Can you get a new job while you’re pregnant?

Yes, you can: I did it.

I got a new job when I was six months pregnant, and didn’t tell anyone at my new company until my pregnancy was around 22 weeks. If I can do it, you can! Here’s how.

Yes, you can get a new job while you’re pregnant

Remote work played a key part in this process for me. I was able to interview (four rounds of interviews) completely on Zoom for this job. I met the recruiter, hiring manager, teammates and manager all over Zoom, and accepted the job offer on Zoom as well. No one had any idea I was pregnant.

I asked quite a few friends what I should do about accepting the job, as in, should I tell anyone I’m pregnant? Here’s what happened.

I did not disclose that I was pregnant during interviewing

I kept my pregnancy completely private during interviewing. After all, it’s only my business. And second, people have babies all the time. It’s not like I was the first person to ever be pregnant while interviewing and landing a new job. I hope you considered this, if you’re reading my thoughts here with the same concern!

(Photo above: See? No one knows you’re pregnant if only your neck and head are visible on Zoom!)

I did not disclose that I was pregnant when I accepted the offer

When I received the job offer, I acted like any other time in my life when I got a new job offer. I graciously accepted, did my negotiating and mentioned that I already had some pre-planned vacation booked for the following month (I did).

Before signing the papers, I emailed the recruiter with a list of questions, because I wanted some final clarity on the maternity leave policies.

What I did was send a list of questions, with the maternity leave policy question sandwiched in between other questions about taxes, paid time off, remote work stipends, company culture and more random topics.

I got my questions answered, thought the offer sounded great and signed the agreement.

I didn’t disclose that I was pregnant until two weeks after starting

Here’s a funny story: I went into the company’s NYC office to meet and greet some faces (just a few, as a lot of my teammates were remote or based in other parts of the US) when I was around 22 or 23 weeks pregnant. I had just started “showing,” but I wasn’t telling anyone yet that I was pregnant, nor was I being open about my news.

(Here’s me on the train platform heading into work, hiding my baby bump with a big water bottle)

Here’s the reason: my manager was on vacation the week I started my job, and their vacation was two full weeks. I couldn’t tell my manager that I was almost 7 months pregnant until more than two weeks after my start date. For that, see my advice on how to tell your manager you’re pregnant.

So on this day when I went into the office, I wore a loose blouse, and a lightweight scarf to cover my middle section, to distract from any bulging roundness in my shirt. Turns out, it was all in my head.

No one could even tell slightly that I was pregnant, and I left the office that day having convinced everyone I was just a regular non-pregnant gal.

How to interview for a job when you’re pregnant

Here are my best tips for how I slid through the interview process without anyone knowing I was pregnant.

Of course, interview remotely if possible

Nowadays, a lot of job interviews start off as phone calls with a recruiter, and then a first round interview on Zoom. This is common in my field of work at least, which at the time was tech startups.

For other professions, like law, finance, teaching and medicine, I completely understand and acknowledge that interviewing is done in person. I got lucky, essentially.

Dodge any questions that have to do with family life

Some interviewers try to create rapport or may be friendly (others, not so much). If an interviewer makes friendly chit-chat by asking if you’re married (which, by the way, is none of their business), or where you live/who you live with, or if you have a family, feel free to sideswipe these questions by changing the topic or answering vaguely.

Remember that, very sadly, any details you give about yourself during an interview process may sway the interviewer one way or another. People can be judge-y, and it’s hard to tell who those people may be.

If you have to interview in person, wear loose clothes

This is the hardest thing to do: to hide your pregnancy with clothing if you do have to go interview in person at an office or in a professional environment.

Try to dress as professionally as possible, while avoiding attention drawn to where your pregnancy may be showing. I recommend wearing a scarf, like I did when I went to my new employer’s NYC headquarters, when I was six months pregnant.

Other things that can distract from a baby bump are jewelry, or holding a hand bag or purse near your middle, or wearing layers and a blazer in cooler weather.

Should you start a new job when you’re pregnant?

This is up to you, but if you are after your dream career, why let a pregnancy stop you?

Here’s the thing: it’s hard to picture taking off 3 months or 4 months of parental leave, right after starting a new job. On the other hand, no one can stop you. That would be illegal. (But also note, every company has a different policy about “how much” paid or unpaid leave you qualify for)

That’s how I considered my pregnancy: I got hired fair and square because I was the right candidate for the position, and pregnancy is a part of creating a family. Maternity leave doesn’t last forever — that’s the point!

I accepted my job because I was going to learn how to do it, and taking time off to recover from birth and raise my child is all part of life.

If you agree with this mentality, then start that application, put your best foot forward, and don’t let being pregnant stop you from chasing your dreams.