Skip to content

How Organizations Can Support Pregnant Women and Working Mothers

It’s a disconcerting trend: women are opting out of the workforce in record numbers. Nearly 2 million are still out of the labor force. 

What’s driving this exodus? Working mothers shouldered most of the responsibilities at home while child care centers closed or raised prices, and had to make difficult choices between work and their children. 

If you’re looking to make life easier for your female employees who are pregnant or are already mothers, that’s smart — retaining them means you hold onto a wealth of talent and knowledge. In fact, women’s labor is worth $7.6 trillion annually to the U.S. GDP, so you can’t afford to lose your employees who are mothers. Here are eight smart ways to retain them. 

1. Offer Work Flexibility

Flexibility in the workplace is pretty essential if you want to retain any of your employees these days, but it’s particularly critical for pregnant women and mothers. Mothers-to-be need flexibility in when and where they work because they’re dealing with frequent doctor’s appointments and potential pregnancy-related illnesses like morning sickness. 

And working mothers are often juggling childcare duties, so flexibility allows them to balance parenting demands while working, and makes them less of a retention risk. In fact, women with childcare responsibilities who can access remote work options are 32% less likely to leave their jobs. 

2. Provide Parental Leave

The U.S. is one of only seven countries in the world that does not offer any form of national paid maternity leave. That means providing time off to recover from giving birth is up to individual employers. The sleep deprivation of early parenting is difficult to work through as well. 

And parental leave doesn’t need to be limited to new moms, either — providing it to new fathers gives them time to bond with their new babies as well and support their mothers when they need it most. 

3. Make the Parental Benefits Process Simple

Pregnant women may (and should!) have plenty of benefits available to them at work, from paid leave to benefits for their new arrival. But gathering information on them all individually, while working hard and also preparing their personal life for a new baby, can be overwhelming. 

Proactively providing support so mothers-to-be know exactly what benefits they can access, how to use them, and anything they need offers them support and help when they deeply appreciate it. That’s both a kind thing to do and a great way to retain a valued employee in the future. 

4. Ask Questions, Don’t Assume 

Sure, some pregnant women and new moms will want to step back a little from their work as they prepare for a big life shift. But many want to stay as ambitious and focused as ever and don’t want to hand any exciting projects over. 

Assuming a woman doesn’t care as much about work because she’s becoming a mother can be frustrating and even discriminatory, so avoid any unwarranted assumptions by simply asking directly what your colleague or report would prefer. 

5. Re-Onboard Returning Mothers

Most companies have solid onboarding plans for new employees, but not for working mothers who are returning to work after maternity leave or a period out of the workplace — and that’s a mistake! Getting them back up to speed and welcoming them with updates on any new developments makes the transition back to work easier for everyone. 

6. Set Up Mother’s Rooms 

Mother’s rooms offer breastfeeding new moms private space for pumping while they’re in the office. If your company has more than 50 employees, you’re legally required to provide a dedicated pumping space and time for new moms to pump. 

But even for smaller companies, providing a comfortable, private space for new moms shows them you care about their wellbeing and their child as well — and that encourages them to stick around.  

7. Provide a Parent Community 

Creating communities where working mothers (and fathers too) can talk about their experiences as parents and caregivers is becoming more popular in big companies. You don’t need a formal group if your company is small — even just a dedicated Slack channel for parents where they can chat, share tips, and commiserate about struggles can help working mothers feel cared for. 

8. Create an Inclusive Work Environment 

Building a workplace culture where everyone is included, celebrated, and treated as true equals is beneficial for all women (mothers or not). Diversity and inclusion aren’t just items on a corporate checklist, they matter for creating healthier work environments where everyone has what they need to thrive and do their best work. 

Get Started Now

If you’re looking for more ways to build a diverse and inclusive workplace, Cangrade can help.  

Schedule a call now to learn more about our diversity recruiting tools.