Breaking the News
In an ideal world, the news of your impending motherhood would be greeted with congratulations and reassurances at the office. Instead, reality may find you strategizing against a negative employer reaction and determining the right time to drop the pregnancy bombshell for minimal fallout to your career. That pregnancy should be considered a handicap to be overcome rather than the positive, life-affirming force it is remains a glaring reminder of how far women still have to go to achieve equality in the workplace.
According to the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP), the maximum safe fetal radiation dose during pregnancy is 5 rad. If you require X-rays or other radiological tests during pregnancy, the benefits of imaging need to be weighed against the potential risk to the fetus. If at all possible, tests involving radiation should be avoided during pregnancy. If the test is needed, however, radiology staff will do everything possible to minimize your exposure.
When you do inform your employer, make sure he hears it directly from you and not by way of the water cooler. Accompany the news with your tentative schedule for maternity leave so your manager can plan accordingly. Offering suggestions for a replacement in your absence or ways to temporarily reassign workload will reflect well on you and your perceived commitment to your employer. (For more on “When (and What) to Tell Your Workplace,” see Chapter 6.)