Being pregnant in the workplace – Getting Privacy

Being pregnant in the workplace – Getting Privacy

Getting some privacy in the first 3 months of pregnancy can be difficult in work. If you work in an open plan office some colleagues can take notice when other women put on weight or are off sick for long periods of time. Unfortunately some of you reading this may agree that this sounds all too familiar.

I know a woman who put some weight on around her middle and a colleague boldly asked her in the bathroom if she was pregnant when she wasn’t.

The important thing to remember is ignore what you presume people are thinking. It does not help. If they stare at your tummy, they probably always did in a strangely competitive way and you are only noticing this now.

The key to maintaining your privacy in work is to be prepared

  1. Have snacks in your drawer.
  2. Have a big water filter bottle on your desk.
  3. Make sure you take your lunch and go for a walk to get some fresh air.
  4. Talk to your manager – If your morning sickness is very bad and you feel you need to discuss your news with your manager before the 12 weeks, then do. They cannot tell others officially until you are ready or say they can. You may feel less pressure and more comfort knowing that your manager will understand why you are late or need to go home early.

What to wear to keep your privacy for those 3 months !!

Hello Pregnancy Black Jeans

Respect your body and little bump by not wearing your normal clothes that constrict when you sit down. Especially if you sit at a desk!

Until you give your news and wish to keep it your own business for now, pregnancy jeans are a godsend!

Where:  Pennys and Topshop were my favourite for the small bump jeans – the “Under Bump” version. Black in colour, as they look like work trousers. This paired with a loose blouse left out over your tummy is smart casual.

If you can get your hands on Pennys maternity under bump jeans a size or 2 up from your usual size, get 2 or 3 pairs, as you will wear them so much in work and they are cheap enough to have a few pairs. Topshop is dearer but you can feel the difference in softness of the denim and elasticity. So it is up to your budget really.

“Under Bump” Pregnancy Jeans


Think viscose or silk blouses that will sit just below your fly.

Where: H&M really shine through here for work smart loose blouses. Topshop are very handy as you can buy online and try on in store.

Pennys maternity section is tiny in their stores, and size availability is very limited. Their website does not even feature their maternity clothes, maybe this is something they will re-evaluate!

Topshop Maternity Blouse

A-line Dresses

Go for dresses that are cut from just under the bust and fall down without clinging to your tummy. Go up a size to give you space to grow that little bump in private and comfort.

Where: NewLook were fantastic here for cheaper style dresses but they could be a little less formal work style and more Casual Friday style. Most dresses were 10-20 Euro, so a real bargain too.

If work is more formal and you want to maintain that professional level of dress code, then H&M are fantastic.

Both H&M and Newlook do great online maternity clothes, but they do not always carry the maternity section in all stores. In Dublin, Liffey Valley Shopping Centre carries brilliant maternity ranges in Topshop, Penny’s, New Look and H&M.

Note: Marks and Spencers do not carry their maternity section in store at all in Ireland, so online is your only option with them.

Getting asked very personal questions on your pregnancy

I was so surprised how strangers or colleagues would ask questions like “will you take an epidural”, “will you have a C section or go natural”, Will your baby have your surname or your husband’s” … I could go on! They would ask out of nosiness, but not realise how inappropriate and unprofessional their questions were in the workplace.

I learned that the best way to deal with this, was to not give them a straight answer. Be vague “we will see”, “see how it goes”, “Not sure”.

A friend advised me before when someone rudely asks a very personal question, reply with a “Sorry?” this will make the questioner rethink if the question was inappropriate in the first place. If they ask it again, then they are not aware of how personal or nosey they are being! When dealing with a colleague like that I would then be straight and say that it is a very personal / inappropriate question to ask you.

Another option is to not answer the question and move the conversation on. If they ask again then again I would tell them it is inappropriate/ private/ rude etc.

If you are in the early stages of pregnancy, enjoy your amazing private news as you like, and I wish you a wonderful, healthy pregnancy.