having had my first child while I was working at the same employer, my boss came up with a trumped up excuse to fire me and I later found out from co-workers the real reason was because I was expecting another child. When I went to a lawyer to see if there were grounds for suit, because I thought it was such an unfair and bad precedent for the other female employees at the company, I was told that because I was at the same company when I had my first child and they did nothing at that time, it would be difficult to prove that the cause of my dismissal in this case was the fact I was pregnant. I had worked at the company for 8 years and all they gave me was a month severance. When I went to discuss them possibly extending the severance to two months they refused.At the time my husband and I were financially strained and I needed to be working. I lost the baby at 7 1/2 months and have never forgotten the lack of appreciation for the work I had done while I was there and the insensitivity with which I was treated. Apparently neither did my boss. Three years later, when I had begun a successful division of at another company I received a letter apologizing for his behavior and congratulating me on my success at the new company. I did not respond.

    • Karin

      Your talents don’t disappear when you are pregnant, as you clearly proved when you experienced success at another company. Shame on your boss for treating you this way. Ultimately a company run by someone like this won’t survive, because they won’t be able to retain talented women like you.

  5. Karin

    I was approached by a company when I was 5 months pregnant. I told them the truth and they still hired me. When I was pregnant with my second child the same CEO promoted me to a VP position. I would highly recommend sharing the news of your pregnancy with an employer or investor. Not revealing the truth is the same as lying, and it lacks personal integrity. What will they think of you once the truth about a pregnancy becomes obvious ? If a company or investor is not interested in you talents because you are pregnant, then it’s good to find this out sooner than later. I recently hired someone who was pregnant, and she is an outstanding employee, who was just promoted. A company who doesn’t support a professional woman while she is pregnant, is not a company I would want to be associated with. It’s a strong sign that this company is not going to support a work/life balance once your baby is born.

  6. Mary

    If the employer stated that s/he was looking to hire some one that had to put in long hours for an extended period of time and/or not take any time off in the foreseeable future, I would disclose it along with a work-around as to how I could complete the job without being onsite. However, if the employer had flexible options for telecommuting and/or was hiring me for specialized expertise, and did not mention any “time off” restrictions, I would not bring it up. I think it is easier disclosing a pregnancy if the job cannot be done by many people or special expertise is required, but if several people are available who could easily do the job I would not give them a reason to rule me out.

  7. I did not share my pregnancy on a job interview for fear of being looked over. I even had a friend tell me what I did was wrong, but I got the job and worked hard even traveling for the company and came back after my maternity leave to a promotion.
    Now, I have my own company and would extend the same benefits and non prejudice that others don’t.

  8. Sum

    I just got a new job that I will begin after I complete my maternity leave. In my job application, I put an availability date after my maternity leave (without stating that it was due to maternity leave.) Also, I did not see it as necessary to reveal during phone interviews that I was pregnant. Only once I got the final offer did I reveal that my availability date was after maternity leave as it was necessary to negotiating a reasonable start date with the employer. The employer was ok with this and a start date close to the availability date.

    I don’t think it is necessary or prudent to reveal pregnancy during the initial stages of the job application process. A conscious or sub-conscious bias exists in most employers that might weaken your application. However, depending on your situation it might become necessary later in the process if you are selected for the position.

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